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Interview with Shobhan Bantwal

When did you first decide to become a writer, and why?
I was 50 years old when I tried my hand at creative writing, mainly because my husband started work on a project out of town, which kept him away from home on weekdays, and I needed a hobby to keep my empty-nester evenings occupied.

What is the best part about being an author? The worst?
The best part about being an author is the positive reader feedback. It is supremely gratifying to hear someone rave about my book. The worst is the struggle to market the book effectively. No matter how much one does, it just does not seem to be enough to increase the momentum.

Do you have a particular place that you enjoy writing at?
I always write in our cramped home office, so I don’t have much of a choice. That is where my computer is.

Who or what is your largest influence when writing?
Other writers are my most significant influence. When I read a good book, it wakes up my slumbering muses, and they nudge me towards my computer to let my creative juices do their job.

I've read you are originally from India, but you now live in the US. How does this mixture of cultures affect your writing?
Straddling two distinctly different cultures is a great advantage for a writer. There is endless amount of fodder to be gleaned from each of them and turn them into an interesting storyline.

Besides writing, what other things do you enjoy doing?
I love cooking my Indian cuisine and entertaining. I also love reading. I make time for reading every day, no matter how tired I am or how busy.

What inspired you to write The Forbidden Daughter?
A deep interest in social issues that affect women in contemporary India was the main reason for my writing my first two books. The shocking knowledge that despite strict laws banning gender-based selective abortion India is still plagued by the practice was my inspiration to write The Forbidden Daughter.

What sort of research did you do when writing The Forbidden Daughter?
There is a vast amount of information on the Internet, so I did not need to go too far to look for material on this subject. Sonogram technology has changed the complexion of the social fabric of India. To a society that embraces male children, it has provided a convenient tool to eliminate unwanted female children even before they are born.

If there was one thing you could change about The Forbidden Daughter, what would it be?
I like it just the way it is. I put my very best effort into writing it. Perhaps down the road, when readers and other writers point out some obvious flaws, I might rethink that.

What do you plan on writing next?
I am working on a couple of projects simultaneously, but I don’t know which one of them will become my third book. I am discussing the ideas with my editor.

1 munch(es) :

Anna said...

Great interview! I'm very much interested in social issues and different cultures (that's my sociology degree talking), so I think I'm going to check this book out! Thanks!

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