To make money for college, I worked in our college dining room.
I was about 12 when I first encountered 'The Moonstone' - or a Classics Illustrated version of it - digging through an old trunk in my grandfather's house on a rainy Bengali afternoon.
I was very fortunate that all my holidays I'd spend with my grandfather, experiencing a much more traditional way of life and listening to these wonderful stories, which I now feel are such an important part of Indian thinking.
I came from a traditional family, and it was an exciting but challenging transition to move to America and live on my own. The world around me was suddenly so different.
I have a variety of readers from across the diasporic community, not just from South Asia. I like to write large stories that include all of us - about common and cohesive experiences which bring together many immigrants, their culture shocks, transformations, concepts of home and self in a new land.
Perhaps what distinguishes my characters is their courage and spirit and a certain stubbornness which enables them to keep going even when facing a setback. I think this developed organically as I wrote, but also it came out of a desire to portray women as powerful and intelligent forces in the world.