A Window on Indian Culture
By Shobhan Bantwal - author of The Unexpected Son
As an Indian-American woman, I straddle two distinctly diverse cultures, both equally rich and equally intriguing. And despite my arranged marriage and conservative upbringing, I am hopelessly addicted to fiction with romantic elements.
For years one of my chief complaints had been that while there are so many American and European romance authors who wrote such captivating and heartwarming stories, no Indian author dared to write romantic fiction. Sadly romance novels are dismissed by intellectual snobs as either frivolous or trashy—fodder for lesser minds.
In the land of Bollywood, where movies are prolific, and practically every movie has a romantic theme that hinges on forbidden love and either a happy or hopeful ending, it was a disappointing fact that no one wanted to write romance.
After waiting for many long years, I gave up waiting for an Indian romance author to emerge and decided to take on the task myself. Believe me, it was no easy task. Writing an entire book that has to capture first the attention of a literary agent and then a reputable publisher is a major challenge. But I managed to accomplish both with hard work and dogged determination.
Since my stories are very ethnic in nature, naturally I put in lots of cultural details like Hindu religion, spicy curries, colorful saris and even slang words from India. I like to think of my books as windows that offer a tantalizing glimpse into Indian culture.
All my novels are what I call "Bollywood in a Book''—stories filled with emotion, drama, vivid characters, and a romantic thread running through their fabric. My latest book, THE UNEXPECTED SON, is brimming with cultural trivia.
This tale is partly set in New Jersey and partly in India. My heroine's cozy life turns upside down when an anonymous letter tells a shocking truth: she has a grown son in India, a child she was told was stillborn 30 years ago. Now she must return to her battle-scarred town in India to meet her unknown son. But in doing that she could lose her happy marriage and family.
A Note From Shobhan - Information about my books, video trailers, contact, photos from India, reviews, contests, and recipes is available on my website: www.shobhanbantwal.com. All my books can be purchased at any retail bookstore or online bookseller. For more information about The Unexpected Son virtual tour, visit http://bookpromotionservices.com/2010/07/02/unexpected-son-virtual-tour/