The Jewel in the Crown: An interview with Indian-American writer Shobhan Bantwal

Cat 243 Dover by Mary Jo Putney
           
India has famously been called “the jewel in the crown” of Britain’s empire.  The relationship between the two countries is a very long one: the original charter of the British East India Company was signed by Queen Elizabeth I in 1600.
 
With superior weapons and well drilled armies, Europeans were able to establish control over the diverse kingdoms of the subcontinent.  In 1757, the British defeated the Nawab of Bengal and his French allies at Battle of Plassey Map of India and established British dominance of the subcontinent.  Over the following 150 years or so, India became the source of much of the British empire’s wealth. 
 
India often twines its way into British set historical romances—I set one book there, and a number of my characters had Indian backstories.  India is a source of exotic mystery, romance, wealth, and danger in the historical imagination.

Peacock So…I thought it would be interesting to talk to my friend Shobhan Bantwal about that long relationship, as seen through the eyes of a native Indian who has lived in the US for many years.  (So many Indians live throughout the world that there is a term for them: NRI—Non-Resident Indians.) 
 
I first met Shobhan in passing at an NJRW conference in New Jersey (and enlisted her help in factchecking my recent book, Loving a Lost Lord, which has a half-Hindu hero.)

Shobhan has had three books published by Kensington so far, and if I were to classify them, it would be as “contemporary romantic ethnic women’s fiction.” That is to say, her subjects are modern India and Indians and her heroines live at the intersection of deeply rooted traditions and contemporary challenges.  Or put another way, she tells great, accessible stories about Indian women, and she believes in happy endings.  
 
MJP:  India has been invaded many times over the centuries, and always it ends up absorbing and transforming the invaders.  As a native born Indian, how do you feel about the British presence for all those many years?  What are the pluses and minuses?  
 
Shobhan Bantwal  SB: As someone born a few years after India gained independence in 1947, my knowledge of the British “Raj” as they refer to the British rule in India, comes from history books and anecdotes from my elders. Britain at one time was the arrogant superpower that set out to conquer the world and managed to do precisely that to a certain degree. It comes as no surprise that it set its sights on a country like India, rich in natural resources but weakened by small kingdoms ruled by warring kings and princes.

The minuses come from the fact that much of India’s natural wealth like rare spices, silks, gems, and ancient artifacts were literally plundered by the British to feed their own coffers and for their pleasure. Many British museums, including the Tower of London Museum, probably contain more of India’s famous precious gems and pieces of art and archeology than India does. Many Hindus were converted to Christianity by the British as well, leaving a permanent mark on the social fabric.

However, the pluses balance the minuses. Education, transportation, English as an international language, technology, and science would never have become such an intrinsic part of Indian culture if it were not for the British. Today’s India is the THEDOWRYBRIDE1 world’s largest democracy with a vast English-speaking populace with advanced education and superior skills that has made it possible for rapid growth in the high-tech and service industries.

On a personal note, it was my education in English that led me to become a career woman in the U.S. and later on an author. For all that I am grateful to the British and their continuing legacy.

My mother (God rest her soul) was educated in an exclusive school run by the British. She introduced my sisters and me to reading English books and that was what got me hooked on reading. She loved reading romances. If she were alive today, she would have been ecstatic to see one of her daughters become a published romance author. Hope she’s watching all this from heaven.

MJP: Your first two books were set in India and dealt with ancient customs that definitely were not woman-friendly.  Could you tell us something of what inspired The Dowry Bride and The Forbidden Daughter? 
 
SB:  Sociology was my major subject in college and social and women’s issues were of deep interest to me. So when I took up creative writing I decided to address some of the antiquated traditions like dowry and female repression that continue to plague India’s women to this day. Despite laws banning dowry and female feticide, they are still practiced in contemporary India.

Women in India lead a double life—a public life and a personal one that are very diverse from each other. Education and a status-worthy career do not add up to a The Forbidden Daughter lot when it comes to their home life. Men still rule the roost and women still play subjective roles to a large degree. Female children are viewed as burdens and male children as assets. My first two books wove these two subjects into romantic stories to bring awareness as well unique entertainment to American readers.

Incidentally, The Dowry Bride, my debut book, has my daughter on the cover, in all her bridal finery. Having my daughter on my very first cover is a great thrill for me.
 
MJP: Arranged marriage is a staple of our historical romances, but today, India is one of the few cultures where arranged marriage is still a common feature.  You are a modern American woman, yet you and your husband had an arranged marriage, and a very successful one.  Would you discuss that with us?

