The Mohadoha Stop on the #RRBC Back to School Book & Blog Block Party

block-party-badge1The writers from the Rave Reviews Book Club have gotten together to organize an exciting blog hop – you can visit stops to enter prizes every day in September. Leave a comment below for your chance to win a copy of any books (check out the options in the sidebar).

Welcome to new visitors to this blog. I’d like to tell new and familiar readers about the back story behind my new series, Crimes in Arabia.

I’m writing from Doha, Qatar. There will be five winners, randomly chosen from comments below. I’ll be in touch to see which reading format you prefer.

I didn’t control my Muse. Not in a specific way to generate particular ideas. Sure, I sit down several times a week and force myself to produce as much as I can in the few hours I have between kids’ birthday parties and swim lessons. I go away once a year, for a week, (or longer, if I can find a place to stash the kids) to write, mingle with other writerly types, and figure out how I can get better at storytelling. The ideas for my previous books often began with a central question. One that rolls around and around on deck, waiting for her turn at the keyboard. How a modern person with traditional values finds love is at the center of my first paperback Love Comes Later. The answer is the story.

In The Dohmestics, I explore how well we know those closest to us or ourselves. The ensemble cast in the novel is a composite of people I’ve known while living in the Middle East country of Qatar. Their tangled lives represent the ways in which expats and their domestic help support and infuriate each other. Perhaps because my books ponder issues, rather than focus on a sequence of events, I resist categorization as a genre writer. My novels can’t really find a home like others, where stories cluster, based on common devices or types. Yet, for the last year or so, I have been trying to get a handle on myself as a writer and channel ideas instead of letting them lead me into genre-defying projects.

Not as easy as it sounds.

Crime is what I hoped to get into one year ago: July 2014. Not in real life, as it were, but for my writing. If you can get a believable, likeable, empathetic detective type, you are golden. The books seem to write themselves. Scandinavian writers like Steig Larrson and Henning Mankel had inspired me for years. They took the genre as a venue for social critique and pointed out the failure of Nordic utopia. I’ve seen other places struggle with the burden of wealth and a small citizenry.

I set down a nascent story during National Novel Writing Month in 2015. The premise was simple: a main character living in a labor camp in the Arabian Gulf, one of the kind present in monthly sports news about the 2022 World Cup. The Migrant Report was my first attempt to research, outline, plan, write, and revise a novel from start to finish. The first manuscript was 50,000 word. The published version, now available at online retailers, is almost double the original word count.I’m nervous, I’m elated. One second I worry I’ve gotten it all wrong; the next I’m telling everyone this is the best material I’ve ever written. If you’d like to review The Migrant Report and tell me your thoughts, drop me a comment below.

What type of stories do you like to read or write?


Posts Tagged with…

Reader Comments

  1. Michelle Abbott

    Defying genre seems to be working for you! I found I sold more books when I wrote solidly in a genre and it was also easier to market. I enjoy reading romance mostly and I write new adult romance. Enjoy your solo day on the blog party!

  2. John Fioravanti

    Mohana, you have a very interesting and informative website, and I’m glad I visited and learned about you and the books you have written! I admire the fact that you are working as a university professor, raising children and writing books on top of all of that! I also admire that you haven’t pigeon-holed yourself as a writer in one particular genre. I honestly think that is a strength as a writer. One of the things I like about being a member of Rave Reviews Book Club is that I have taken the opportunity to purchase and read books in genres I haven’t tried before. I find that as a reader, it broadens my perspective and reading experience. Thanks for giving us this opportunity to get to know you and your work today! Have a great day on the Block Party! Maybe John Howell will show up with more wine today!

  3. Renae Lucas-Hall

    Your books sound really interesting! I would definitely like to read and review The Migrant Report or The Dohmestics (from your Crimes in Arabia series) in the future. It sounds like you have done a lot of research for this series so I’m sure your books are captivating. I hope you enjoy the party. Have a great weekend!

  4. Joy Lo-Bamjoko

    Whatever you say Mohana, it is exciting to hear the voice from Asia, should I say India? Your name seems to indicate so, and forgive me if I’m wrong. You are very welcome in our club, and I am sure your stories will give us a new insight into your world as I do with mine. That’s the whole purpose of a world-wide club. 🙂 So good to know you.

  5. Tara Fairfield

    Thank you for sharing so much about your writing process. I believe writing is a calling and the best work comes from our heart and passions which it sounds like you have done. Your new release sounds really interesting to me and I’m putting it on my to read list. Best wishes!

  6. John W. Howell

    Mohana, I was very interested in your discussion about your fears around your published work. I want to say you have captured well the feelings I think we all have the moment we see our books in print. The feeling is what marks the sign of one who cares about the reader. This attention pretty much ensures your writing will be the best it can be and worthy of praise. I brought a few bottles of wine for your party. (I took them from John Firoavanti’s private stock so let’s keep this between us.)

  7. Yvette M Calleiro

    Genres are so cumbersome, but it does help a reader find new books, I guess. Still, I find myself leaving my favorite genres to discover amazing novels every now and then.

    You asked what we like read. I love fantasy/paranormal (which technically is listed as two separate genres though I tend not to be able to always distinguish between the two) and I love suspense (though I like it more when it’s within my favorite genre) ?

