Interview with Shobhan Bantwal
I am happy to present my interview with Shobhan Bantwal. I read The Forbidden Daughter and loved it.
Here is a summary on The Forbidden Daughter
When a young widow refuses to comply with her in-laws' dictate to abort her unborn child, will her rebellion turn out to be the greatest mistake of her life, or a blessing in disguise? This is the story of one mother’s valiant fight to protect her daughters in a society that often frowns on female children, and the only man who will help her in her battle when the stakes become impossibly high.
THE FORBIDDEN DAUGHTER is woven around the hot-button social issue of vanishing girl children in contemporary India, where gender-based abortions and female infanticide continue to be practiced in some areas despite laws to ban the practices.
Also some information about Mrs. Bantwal
Shobhan Bantwal is the author of THE DOWRY BRIDE and THE FORBIDDEN DAUGHTER. Both novels are set in India and released by Kensington Publishing Corp. Shobhan’s short story titled WHERE THE LOTUS GROWS is scheduled for publication in an anthology in spring 2009 and the proceeds will be donated by the publisher, Freya’s Bower, to a battered women’s shelter.
As a freelance writer, Shobhan frequently writes columns for India Abroad. Since 2002, Shobhan’s articles and short stories have also appeared in a variety of other publications including The Writer magazine, Little India, U.S. 1, Desi Journal, India Currents, Overseas Indian, New Woman India, Kanara Saraswat and Sulekha. Her short stories have won honors and awards in fiction contests sponsored by Writer’s Digest, New York Stories and New Woman magazines.
What is your typical day like when you’re writing?
Since I have a fairly demanding full-time career, I don’t have a typical writing day. I try to squeeze in an hour or two of writing most evenings and a little bit more on weekends. After dinner, I settle in front of my computer and wait for my muses to whisper in my ears. Some days, there is no creative spark at all, and on others I could write several pages.
What do you like to do for fun?
Reading is my most relaxing and fun activity. For me, there is nothing more fun than curling up with a good book and a piping hot cup of spiced Indian tea. I read mostly romantic mysteries, pure romances, and thrillers.
You are happily married with a daughter. That is great. My question is “Was it scary when you first met your husband, seeing as it was an arranged marriage?”
It was somewhat scary when I was introduced to my future husband, a complete stranger. But since arranged marriage is the norm in the culture I was raised in, I was programmed to think of it as the most natural thing in a young woman’s life, a rite of passage. Therefore I was prepared for the event. I’m lucky that he turned out to be a nice and caring man. We have been happily married for nearly 35 years.
Have you been back to your home town after your marriage? Have things changed there?
I have been back to my hometown a few times. My most recent visit was in 2004. The little rural town I grew up in has now turned into a city of huge proportions. The population is in the millions and the place is exploding with new housing, movie theaters, shops, restaurants, and institutions of higher learning. Things have certainly changed, but not necessarily for the better.
I read that you love to cook spicy foods and you share some recipes on your website... have you ever thought about putting a cookbook together?
I had thought about writing a cookbook a number of times, but I eventually lost interest because it comes under non-fiction, and fiction is my passion. I would be rather bored trying to put together a non-fiction book, especially when there are so many outstanding cookbooks out there on Indian cooking. My little book would get lost in the shuffle.
How long did it take you to write both The Dowry Bride and The Forbidden Daughter?
The Dowry Bride took quite some time to finish, well over a year, since it was my first book and I had no clue about writing a full-length novel with all its subtle nuances and multiple revisions and edits. But The Forbidden Daughter took only a few months because by then I had developed a feel for what works and what does not in a manuscript.
If your books were to be made into movies who would you choose to play the part of the heroines?
Since my books are set in India, and I am more or less out of the loop with the Bollywood (Bombay Hollywood) industry, I really don’t know who the new young movie stars are. I believe there are quite a few emerging stars on the Bollywood screens in India who are very beautiful/handsome and talented. Of course, a movie deal exists only in my dreams.
What has been the best experience that has happened to you since the release of your books?
The best experience is the fan-mail. It is absolutely wonderful to hear from readers who enjoy my books and send me positive comments and sometimes even suggestions on what could have made my stories even better and stronger. My readers/fans are a very enthusiastic and passionate bunch. I love them all.
What is the one piece of advice you would give your readers?
I would advice my readers to go out and read lots of books on other cultures. There is so much to learn about other parts of the world and other peoples that is both fascinating and educational. Lots of my readers tell me how much they have learned about India after reading my books. They tell me they want to see other books from me in the future. More information is available on my website: http://www.shobhanbantwal.com/
Thank you again for answering my questions. I loved The Forbidden Daughter and look forward to your next book.
Thank you, Cheryl, for interviewing me and for reviewing The Forbidden Daughter. Furthermore I appreciate your hosting me on your site during my Virtual Tour with Nikki Leigh. You have been an enthusiastic supporter.
For more information about Shobhan Bantwal’s virtual tour, visit – http://virtualblogtour.blogspot.com/2008/09/forbidden-daughter-by-shobhan-bantwal.html
The Forbidden Daughter can be ordered at: http://www.amazon.com/Forbidden-Daughter-Shobhan-Bantwal/dp/0758220308
You can visit Shobhan Bantwal at her website – http://www.shobhanbantwal.com/