SB: In cultures like India, marriage is seen not merely as a man and woman coming together to start a family but also a social institution that brings entire families and communities together. Practical considerations like social and economic status, caste, educational levels, and family compatibility come above everything else.

My own arranged marriage was a product of such pragmatic thinking. Then there was astrology thrown into the mix as well. Horoscopes were matched on both sides, and only after the respective family astrologers had declared that it was a good match did my future husband and I meet. There must be something to this astrology business, because the predictions are frequently on target.

Amazingly enough, these marriages do work out well, too, perhaps because most of us born and raised in conservative Indian families are programmed to think of marriage as much more than physical attraction. A great many modern young women in India still seem to put their faith in their parents and other elders to find them a suitable spouse and settle for arranged marriage. There is indeed a great deal of comfort in having someone else do the research and matchmaking. All one has to do is pray hard and take the plunge.

From my personal experience, I can say that my parents chose well for me. My husband of nearly 36 years has been my best friend and partner in every way.
 
 MJP:  What do you see as the ways Britain influenced India and India influenced Britain?  (For example, chicken curry is a staple food in English pubs these days, and every English town and village seems to have an Indian restaurant.)
 
SB:  Both the cultures have had an enormous impact on each other. So many Indian words have become a part of the English language that one rarely realizes they actually have their origin in India, for example, karma, dharma, guru, nirvana, pundit, pariah, chutney, and juggernaut, to name a few. Chicken curry has replaced the age-old staple fish and chips as Britain’s favorite take-out food.

Similarly, British customs and habits are well entrenched in Indian culture and society. The games of golf, tennis, cricket, and squash, non-vegetarianism, dressing in trousers and collared shirts, and speaking and reading English, are some of the influences of Britain over India. Perhaps the most significant impact is on government, which has the same structure and all official business in India is conducted in English. Today, some of India’s exclusive private schools and universities boast a standard of education that can rival Eton and Harrow, Cambridge and Oxford.
 
TheSariShopWidow MJP: Your new book, The Sari Shop Widow, takes place in New Jersey, and the heroine, Anjali, faces the challenges of being both a traditional Indian daughter and a modern American woman.  Tell us something about that.  And do you have thoughts on the way India and the West interact in the twenty-first century.
 
SB:  Set on the streets of Edison, New Jersey, The Sari Shop Widow tells the story of a young businesswoman who rediscovers the magic of love, family, and her traditional roots as she fights to save her failing sari boutique. Incidentally, the hero is Indo-British to spice up the story and add another dimension to the plot.  He is a true product of a mixed marriage. He can speak the Queen’s English and Gujarati with equal fluency. He relishes spicy Indian food and yet he can devour bland meat and potatoes.

What sparked the idea for the story was that I shop often in the area called Little India in Edison and I believed it would make a great backdrop for a romantic story. With its sari shops, jewelry stores, food markets, and restaurants, it is a small slice of India transplanted into suburban America, and it has a unique atmosphere suitable for a fiction setting. Now that I’ve written the book, I guess all I have to do is twiddle my thumbs and wait for a Bollywood movie producer to discover it. Of course, it could be an excruciatingly long wait…….

About my thoughts on the interaction between India and the West: With the different continents interacting in this culture of globalization, India has emerged as a major world player. Technology from the West has given India an opportunity to shine and thrive. More and more young people travel to the West and even live here permanently to pursue careers and raise families. By the same token, many have taken western ideas back to India and put them to good use to raise the country’s standard of living. As a result, American and European foods, literature, and fashions have permeated Indian culture. 

MJP:  What lies in your writing future?
 
SB: A fourth book is slated for release next year by my publisher, Kensington. I don’t have a definite title yet, but it will be women’s fiction that is partly set in India and partly in the U.S. Information about my published books is on my website: www.shobhanbantwal.com  (MJP: She has nice videos for each book, too!)

Thank you for interviewing me for your popular and interesting blog. Your questions have made me think long and hard and that is always a good thing for an author. I appreciate your continued support.
 
Taj Mahal  MJP: Shobhan has generously agreed to give away a signed copy of The Sari Shop Widow to one of the commenters on this blog between now and Saturday midnight.  As readers, what do you think about the lure and mystery of India in our historical novels, as well as the reality presented by Shobhan? 

And hasn't Kensington given her fabulous covers?!!

