Love Comes Later
Today, we have a guest blogger, Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar, who has written a new book, Love Comes Later, which a fictional love story in which the traditions and ancient culture of the East meet up with the modern culture of the West. Love Comes Later is a tale that examines where the lines of loyalty to friends and family intersect with those of love.
Welcome to Words from the Heart, Mohana! I am so happy to have you with us, today, to talk about life and your book, Love Comes Later. Let me begin by saying how much I enjoyed the book. I recommend it highly to readers who really like a love story that spans cultures.
You’ve probably been asked this a hundred times, but I am interested in knowing how you came up with the concept for Love Comes Later. Was it something that happened in real life that triggered the story or was it purely the Muse at work?
Thanks for having me Linda. I’m excited to get this story out into the hands of readers. I worked on the manuscript for over three years. The project began with a fairly simple question (or what I thought was at the time): how will anyone in this generation in traditional societies fall in love?
I knew some really terrific young people, both men and women, who felt despair of ever finding happiness in love or marriage. I took the guys and made them in to one character and same for the girls; then the similarities between Qatari and South Indian culture had me introduce an Indian character.
In this book, the reader learns about various cultural norms and taboos. Can you tell the readers why this is an important element in what you write?
I love to show people worlds or experiences that are outside their immediate knowledge because this is what I find most interesting myself about travel and other cultures. What’s scary about the current global climate is that it’s so easy to villainize people who live far away or are in some way different, say a political party or religious affiliation. For me writing and stories are how we can bridge the gap.
I have often written about serendipitous moments that can be life changing. This book has several such moments. Have you experienced serendipitous moments that have changed your life? If so, could you share one with us?
I have had so many! I interviewed for the job that took me overseas to Qatar at a conference, thinking very little about it. Even after I moved overseas, I didn’t know I would meet my husband, have a baby, or step off the career path to pursue writing full time. Each decision is like a fork in the road that in turn opens other doors.
We all write to give our reader’s something. What do you hope this book will do for the reader?
I hope the reader will discover a private world, the world of the heart, and recognize his/her own emotions in those of the characters.
I also want to show the intersection of Qatari and South Indian culture to people who may not be familiar with either.
What advice might you share with aspiring writers?
Be honest about why you are writing. Is it for fame? Fortune? To tell your grandfather’s story so it isn’t lost forever? Honesty will then give clarity to the work you produce and also make the choices you make (commercial versus indie) clearer.
And if you aren’t prepared to give it everything: skip movies, use your savings, be bold in marketing so your friends and family are tired of hearing about it, then ask yourself if you wouldn’t rather keep a diary. It’s a lot easier, less expensive, and has none of the risk.
Are there any other words of wisdom or encouragement that you would like to share with the readers?
Writers depend absolutely on readers. Without you, we’d be talking to ourselves (which is more like a conversation made up of monologues).
Even if you don’t read my work, you’re reading someone’s and that’s a huge support to the industry overall.
About the Author: Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar is a writer who has lived in Qatar since 2005. She has a PhD from the University of Florida with a focus on gender and postcolonial theory. Her dissertation project was published as Haram in the Harem (Peter Lang, 2009) a literary analysis of the works of three Muslim women authors in India, Algeria, and Pakistan. She is the creator and co-editor of five books in the Qatar Narratives series, as well as the Qatari Voices anthology which features essays by Qataris on modern life in Doha (Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Publishing, 2010). Her research has been published in numerous journals and anthologies.
She was the Associate Editor of Vox, a fashion and lifestyle magazine based in Doha and a winner of the She Writes We Love New Novelists competition. She has been a regular contributor for Variety Arabia, AudioFile Magazine, Explore Qatar, Woman Today, The Woman, Writers and Artists Yearbook, QatarClick, Expat Arrivals, Speak Without Interruption and Qatar Explorer. She hosted two seasons of the Cover to Cover book show on Qatar Foundation Radio.
Currently Mohana is working on a collection of essays related to her experiences as a female South Asian American living in the Arabian Gulf and a novel based in Qatar. She believes words can help us understand ourselves and others. Catch up on her latest via her blog or follow her on Twitter @moha_doha.