In her thought-provoking, uplifting new novel, Shobhan Bantwal vividly blends the nuances of contemporary Indian-American culture with an unconventional romance...
A Glimpse of India for American Readers
by Shobhan Bantwal - author of The Reluctant Matchmaker
In the American fiction market brimming with Caucasian, African-American, even Latino characters, there are few that are Indian. Despite the rising popularity of ethnic fiction, particularly from Asia, it is still a mere fraction of the thousands of fiction books churned out by American publishing houses each year. So when I decided to step into the difficult-to-penetrate realm of fiction, especially mainstream fiction, I knew it was going to be a serious challenge.
Do American readers and moviegoers know anything at all about the life of an average middle-class Indian man or woman? Not many know a lot about Indian culture. It is not because they choose not to learn; it is because Indian writers and moviemakers have not been effective in portraying the true face of India to American audiences.
The real India lies somewhere between the glitz and glamour of Bollywood movies and the poverty and despair of serious literary novels and documentaries. That is the India I try to capture in my stories, albeit peppered with some romantic drama and high emotional content.
The road to creating shy yet sociable, timid yet sufficiently bold women clad in saris and lehengas, and making them likeable has been a rocky one. Presenting sensitive, soft-hearted males as real men and not wimps, and authoritative males as essentially good at heart to a non-Asian readership is even harder.
I often struggle with the fine balance between explaining and over-explaining an Indian word, custom, tradition or adage. Indians are not prone to emotional displays, so I often have to get into the character’s mind and explicate the finer emotions. My heroes rarely go on angry rampages and my heroines are not likely to have childish tantrums and hurl things at people, therefore descriptive verbs may not suit their actions.
In the end, what I try to portray is an interesting story with a different slant. When elements of an exotic foreign culture are woven into a story that would otherwise have been bland, it turns into a multicultural fiction book. My brand of fiction is what I call “Bollywood in a Book.”
Full Title of the book - THE RELUCTANT MATCHMAKER
Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corp.
Release date: July 1, 2012
Amazon - HERE
Advance Praise for The Reluctant Matchmaker:
"Bantwal pairs romance with her trademark taste of how Indian expatriates live in New Jersey, complete with family dynamics and tensions between different ethnic groups." -- Publisher's Weekly
"The Reluctant Matchmaker is a very entertaining and easy read. A real page turner!" -- Book Pleasures
"This was a thoroughly enjoyable novel . . . a perfectly absorbing and engaging read." -- Coffee Time Romance
"Bantwal’s latest is a fun romance. Meena’s American modernity clashes with her Indian upbringing in a rebellious manner that will leave readers smiling." -- Romantic Times
Author bio - Shobhan Bantwal is an award-winning author of six multicultural women's fiction books with romantic elements and numerous short stories, branded as "Bollywood in a Book." Her articles have appeared in The Writer magazine, Romantic Times, India Abroad, India Currents, and New Woman. The Reluctant Matchmaker is her latest novel. Shobhan lives with her husband in Arizona. Visit her online at www.shobhanbantwal.com to learn about her books, trailers, contests, photos, recipes, and more.
Visit my website www.shobhanbantwal.com to learn about my books, contests, videos, recipes, photos, author events, book clubs, and contact information.
My Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/ShobhanBantwal.author