Mary Jo

110 thoughts on “The Jewel in the Crown: An interview with Indian-American writer Shobhan Bantwal”

  1. Shobhan, I’ve been a big fan of Indian cinema for 5-6 years now, have read a number of books about India or set in India, and I’ve been looking forward to this interview. I’m not familiar with your books, and now I look forward to trying them! Thanks for visiting the Wenches this week.
    Laura

    Reply
  2. Shobhan, I’ve been a big fan of Indian cinema for 5-6 years now, have read a number of books about India or set in India, and I’ve been looking forward to this interview. I’m not familiar with your books, and now I look forward to trying them! Thanks for visiting the Wenches this week.
    Laura

    Reply
  3. Shobhan, I’ve been a big fan of Indian cinema for 5-6 years now, have read a number of books about India or set in India, and I’ve been looking forward to this interview. I’m not familiar with your books, and now I look forward to trying them! Thanks for visiting the Wenches this week.
    Laura

    Reply
  4. Shobhan, I’ve been a big fan of Indian cinema for 5-6 years now, have read a number of books about India or set in India, and I’ve been looking forward to this interview. I’m not familiar with your books, and now I look forward to trying them! Thanks for visiting the Wenches this week.
    Laura

    Reply
  5. Shobhan, I’ve been a big fan of Indian cinema for 5-6 years now, have read a number of books about India or set in India, and I’ve been looking forward to this interview. I’m not familiar with your books, and now I look forward to trying them! Thanks for visiting the Wenches this week.
    Laura

    Reply
  6. It’s an honor to be guest blogging on this colorful and varied site where so many talented and multi-published authors share their experiences.
    When Mary Jo offered to interview me for Word Wenches I jumped at the opportunity to share some of my insights.
    Thank you, Mary Jo for the lovely interview.
    Shobhan Bantwal
    http://www.shobhanbantwal.com

    Reply
  7. It’s an honor to be guest blogging on this colorful and varied site where so many talented and multi-published authors share their experiences.
    When Mary Jo offered to interview me for Word Wenches I jumped at the opportunity to share some of my insights.
    Thank you, Mary Jo for the lovely interview.
    Shobhan Bantwal
    http://www.shobhanbantwal.com

    Reply
  8. It’s an honor to be guest blogging on this colorful and varied site where so many talented and multi-published authors share their experiences.
    When Mary Jo offered to interview me for Word Wenches I jumped at the opportunity to share some of my insights.
    Thank you, Mary Jo for the lovely interview.
    Shobhan Bantwal
    http://www.shobhanbantwal.com

    Reply
  9. It’s an honor to be guest blogging on this colorful and varied site where so many talented and multi-published authors share their experiences.
    When Mary Jo offered to interview me for Word Wenches I jumped at the opportunity to share some of my insights.
    Thank you, Mary Jo for the lovely interview.
    Shobhan Bantwal
    http://www.shobhanbantwal.com

    Reply
  10. It’s an honor to be guest blogging on this colorful and varied site where so many talented and multi-published authors share their experiences.
    When Mary Jo offered to interview me for Word Wenches I jumped at the opportunity to share some of my insights.
    Thank you, Mary Jo for the lovely interview.
    Shobhan Bantwal
    http://www.shobhanbantwal.com

    Reply
  11. Great interview. I absolutely loved THE SARI SHOP WIDOW with its depiction of Desi culture in Edison’s Little New Delhi. Shobhan did an amazing job of portraying this neighborhood as well as the culture of those Indians who have immigrated to the U.S. Congrats again, Shobhan on this awesome book.

    Reply
  12. Great interview. I absolutely loved THE SARI SHOP WIDOW with its depiction of Desi culture in Edison’s Little New Delhi. Shobhan did an amazing job of portraying this neighborhood as well as the culture of those Indians who have immigrated to the U.S. Congrats again, Shobhan on this awesome book.

    Reply
  13. Great interview. I absolutely loved THE SARI SHOP WIDOW with its depiction of Desi culture in Edison’s Little New Delhi. Shobhan did an amazing job of portraying this neighborhood as well as the culture of those Indians who have immigrated to the U.S. Congrats again, Shobhan on this awesome book.

    Reply
  14. Great interview. I absolutely loved THE SARI SHOP WIDOW with its depiction of Desi culture in Edison’s Little New Delhi. Shobhan did an amazing job of portraying this neighborhood as well as the culture of those Indians who have immigrated to the U.S. Congrats again, Shobhan on this awesome book.

    Reply
  15. Great interview. I absolutely loved THE SARI SHOP WIDOW with its depiction of Desi culture in Edison’s Little New Delhi. Shobhan did an amazing job of portraying this neighborhood as well as the culture of those Indians who have immigrated to the U.S. Congrats again, Shobhan on this awesome book.

