Thursday, October 23, 2008

My Heritage and my Writing By Shobhan Bantwal

I was born and raised in a large, conservative Hindu family in a small town called Belgaum in Southwestern India. I was the black sheep of the family, the only tomboy and hellion in a family of five girls. My four sisters were angels—good little Brahmin girls with the perfect mix of academic achievement, modesty and deportment. Needless to say, I single-handedly gave my parents every gray hair they possessed, but they were wonderful parents and to a large degree I owe everything I am today to them. The most valuable things they gave me were an outstanding education and the love of reading.

An arranged marriage to a man who happened to live in the U.S. brought me to New Jersey several years ago.

My Indian heritage became the natural basis for my writing. As an Indian-American woman, I straddle two distinctly different cultures, both equally rich, both with their share of woes and quirks, yet both equally intriguing.

When I started to write, I decided to base my first story in India, and use my hometown as the backdrop. I gave it a fictitious name so as not to offend its denizens, but I had a perfect town with all its gossip and conservatism and color and sharp contrasts to draw upon for my stories. My characters are not based on any real people, but I could easily picture them living in my hometown, doing the things I did when I was growing. Even the convent, which my protagonist in my second book uses as a safe haven, is fashioned after the parochial school I attended as a young girl.

THE DOWRY BRIDE, my first book, was released by Kensington Publishing in September 2007. THE FORBIDDEN DAUGHTER, released in September 2008, is my second book and the one I am touring to promote at the moment. Information about my books and other writing is available on my website:

For more information about Shobhan Bantwal’s virtual tour, visit –

The Forbidden Daughter can be ordered at:

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