Born in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India, Alka has lived in the U.S. since the age of nine. She graduated from Stanford University and worked in the fields of advertising and PR before starting her own marketing consultancy. In 2011, while obtaining her M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the California College of the Arts in San Francisco, she began reimagining her mother’s life—one without an arranged marriage and children. That reimagined life gave birth to her debut novel, The Henna Artist, which is dedicated to her mother.