Thursday, March 1, 2012

From sex with a purpose to ankles swelling into cankles: "Mommy but Still Me" Author Mohana Rajakumar VBT Pit Stop Mar 2

The modern woman's guide to switching from jet setter to incubator, MOMMY BUT STILL ME retells the story of a first time mother with humor and honesty. From sex with a purpose to ankles swelling into cankles, this is a no-holds barred look at the all the changes, big and small; from knowing "hipster" as a term that describes your generation to using it to describe where you like to carry things.

Imagine a man volunteering to trade in his game nights for heart burn and back ache. Good thing there are women around to ensure the survival of the species. This hilarious look at the journey from high heels to high blood pressure, as a jet setter turns into a bed wetter, is what your doctor won't tell you and your own mother may have forgotten in the years since she was blessed by your arrival.

"At our first meeting my future father-in-law waited until we sat down in the Thai restaurant, the oblong menus placed in our hands and the waiter was a distance away, tending to other diners, before turning towards me, his eyes glowing. This was the first time we were all seeing each other after his son had proposed to me. 
"When will I get to hold my first grandchild?" He asked. For my father-in-law and everyone else, I have a question of my own: When will any of you be satisfied?"

Join me in welcoming Mohana Rajakumar to my blog on her virtual book tour for Mommy but Still Me. I can relate to the title alone having four kids of my own (all grown now). How many times have I heard: "Hi Ben's Mom." - or Austin's Mom and so on. I can't wait to read Mohana's book and LOL with her!


I'm Pregnant Not Handicapped

I used handicapped bathrooms and parking spaces (with negative consequences). It's a toss up in the Middle East; people are much more lenient with pregnant people than in western countries. I didn’t use being pregnant to get away with much at work, but in my personal life I wanted a little more leeway.
I was at the mall with a friend and thought I should have gone to the bathroom before leaving the conference we were both attending, but I didn't. We started laughing so hard I knew I had to go to the bathroom before it looked like my water had broken. I dashed to the bathroom without any of my belongings in the effort to get there faster. And before I came to the one with the stalls, I saw a female handicapped one. Without a second thought, I ducked inside. I may not have been in a wheelchair, but I was pregnant and my body in an altered state from what it normally was.
Imagine my relief turning to dismay when, after washing my hands, the lock wouldn't turn in the tumbler. I panicked because the person I was with didn't know where I was – in my rush to get to the bathroom – I didn't have my phone or my purse.
There was I was: in a foreign country, at the mall, locked in a bathroom. If I hadn't been worried I'd spend all night in there, I would have laughed. Instead I started pounding on the door, unsure how I would communicate with the passerbys that I was stuck, reviewing my Arabic, hoping someone would hear me over the noise, as twenty minutes went by and my heart beat threatened to floor me.

Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar is a South Asian American who has lived in Qatar since 2005. Moving to the Arabian Desert was good in many ways since that is where she met her husband, had a baby, and made the transition from writing as a hobby to her full time gig. She has published three e-books this year including Mommy But Still Me, So You Want to Sell a Million Copies, and Coloured and Other Stories. Since she joined the e-book revolution, she dreams in plotlines.

Her work has also been published in AudioFile Magazine, Explore Qatar, Woman Today, The Woman, Writers and Artists Yearbook, QatarClick, and Qatar Explorer. She has been a guest on Expat Radio, and was the host for two seasons of the Cover to Cover book show on Qatar Foundation Radio. She was the Associate Editor of Vox, a fashion and lifestyle magazine.

Louise: Mohana, welcome to my blog! I’m so excited you could join me for a chat. Please tell us a little about your new release Mommy But Still Me without giving too much of a spoiler away.

Mohana: This is a book made up of blog entries I kept in the process of conceiving and then having/raising our baby. I wanted to write things down so I didn’t forget as even during the intense desire to sleep during pregnancy can help erase your memory banks.

Louise: Do you plan all your characters out before you start a story or do they develop as you write?

Mohana: The great thing about memoir is that you get to go back and see what themes, people and events stand out – and then expand if needed. In this case the hilarious incidents were made even funnier as time went by and I realized how panicked new mothers can be. So I left those in and also kept writing as many books stop after the delivery and you are most at sea in the first few weeks the baby comes home.

Louise: How much research do you do for your books? Have you found any cool tidbits in your research?

Mohana: I read more than 9 other ‘momiors’ and thought – wait, I can write one of these! So this got me started on the blog.

Louise: What is your writing process? Do you outline, write by the seat of your pants (Pantser) or a combination of both?

Mohana: When I’m doing fiction or an academic work, I do tend to write with a main character and a few dramatic events in mind. This keeps me on track and also gives me a point towards which things are focused. For blogging I try to go week by week and then at the end of a period of time, say a few months or years, go back to see what I have.

Louise: Do you write full time? What did you do before you became a writer or still do?

Mohana: I teach at the university level and also write more or less full time. I’ve worked for a publishing company, served as an educational consultant, and also in academic administration but writing has always been there and is my passion.

Louise: Do you have a ritual when it comes to writing? Example….get coffee, blanket, paper, pen, laptop and a comfy place.

Mohana: I go off on Saturdays or some weeks nights, depending on deadlines, and really get on headphones (if I’m at the library) or play music, open the document, review notes, and then go for it. I generally need at least 2-3 hours to make it to a goal: whether it’s word count or manuscript editing.

Louise: Describe a typical writing day for you.

Mohana: Ideally it would be a day where I sleep in, exercise for an hour, and then spend 5-7 hours at the desk. This doesn’t happen very often! It’s more like teach a class, have lunch with a friend, attend a few meetings, teach another class, reply to fifty emails, and then squeeze in two hours of writing, hoping for 5,000 words, being happy with 2,000.

Louise: Please give us a sneak peek at your future books. What’s on the horizon?

Mohana: I’ve got four others already published, among them a short story collection, novel, and writer’s guide besides the momior. So check out my Facebook page and see which one suits you.

Louise: What is your favorite genre to read and who is your favorite author?

Mohana: I love literary fiction and Alice Munroe is my absolute favorite. But I read everything from teen paranormal to romance. I will give everything a try.

Louise: Is there anything else you would like to tell the readers we have not touched on?

Mohana: Readers don’t know how much their reviews matter: whether on Facebook,, Goodreads, if you like an author, take the time to leave a review for them. And if you hated a book, try to tread lightly, keeping in mind that someone worked really hard (even if you don’t think so). 

Louise: Where can the readers learn more about you and find your books on the web?

Mohana: @moha_doha on Twitter and my Website-

Purchase Links: 

YouTube Channel - TheMohaDoha YouTube Channel


  1. Thank you for hosting Mohana today :).

  2. YW Bk!
    Mohana, thank you for visiting with me! Mommy But Still Me is on my TBR list!