    Reply
  16. Hi, Shobhan,
    I got chills reading about the challenges women raised in other cultures face while growing up in the US. Though I am first-generation American, my Italian parents raised me in such a way that Eurpean traditions are steeped in my soul. Whenever I come across someone who understands–whether Italian, Greek, Indian, etc–I always connect. Best of luck with your latest release. They all look really good and I look forward to reading each; hopefully, sooner than later 🙂 I’m not a fan of studying but I’ve learned so much about the world through my own reading and writing process.
    Again, best wishes (and see you at LSFW),
    Joanna Aislinn
    NO MATTER WHY
    The Wild Rose Press Jan. 15, 2010
    http://www.joannaaislinn.com
    http://www.joannaaislinn.wordpress.com
    Joanna Aislinn

    Reply
  17. Hi, Shobhan,
    I got chills reading about the challenges women raised in other cultures face while growing up in the US. Though I am first-generation American, my Italian parents raised me in such a way that Eurpean traditions are steeped in my soul. Whenever I come across someone who understands–whether Italian, Greek, Indian, etc–I always connect. Best of luck with your latest release. They all look really good and I look forward to reading each; hopefully, sooner than later 🙂 I’m not a fan of studying but I’ve learned so much about the world through my own reading and writing process.
    Again, best wishes (and see you at LSFW),
    Joanna Aislinn
    NO MATTER WHY
    The Wild Rose Press Jan. 15, 2010
    http://www.joannaaislinn.com
    http://www.joannaaislinn.wordpress.com
    Joanna Aislinn

    Reply
  18. Hi, Shobhan,
    I got chills reading about the challenges women raised in other cultures face while growing up in the US. Though I am first-generation American, my Italian parents raised me in such a way that Eurpean traditions are steeped in my soul. Whenever I come across someone who understands–whether Italian, Greek, Indian, etc–I always connect. Best of luck with your latest release. They all look really good and I look forward to reading each; hopefully, sooner than later 🙂 I’m not a fan of studying but I’ve learned so much about the world through my own reading and writing process.
    Again, best wishes (and see you at LSFW),
    Joanna Aislinn
    NO MATTER WHY
    The Wild Rose Press Jan. 15, 2010
    http://www.joannaaislinn.com
    http://www.joannaaislinn.wordpress.com
    Joanna Aislinn

    Reply
  19. Hi, Shobhan,
    I got chills reading about the challenges women raised in other cultures face while growing up in the US. Though I am first-generation American, my Italian parents raised me in such a way that Eurpean traditions are steeped in my soul. Whenever I come across someone who understands–whether Italian, Greek, Indian, etc–I always connect. Best of luck with your latest release. They all look really good and I look forward to reading each; hopefully, sooner than later 🙂 I’m not a fan of studying but I’ve learned so much about the world through my own reading and writing process.
    Again, best wishes (and see you at LSFW),
    Joanna Aislinn
    NO MATTER WHY
    The Wild Rose Press Jan. 15, 2010
    http://www.joannaaislinn.com
    http://www.joannaaislinn.wordpress.com
    Joanna Aislinn

    Reply
  20. Hi, Shobhan,
    I got chills reading about the challenges women raised in other cultures face while growing up in the US. Though I am first-generation American, my Italian parents raised me in such a way that Eurpean traditions are steeped in my soul. Whenever I come across someone who understands–whether Italian, Greek, Indian, etc–I always connect. Best of luck with your latest release. They all look really good and I look forward to reading each; hopefully, sooner than later 🙂 I’m not a fan of studying but I’ve learned so much about the world through my own reading and writing process.
    Again, best wishes (and see you at LSFW),
    Joanna Aislinn
    NO MATTER WHY
    The Wild Rose Press Jan. 15, 2010
    http://www.joannaaislinn.com
    http://www.joannaaislinn.wordpress.com
    Joanna Aislinn

    Reply
  21. Shobhan, you know I’m your biggest fan! Just stopping by to shout out to you. I have and read the Sari Shop Widow and LOVE it. Can’t wait for your next book (and to see what fantastic cover they come up with… your covers are the best!!!).

    Reply
  22. Shobhan, you know I’m your biggest fan! Just stopping by to shout out to you. I have and read the Sari Shop Widow and LOVE it. Can’t wait for your next book (and to see what fantastic cover they come up with… your covers are the best!!!).

