Thursday, September 15, 2011

Guest Blogger: Shobhan Bantwal, Author of The Full Moon Bride

Today's special guest is Shobhan Bantwal, author of The Full Moon Bride. Shobhan was supposed to be here on September 8th, but I messed up my calendar. Sorry for the delay in getting this posted.

What makes a marriage-love or compatibility? Passion or pragmatism? Shobhan Bantwal’s compelling new novel explores the fascinating subject of arranged marriage, as a young Indian-American woman navigates the gulf between desire and tradition…

To Soorya Giri, arranged marriages have always seemed absurd. But while her career as an environmental lawyer has flourished, Soorya is still a virgin, living with her parents in suburban New Jersey. She wants to be married. And she is finally ready to do the unthinkable…

Soorya’s first bridal viewings are as awkward as she anticipated. But then she’s introduced to Roger Vadepalli. Self-possessed, intelligent, and charming, Roger is clearly interested in marriage and seems eager to clinch the deal. Attracted to him in spite of her mistrust, Soorya is also drawn into a flirtation with Lou, a widowed colleague who is far from her family’s idea of an acceptable husband.

In choosing between two very different men, Soorya must reconcile her burgeoning independence and her conservative background. And she must decide what matters most to her-not just in a husband, but in a family, a culture, and a life…

Stories or Viewpoints?

By Shobhan Bantwal

I believe that all writers inevitably project in their writing their pet theories and biases, intentionally or otherwise. Even journalists, who are expected to remain objective, cannot help but infuse their articles and blogs with their own personal views. Television has spawned a new breed of journalists who air their political and social opinions without fear of possible repercussions.

Fiction has come a long way, too, since the Internet has turned into a world theater where anyone and everyone can air their opinions on pretty much any subject. As a result, writers have begun to put many of their personal obsessions and hang-ups in their novels. Genres are now blending in the most interesting patterns, with vampires and policemen working together to solve mysteries, women falling in love with men who can turn into wolves, panthers and specters instantly. I often wonder if these writers have a secret desire to live such unusual and mysterious lives themselves.

As for myself, the good thing about being a fiction writer in the 21st century is that I have all the freedom to write what I want—artistic license. As a story-teller I can pick and choose my topics and spin tales around them. The characters and scenes come purely from my imagination but they are often based in reality to some degree. I can write sad, humorous, mysterious, frightening, serious, or crazy stories, so long as they keep my readers reading and wanting more.

I put many of my own anxieties into my novels. For example, I am terrified of snakes. I have always had an obsessive fear of reptiles in general. At least two of my novels have references to snakes and how they scared the dickens out of one or more of my characters. I am also a hopeless romantic, and it shows in my stories. There is always a romance blossoming between my protagonist and her hero. My stories would be bland without that romantic angle, so I pepper them generously with romance.

Besides authoring five novels, Shobhan Bantwal is a freelance writer and award-winning fiction writer featured in publications such as The Writer, India Abroad, Little India, India Currents and New Woman India. She regularly donates a portion of her book earnings to women's charities. For information on her books, contests, events, recipes, photos, contact, and favorite charities, visit her website at or her facebook page at

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