An Unlikely Goddess – The travails and joy of a writer

A big welcome to Mohana Rajakumar who is here to share her travails and joy of being a writer.

I have known Mohana for quite some time now. We both share a passion for writing and have connected virtually online. A few months ago, Mohana was kind enough to do a video podcast on Spaghetti Minds on her writing, her books, the balancing act of writing vs. publishing and her quest to become an accomplished fiction author.

Today, Mohana is going to share her experiences and the journey that led to publishing her latest book – An Unlikely Goddess.

Mohana has a PhD from the University of Florida with a focus on gender and postcolonial theory, and now lives in Qatar.

Take it away Mohana.

I started writing my first novel in 2005. They were fragments of two voices, the main characters, which I discovered during a writing workshop. The man and woman were each presenting to the reader their version of why their relationship had failed. A few months later, I had a manuscript of alternating chapters.

Enter the writing coach. He explained to me why my idea wouldn’t work. He was the expert and while I disagreed, I didn’t have the courage to continue on the idea on my own. I put the manuscript to one side.  I started a blog. I became very interested in writing a novel set in Qatar.

Two years later, with six eBooks under my belt, I came back to the manuscript. This time I had developed a process for working with fiction.

I had a cultural reader, someone versed in South Indian culture. She took a year, but together we went section by section and strengthened pieces.

I worked with another editor, and he and I fixed the tense errors (fiction is told in the past tense, as a widely accepted convention) and other structural problems in the story.

I sent the beta version of the manuscript out to two readers who were also fans of my other books. They hated it; wanted more development, still felt the writing could be improved.

I went to another editor, someone highly recommended. We went through it again.

By now the book had “slipped” or missed it’s publication date. When this happens in traditional publishing it puts the marketing schedule in an uproar. As an indie writer, the only person upset was myself.

But I kept working on it. Refining it. Because by now, so many people had heard and read my other books, I didn’t want to let anyone down.

And, people had heard of my work but not read anything. I couldn’t imagine putting off new readers.

I toiled and waited for the editor’s sick child to recover, the proof reader to get her own computer, the designer to reply; all the people in the supply chain upon who my book coming to life depended.

The moment finally came; nearly 8 years after the first words were written, and 2 years after I began my self-publishing journey in earnest, An Unlikely Goddess was available on Now the real work: getting people to read, review, and love Sita’s story as much as I did.

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