    Reply
  23. Shobhan, you know I’m your biggest fan! Just stopping by to shout out to you. I have and read the Sari Shop Widow and LOVE it. Can’t wait for your next book (and to see what fantastic cover they come up with… your covers are the best!!!).

    Reply
  24. Shobhan, you know I’m your biggest fan! Just stopping by to shout out to you. I have and read the Sari Shop Widow and LOVE it. Can’t wait for your next book (and to see what fantastic cover they come up with… your covers are the best!!!).

    Reply
  25. Shobhan, you know I’m your biggest fan! Just stopping by to shout out to you. I have and read the Sari Shop Widow and LOVE it. Can’t wait for your next book (and to see what fantastic cover they come up with… your covers are the best!!!).

    Reply
  26. From MJP:
    Thanks so much for joining us, Shobhan! So many books by Indian authors are very literary, which is all well and good, but I’m a popular fiction reader, and I love how accessible your stories are. They take me into another world that is both exotic and understandable.

    Reply
  27. From MJP:
    Thanks so much for joining us, Shobhan! So many books by Indian authors are very literary, which is all well and good, but I’m a popular fiction reader, and I love how accessible your stories are. They take me into another world that is both exotic and understandable.

    Reply
  28. From MJP:
    Thanks so much for joining us, Shobhan! So many books by Indian authors are very literary, which is all well and good, but I’m a popular fiction reader, and I love how accessible your stories are. They take me into another world that is both exotic and understandable.

    Reply
  29. From MJP:
    Thanks so much for joining us, Shobhan! So many books by Indian authors are very literary, which is all well and good, but I’m a popular fiction reader, and I love how accessible your stories are. They take me into another world that is both exotic and understandable.

    Reply
  30. From MJP:
    Thanks so much for joining us, Shobhan! So many books by Indian authors are very literary, which is all well and good, but I’m a popular fiction reader, and I love how accessible your stories are. They take me into another world that is both exotic and understandable.

    Reply
  31. Lovely, lovely covers! Indian culture has always been a fascination for me. I haven’t had the pleasure to travel there, but have two “adopted” sons in Andre Pradesh. Will be looking for your books next time I’m at Books-a-Million!

    Reply
  32. Lovely, lovely covers! Indian culture has always been a fascination for me. I haven’t had the pleasure to travel there, but have two “adopted” sons in Andre Pradesh. Will be looking for your books next time I’m at Books-a-Million!

    Reply
  33. Lovely, lovely covers! Indian culture has always been a fascination for me. I haven’t had the pleasure to travel there, but have two “adopted” sons in Andre Pradesh. Will be looking for your books next time I’m at Books-a-Million!

    Reply
  34. Lovely, lovely covers! Indian culture has always been a fascination for me. I haven’t had the pleasure to travel there, but have two “adopted” sons in Andre Pradesh. Will be looking for your books next time I’m at Books-a-Million!

    Reply
  35. Lovely, lovely covers! Indian culture has always been a fascination for me. I haven’t had the pleasure to travel there, but have two “adopted” sons in Andre Pradesh. Will be looking for your books next time I’m at Books-a-Million!

    Reply
  36. Hi, Shobhan! Nice to “see” you and Mary Jo talking together. I really enjoyed The Dowry Bride. The Forbidden Daughter awaits me on my TBR pile. I saw The Sari Shop Widow this week in B&N on a “New Reads” table. But I’m planning to get it from your own hand, so it will be signed. 🙂 I enjoy your work and comments very much.

    Reply
  37. Hi, Shobhan! Nice to “see” you and Mary Jo talking together. I really enjoyed The Dowry Bride. The Forbidden Daughter awaits me on my TBR pile. I saw The Sari Shop Widow this week in B&N on a “New Reads” table. But I’m planning to get it from your own hand, so it will be signed. 🙂 I enjoy your work and comments very much.

    Reply
  38. Hi, Shobhan! Nice to “see” you and Mary Jo talking together. I really enjoyed The Dowry Bride. The Forbidden Daughter awaits me on my TBR pile. I saw The Sari Shop Widow this week in B&N on a “New Reads” table. But I’m planning to get it from your own hand, so it will be signed. 🙂 I enjoy your work and comments very much.

    Reply
  39. Hi, Shobhan! Nice to “see” you and Mary Jo talking together. I really enjoyed The Dowry Bride. The Forbidden Daughter awaits me on my TBR pile. I saw The Sari Shop Widow this week in B&N on a “New Reads” table. But I’m planning to get it from your own hand, so it will be signed. 🙂 I enjoy your work and comments very much.