  8. Lisa Kirazian

    Love the idea of resisting categorization, Mohana! And yet working to keep refining and refining the craft no matter what form/genre the Muse insists upon. Wishing you the best on your special blog day and beyond and looking forward to reading more!

  9. Jan Hawke

    (W)right with you on avoiding a ‘brand’ niche Mohana – genres can be very limiting, especially with online marketplaces sometimes. My preferred reading area is (still) Sci-Fi & Fantasy, but I do love fusion literature and my (so far) only published full-length novel has several distinctive genre aspects, so I ended up privately calling it ‘kaleidoscope fiction’ when I was writing query letters. When I put it on Amazon it was even worse, so it got a bland ‘literary fiction’ label, because nothing else would work for it.
    I dislike compartmentalising anywhere in any event – life’s messy after all! I’ve not sold too much, but the reviews I’ve got back are good (not gone below 3 stars which is above average after all! 😉 ) so I’m happy not being lumped into any one group. You stick to your guns and be true to your characters quirks – they’re much more interesting for being multi-faceted! 😉

  10. Brian O'Hare

    Deep, Mohan, deep! To take a simple crime novel and give it a social twist is not easy. I have tried to do it myself in The Doom Murders but I have to say, the social context definitely became only background. Great blog, oozing knowledge and intelligence.

  11. Adam boustead

    I agree with all you say that I’ll be interested to know more about to India I didn’t know a lot about that part of the world or Asia your book sounds interesting I will try and get down that woman is a book to have to read and read as soon as possible with you welcome to I will be at BC and hoping to the block party

  12. Steve

    Hi Mohana. Not come across your stuff before, so it is a pleasure to discover your blog. The Migrant Report sounds interesting. I’ve downloaded the sample to my kindle. Working conditions in Qatar leading up to 2022 and the kafala system is something I have blogged about. Don’t know how you’ve completed this so fast though: outrageous! 🙂

  13. Lizzie Chantree

    Thank you for hosting today’s blog party! It’s wonderful to learn more about you and your work.

    I had the same problem with deciding which genre to place my second novel in. My first book is very much Chick Lit/Modern Romance, but my second is far more sinister and about the relationships between parents and their children. It is a Family Saga/Romantic Suspense novel.

    My third novel is about a girl who travels the country trying to right the wrongs of her family, with a little bit of magic thrown in!

    I love the whole process of story telling and once the new characters have jumped into my imagination, it is hard to leave my new friends behind. I simply have to put them onto the page and tell their story.

  14. Christa Nardi

    Hi Mohana! Glad I stopped by! I tried NANO last year, but didn’t come close to 50K words! I like romance and mystery, so I will be checking out that crime series!

  15. Michael Lynes

    Hi Mohana,
    Thanks so much for inviting us all from the RRBC to visit your blog. It’s very interesting and well organized! Your books do certainly look interesting and as you say they do not fall neatly into a specific genre. Good for you – no need to allow a category to define your muse.

    Good luck with your writing and thanks again!


  16. Kim Cox

    Mohana, your books sound interesting. I mostly read mystery but I also read romance, paranormal, science fiction, and outside genre books. In romance I prefer historical and suspense books. I look forward to reading your books.

    I agree about the research. That’s not my favorite thing, but sometimes necessary. At least the Internet makes it a bit easier.

  17. Bethany Turner

    Mohana, it was wonderful to learn more about you and your work through your blog post! Congratulations, and I wish you much success — with your writing in general, as well as your stop on the Block Party!!

  18. Shirley Harris-Slaughter

    Hi there Mohana, It’s nice to meet new members bringing their world to us. I’ve been out all day so this is the first chance I have to visit your blog and I like what I see. Sometimes you can’t box yourself into specific genres because life doesn’t fit into neat little boxes. People wondered why I didn’t write in one specific genre. I write non-fiction and so whatever life presents, that’s what I write about. Now fiction is a different story–maybe.

  19. Ani

    I just added The Migrant Report to my wish list on Amazon.

    As far as what I like to read, I’m pretty much open to anything but horror, erotica and romance. Writing wise, I don’t like to pigeon hole myself. My muse dictates how and what I write, so I end up with stories that weave their way between genres as my character tell their tales. If I have to classify what I write, it’s contemporary with some science fiction thrown in.

  20. Gwen Plano

    Thank you, Mohana, for this interesting blog. I’m glad we’ve “met” through this medium. I spent three decades in higher ed and know the challenges you face. That said, I’ve only been able to write –after retirement, so I am in awe of your skill! I look forward to reading your books…
    All the best to you…Gwen

  21. Beem Weeks

    A fantastic post, Mohana. I love the line: “Crime is what I hoped to get into one year ago.” I’m glad you clarified that for us. I got a good laugh from reading that line. I hope you meet great success on this blog stop. Best wishes to you.

  22. Rosemary Simm

    Hi Mohana, Our book club has just finished reading and reviewing The Great Gatsby.
    I found that this classic had multiple levels of writing that was wonderful in pulling
    together a great story. Fritzgerald was way ahead of his time. I do have some trouble
    reading all classics, they are becoming a close favorite. My main interest are phsicological thrillers.

Write a Comment

Your email address will not be published.