Monday, October 27, 2008

My Heritage and my Writing By Shobhan Bantwal

I had trouble deciding whether Schobahn's essay should be included on this blog or my for her blog tour. This blog won because I think we writers occasionally need a bit of inspiration thrown our way! Please leave a comment, maybe a small piece on your own story!

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:

Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and two how to books, The Frugal Book Promoter: How To Do What Your Publisher Won't and The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure success. She is also the author of the Amazon Short, "The Great First Impression Book Proposal." Some of her other blogs are and, a blog that helps writers and publishers turn a ho-hum book fair booth into a sizzler.

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