    Reply
  40. Hi, Shobhan! Nice to “see” you and Mary Jo talking together. I really enjoyed The Dowry Bride. The Forbidden Daughter awaits me on my TBR pile. I saw The Sari Shop Widow this week in B&N on a “New Reads” table. But I’m planning to get it from your own hand, so it will be signed. 🙂 I enjoy your work and comments very much.

    Reply
  41. Romance is a great genre through which to explore cultural commonalities & differences! The interview certainly piqued my interest and I’ll be on the lookout for these when I next stop in a book store.

    Reply
  42. Romance is a great genre through which to explore cultural commonalities & differences! The interview certainly piqued my interest and I’ll be on the lookout for these when I next stop in a book store.

    Reply
  43. Romance is a great genre through which to explore cultural commonalities & differences! The interview certainly piqued my interest and I’ll be on the lookout for these when I next stop in a book store.

    Reply
  44. Romance is a great genre through which to explore cultural commonalities & differences! The interview certainly piqued my interest and I’ll be on the lookout for these when I next stop in a book store.

    Reply
  45. Romance is a great genre through which to explore cultural commonalities & differences! The interview certainly piqued my interest and I’ll be on the lookout for these when I next stop in a book store.

    Reply
  46. I have known several female doctors who were Indian but it sounds like your books will be a glimpse into the more personal side of life. Thank you for posting. I will enjoy looking for your books.

    Reply
  47. I have known several female doctors who were Indian but it sounds like your books will be a glimpse into the more personal side of life. Thank you for posting. I will enjoy looking for your books.

    Reply
  48. I have known several female doctors who were Indian but it sounds like your books will be a glimpse into the more personal side of life. Thank you for posting. I will enjoy looking for your books.

    Reply
  49. I have known several female doctors who were Indian but it sounds like your books will be a glimpse into the more personal side of life. Thank you for posting. I will enjoy looking for your books.

    Reply
  50. I have known several female doctors who were Indian but it sounds like your books will be a glimpse into the more personal side of life. Thank you for posting. I will enjoy looking for your books.

    Reply
  51. Thanks to each and every one of you for stopping by and posting such positive and encouraging comments.
    Mary Jo has so skillfully intertwined Indian history, culture, and my writing that I must say Namaste to her with my hands joined in humble gratitude.
    The beautiful covers are courtesy of my publisher, Kensington, and my editor, Audrey LaFehr. I honestly can’t take credit for any of that.
    Mary Jo and the lovely ladies who own this blog site are to be commended for doing such a fine job of drawing such a wide variety of talented writers and avid readers.
    Shobhan Bantwal

    Reply
  52. Thanks to each and every one of you for stopping by and posting such positive and encouraging comments.
    Mary Jo has so skillfully intertwined Indian history, culture, and my writing that I must say Namaste to her with my hands joined in humble gratitude.
    The beautiful covers are courtesy of my publisher, Kensington, and my editor, Audrey LaFehr. I honestly can’t take credit for any of that.
    Mary Jo and the lovely ladies who own this blog site are to be commended for doing such a fine job of drawing such a wide variety of talented writers and avid readers.
    Shobhan Bantwal

    Reply
  53. Thanks to each and every one of you for stopping by and posting such positive and encouraging comments.
    Mary Jo has so skillfully intertwined Indian history, culture, and my writing that I must say Namaste to her with my hands joined in humble gratitude.
    The beautiful covers are courtesy of my publisher, Kensington, and my editor, Audrey LaFehr. I honestly can’t take credit for any of that.
    Mary Jo and the lovely ladies who own this blog site are to be commended for doing such a fine job of drawing such a wide variety of talented writers and avid readers.
    Shobhan Bantwal

    Reply
  54. Thanks to each and every one of you for stopping by and posting such positive and encouraging comments.
    Mary Jo has so skillfully intertwined Indian history, culture, and my writing that I must say Namaste to her with my hands joined in humble gratitude.
    The beautiful covers are courtesy of my publisher, Kensington, and my editor, Audrey LaFehr. I honestly can’t take credit for any of that.
    Mary Jo and the lovely ladies who own this blog site are to be commended for doing such a fine job of drawing such a wide variety of talented writers and avid readers.
    Shobhan Bantwal

    Reply
  55. Thanks to each and every one of you for stopping by and posting such positive and encouraging comments.
    Mary Jo has so skillfully intertwined Indian history, culture, and my writing that I must say Namaste to her with my hands joined in humble gratitude.
    The beautiful covers are courtesy of my publisher, Kensington, and my editor, Audrey LaFehr. I honestly can’t take credit for any of that.
    Mary Jo and the lovely ladies who own this blog site are to be commended for doing such a fine job of drawing such a wide variety of talented writers and avid readers.
    Shobhan Bantwal

