Today I’m happy to bring you award-winning author Mohana Rajakumar and her recent novel, “An Unlikely Goddess.” Dr. Rajakumar is a writer, educator, and scholar of literature. She earned her PhD from the University of Florida with a focus on gender and postcolonial theory. She is the author of seven e-books, and believes “words can help us understand ourselves and others.”
About “An Unlikely Goddess:”
” Sita is the firstborn, but since she is a female child, her birth makes life difficult for her mother who is expected to produce a son. From the start, Sita finds herself in a culture hostile to her, but her irrepressible personality won’t be subdued. Born in India, she immigrates as a toddler to the U.S. with her parents after the birth of her much anticipated younger brother. Sita’s struggles to be American and yet herself, take us deeper into understanding the dilemmas of first generation children, and how religion and culture define women.”
Five stars. The author created a protagonist the reader cared about from the first sentence. I found myself wanting to reach into the book and hug Sita, console her, and at times, shake her. I found the author’s descriptions of the circumstances enlightening and providing a new understanding of challenges many immigrants face. Although a fiction, I could see the reality of the situations. I’d highly recommend “An Unlikely Goddess;” this well-written book truly put me in another place and made me think beyond myself.
Q: In “An Unlikely Goddess,” your main character, Sita, has many struggles as a new immigrant in the United States. Were any of her struggles based on your own experiences?
A: Sita is a composite character, based on the real life experiences of many immigrants I’ve known over the years, including my own family. What’s interesting about her is how she represents a universal type of angst, both adolescent and also as a stranger in a new land. For me this is the heart of the novel and the most interesting parts of her personality.
Q: Can you share some of your interesting experiences as a female South Asian American author currently living in Qatar?
A: I occupy a really unique space here as a Western-educated South Asian woman married to a non-Indian, man. I’m not a maid or nanny as many women from Asia are, nor am I someone who came directly from the Indian continent. In many ways my life as an expat has been a migration experience all to itself and so has its own book, my memoir From Dunes to Dior.
Q: Six words or less of advice for aspiring authors?
A: Today, sit down and write.
Q: Love it! Anything else you would like to share about your writing?
A: Writers need readers – without them we would be talking to ourselves – so this holiday season consider giving the gift of a book. They’re great for any age!
Well thank you, Mohana, for stopping by and for the great suggestion. If anyone would like to find out more about Mohana, please visit her website at www.mohanalakshmi.com or follow her on Twitter – @moha_doha. You can also ask your questions by leaving a comment here.