Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Author Shobhan Bantwal Answers Questions, Offers A Giveaway

I’m delighted to welcome author Shobhan Bantwal here today as she makes a stop on her Premier Virtual Author Book Tour. You may recall, I recently reviewed Shobhan’s latest release, THE RELUCTANT MATCHMAKER.

Thanks to Shobhan and Teddy at Premier, I have a signed print copy of THE RELUCTANT MATCHMAKER to giveaway to a lucky visitor who comments on today’s post by 8 p.m. (EST) Wednesday, Aug. 22. The giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada only. Be sure to leave your email address with your comment, if it’s not included in your profile.

Shobhan has graciously answered some questions for me about her book and her writing. 

Mason - Do you find people are more open to reading books featuring a Indian-American protagonist than they were a few years ago?

Shobhan - Yes, indeed. With the proliferation of Indian authors in recent years and many of them winning prestigious international literary awards, combined with the rising popularity of India-centric movies like Slumdog Millionaire and Bend it like Beckham, American readers and moviegoers have come to accept Indian protagonists as part of mainstream entertainment. 

My books are commercial fiction and not the serious literary novels that most South Asian authors write. The fact that readers are now enjoying my ethnic women's fiction with romantic elements goes to show that American readers have become more accepting of stories with Indian-American protagonists. This trend is very heartening for me as an author.

Mason - What inspired you from what you have read to write?

The_reluctant_matchmakerShobhan - Since my teenage days, when I first discovered Harlequin Romances and American popular fiction, I had been lamenting that there was no Indian author who wrote books in a similar vein. Later, authors like Judith McNaught, Nora Roberts, and Karen Robards were my inspiration in the 1980s-90s. I was tired of reading serious, slice-of-life novels by South Asian writers and was eagerly awaiting an Indian commercial fiction author to emerge. When none appeared on the literary scene, I decided to write those stories myself, at the mature age of 50. I call my fiction "Bollywood in a Book"—colorful stories filled with emotion, drama, and the unique flavors of Indian culture. 

Mason - What has been the best writing advice you have received?

Shobhan - "Write from your heart and not for the market" has been the best writing advice I have received from a few authors who have done exactly that. My books don't fit into any particular genre, since they are multicultural women's fiction with romantic elements. When I first started shopping around for a literary agent, I was unsure of attracting the attention of any agents or editors because I was swimming in uncharted waters with my outside-the-box, Bollywood brand of fiction. But I was fortunate that a reputable agent loved my unusual novels and signed me on, and later a well-respected, traditional New York publisher was happy to publish my books.

Mason - Do you write using pen and paper or do you compose just on the computer or a combination of the two?

Shobhan - All my writing is done on a computer. It is so much more convenient. Besides, I'm a rather impatient individual, so pen and paper are a little slow for me.

Mason - Is there a favorite time and place that inspires you to write more?

Shobhan - For some odd reason, inspiration seems to strike me when I'm driving alone on quiet roads. But as soon as I sit at my computer, my muse seems to desert me. Nevertheless I try very hard at recapturing my "roadway" thoughts and piecing them together to form compelling tales.

Mason - What can fans look forward to next from you?

Shobhan - Family responsibilities during this phase of my life prevent me from writing new books for a while, but hopefully I will be able to get back into the groove very soon. I have several ideas floating around in my mind, but I have to find the time to turn them into viable stories. An Indian publisher has just bought the rights to all my books published to date in the United States, so that is a project I am actively involved in at this time. I am looking forward to seeing my books become widely available in India, the country of my birth.

Thank you, Mason, for a great interview. I enjoyed answering your questions.
Shobhan, thank you for the interview. I hadn’t realized that your books have yet to be published in India. How excited that they will be soon.

Shobhan is an award-winning Indian-American author of five multicultural women’s fiction books with romantic elements, branded as “Bollywood in a Book.” Her articles and short stories have appeared in The Writer magazine, Romantic Times, India Abroad, India Currents, and New Woman. THE RELUCTANT MATCHMAKER is her sixth book. 

To learn more about Shobhan and her writing, visit her online at www.shobhanbantwal.com. You can learn about her books, trailers, contests, photos, recipes, and much more. You can also visit her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ShobhanBantwal.author.

Here’s a brief description of THE RELUCTANT MATCHMAKER, which is available in print and eBook formats:
It starts with a bizarre accident. When young and petite Meena literally collides with her strikingly tall boss, Prajay, she takes a nasty fall, but doesn’t count on falling in love with him. So imagine her dismay when he makes an astonishing request. He wants her to craft a personal ad that will help him find a suitable wife, a statuesque, sophisticated Indian-American woman who will complement his remarkable height. Despite Meena’s attraction to Prajay and the complications of balancing work and her “marriage consultant” role, she can’t refuse his assignment. And yet, she comes to some surprising realizations about love, tradition, and the sacrifices she will—and won’t—make to win over her giant.

Here is a bit of advance praise for the book:
“One of the best [novels] I’ve read this year. I couldn’t put it down…this book is a gem!”Mary Monroe, New York Times bestselling author on The Unexpected Son

Compelling and memorable.”Mary Jo Putney, New York Times bestselling author on The Forbidden Daughter

Vivid, rich…expertly portrays a young woman caught between love and duty, hope and despair.” —Anjali Banerjee on The Dowry Bride

Dazzles you with a taste of Desi culture in America.”Caridad Piñeiro

Have you read any books where the protagonist is Indian or Indian-American? Thanks so much for stopping by today. Be sure to leave a comment for a chance to win a signed print copy of THE RELUCTANT MATCHMAKER.


  1. Shobhan, thanks again for guest blogging and answering my questions. I enjoy learning about a writer's process. Wishing you much success.

  2. I have read a few; there are several with books on the market right now, one titled Enchanting Lily. A literary novel I read recently is The Thing about Thugs by Indian writer Tabish Khair.

  3. I'd love to read this one too.


  4. I haven't read anything really where the protagonist had been Indian or Indian-American. I think that's sad. Hopefully I can change that with your book.

  5. Hi, Mason and Shobhan,
    Glad I stopped by. I totally understand Shobhan writing novels that she enjoys reading.

    I must admit that apart from books by Naipaul, until recently I hadn't read any contemporary fiction by Indian authors. Found one such writer the other day and enjoyed her book tremendously.

    Gonna check out The Reluctant Matchmaker.

  6. Thank you for the great interview, as well as writing a book with a different kind of leading lady. In a genre that becomes very formulaic at times, it needs people to break out of the box. I would love to read it!


  7. I have read a wonderful novel where the protagonist is Indian and Indian-American, The Invitation. Thanks for this lovely giveaway which is captivating and special. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

  8. I am fascinated with this post today which reviews this great book. When I read The Hindi-Bindi Club I loved it. It involved Indian-American characters and a major protagonist as well. Unforgettable. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  9. I read The Namesake and really enjoyed it. I have The Inheritance of Loss on my TBR list. I enjoy books based in other cultures. Thanks for the giveaway.
    mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

  10. I do really enjoy Indian-American fiction and love the description of Bollywood in a Book. It's the perfect descriptor! I'd love to read this one for sure.


  11. I haven't read any but I would like to read this one! It sounds really good!
    mittens0831 at aol dot com

  12. This book sounds fantastic. I would love to read it. Thank you!


  13. I don't believe I have read any but would love to read this book. Thank you for the chance.
    :)Jeanne B.T.


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.