    Reply
  56. As I was reading the blog I saw the cover of The Dowry Bride and thought to myself “how beautiful”. To then discover that it’s the author’s daughter in her actual wedding finery only made it more so.
    I’ve been fascinated by India ever since my cousin married a man from Bangalore when I was in middle school. As an adult, I’ve been impressed by the explosive growth not only in the Indian economy but in the number of Indian books, movies, and music that now make their way to America and have tried to take advantage of as much as I can. Just last week I read Jhumpa Lahiri’s Unaccustomed Earth and found myself unable to sleep because I was so profoundly affected by the book. I’d know have another author to search for in the book store. Thank you, Word Wenches, for bringing this to my attention.

    Reply
  57. As I was reading the blog I saw the cover of The Dowry Bride and thought to myself “how beautiful”. To then discover that it’s the author’s daughter in her actual wedding finery only made it more so.
    I’ve been fascinated by India ever since my cousin married a man from Bangalore when I was in middle school. As an adult, I’ve been impressed by the explosive growth not only in the Indian economy but in the number of Indian books, movies, and music that now make their way to America and have tried to take advantage of as much as I can. Just last week I read Jhumpa Lahiri’s Unaccustomed Earth and found myself unable to sleep because I was so profoundly affected by the book. I’d know have another author to search for in the book store. Thank you, Word Wenches, for bringing this to my attention.

    Reply
  58. As I was reading the blog I saw the cover of The Dowry Bride and thought to myself “how beautiful”. To then discover that it’s the author’s daughter in her actual wedding finery only made it more so.
    I’ve been fascinated by India ever since my cousin married a man from Bangalore when I was in middle school. As an adult, I’ve been impressed by the explosive growth not only in the Indian economy but in the number of Indian books, movies, and music that now make their way to America and have tried to take advantage of as much as I can. Just last week I read Jhumpa Lahiri’s Unaccustomed Earth and found myself unable to sleep because I was so profoundly affected by the book. I’d know have another author to search for in the book store. Thank you, Word Wenches, for bringing this to my attention.

    Reply
  59. As I was reading the blog I saw the cover of The Dowry Bride and thought to myself “how beautiful”. To then discover that it’s the author’s daughter in her actual wedding finery only made it more so.
    I’ve been fascinated by India ever since my cousin married a man from Bangalore when I was in middle school. As an adult, I’ve been impressed by the explosive growth not only in the Indian economy but in the number of Indian books, movies, and music that now make their way to America and have tried to take advantage of as much as I can. Just last week I read Jhumpa Lahiri’s Unaccustomed Earth and found myself unable to sleep because I was so profoundly affected by the book. I’d know have another author to search for in the book store. Thank you, Word Wenches, for bringing this to my attention.

    Reply
  60. As I was reading the blog I saw the cover of The Dowry Bride and thought to myself “how beautiful”. To then discover that it’s the author’s daughter in her actual wedding finery only made it more so.
    I’ve been fascinated by India ever since my cousin married a man from Bangalore when I was in middle school. As an adult, I’ve been impressed by the explosive growth not only in the Indian economy but in the number of Indian books, movies, and music that now make their way to America and have tried to take advantage of as much as I can. Just last week I read Jhumpa Lahiri’s Unaccustomed Earth and found myself unable to sleep because I was so profoundly affected by the book. I’d know have another author to search for in the book store. Thank you, Word Wenches, for bringing this to my attention.

    Reply
  61. Very interesting interview, Shobhan. You’re tempting me not only to read your books but to pop over to Edison to see what’s in those stores. Beautiful covers!
    Hannah Rowan

    Reply
  62. Very interesting interview, Shobhan. You’re tempting me not only to read your books but to pop over to Edison to see what’s in those stores. Beautiful covers!
    Hannah Rowan

    Reply
  63. Very interesting interview, Shobhan. You’re tempting me not only to read your books but to pop over to Edison to see what’s in those stores. Beautiful covers!
    Hannah Rowan

    Reply
  64. Very interesting interview, Shobhan. You’re tempting me not only to read your books but to pop over to Edison to see what’s in those stores. Beautiful covers!
    Hannah Rowan

    Reply
  65. Very interesting interview, Shobhan. You’re tempting me not only to read your books but to pop over to Edison to see what’s in those stores. Beautiful covers!
    Hannah Rowan

    Reply
  66. I love diversity in books, and I’m very interested in learning more about Indian culture.
    The interview was very interesting, and THE SARI SHOP WINDOW sounds wonderful!

    Reply
  67. I love diversity in books, and I’m very interested in learning more about Indian culture.
    The interview was very interesting, and THE SARI SHOP WINDOW sounds wonderful!

    Reply
  68. I love diversity in books, and I’m very interested in learning more about Indian culture.
    The interview was very interesting, and THE SARI SHOP WINDOW sounds wonderful!

    Reply
  69. I love diversity in books, and I’m very interested in learning more about Indian culture.
    The interview was very interesting, and THE SARI SHOP WINDOW sounds wonderful!

    Reply
  70. I love diversity in books, and I’m very interested in learning more about Indian culture.
    The interview was very interesting, and THE SARI SHOP WINDOW sounds wonderful!

    Reply
  71. Hannah,
    If you have a chance, please do pop over to Edison and take a look around. You may find a good bargain or two in the stores and grab a tasty meal at one of the many restaurants.
    To all of you who have posted such great comments and interest in my books, thank you and God Bless! I see the names of many friends and fellow authors in the comments, women who have been a constant source of support.
    To Mary Jo, good friend, fountain of inspiration, and lady of many words, many thanks for your continued encouragement. Hope we can meet again soon.
    Best Regards to all,
    Shobhan

    Reply
  72. Hannah,
    If you have a chance, please do pop over to Edison and take a look around. You may find a good bargain or two in the stores and grab a tasty meal at one of the many restaurants.
    To all of you who have posted such great comments and interest in my books, thank you and God Bless! I see the names of many friends and fellow authors in the comments, women who have been a constant source of support.
    To Mary Jo, good friend, fountain of inspiration, and lady of many words, many thanks for your continued encouragement. Hope we can meet again soon.
    Best Regards to all,
    Shobhan

    Reply
  73. Hannah,
    If you have a chance, please do pop over to Edison and take a look around. You may find a good bargain or two in the stores and grab a tasty meal at one of the many restaurants.
    To all of you who have posted such great comments and interest in my books, thank you and God Bless! I see the names of many friends and fellow authors in the comments, women who have been a constant source of support.
    To Mary Jo, good friend, fountain of inspiration, and lady of many words, many thanks for your continued encouragement. Hope we can meet again soon.
    Best Regards to all,
    Shobhan

    Reply
  74. Hannah,
    If you have a chance, please do pop over to Edison and take a look around. You may find a good bargain or two in the stores and grab a tasty meal at one of the many restaurants.
    To all of you who have posted such great comments and interest in my books, thank you and God Bless! I see the names of many friends and fellow authors in the comments, women who have been a constant source of support.
    To Mary Jo, good friend, fountain of inspiration, and lady of many words, many thanks for your continued encouragement. Hope we can meet again soon.
    Best Regards to all,
    Shobhan

    Reply
  75. Hannah,
    If you have a chance, please do pop over to Edison and take a look around. You may find a good bargain or two in the stores and grab a tasty meal at one of the many restaurants.
    To all of you who have posted such great comments and interest in my books, thank you and God Bless! I see the names of many friends and fellow authors in the comments, women who have been a constant source of support.
    To Mary Jo, good friend, fountain of inspiration, and lady of many words, many thanks for your continued encouragement. Hope we can meet again soon.
    Best Regards to all,
    Shobhan

    Reply
  76. From MJP:
    Thanks so much for joining us, Shobhan! Threads of Indian culture have woven through so many of my stories that I love having a chance to talk to someone steeped in both Eastern and Western culture.
    Namaste–
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  77. From MJP:
    Thanks so much for joining us, Shobhan! Threads of Indian culture have woven through so many of my stories that I love having a chance to talk to someone steeped in both Eastern and Western culture.
    Namaste–
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  78. From MJP:
    Thanks so much for joining us, Shobhan! Threads of Indian culture have woven through so many of my stories that I love having a chance to talk to someone steeped in both Eastern and Western culture.
    Namaste–
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  79. From MJP:
    Thanks so much for joining us, Shobhan! Threads of Indian culture have woven through so many of my stories that I love having a chance to talk to someone steeped in both Eastern and Western culture.
    Namaste–
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  80. From MJP:
    Thanks so much for joining us, Shobhan! Threads of Indian culture have woven through so many of my stories that I love having a chance to talk to someone steeped in both Eastern and Western culture.
    Namaste–
    Mary Jo

    Reply

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