The Forbidden Daughter – Author Interview – Shobhan Bantwal

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Paperback Writer would like to introduce our author for today, Shobhan Bantwal, author of the women’s fiction, The Forbidden Daughter (Kensington, Aug. ’08). Paperback Writer caught up with Shobhan during her second virtual book tour for her second book. Her first book tour with Pump Up Your Book Promotion was for the novel The Dowry Bride.

Shobhan Bantwal is the author of THE DOWRY BRIDE and a freelance writer who writes for a number of publications including The Writer, India Abroad, Little India,, India Currents and New Woman India. THE FORBIDDEN DAUGHTER is her second book. One of her short stories will be featured in a charity anthology titled DREAMS & DESIRES 3, the proceeds from which will be donated to a battered women’s shelter by the publisher. You can visit her website at

When a young widow refuses to comply with her in-laws’ dictate to abort her unborn child, will her rebellion turn out to be the greatest mistake of her life, or a blessing in disguise? This is the story of one mother’s valiant fight to protect her daughters in a society that often frowns on female children, and the only man who will help her in her battle when the stakes become impossibly high.
THE FORBIDDEN DAUGHTER is woven around the hot-button social issue of vanishing girl children in contemporary India, where gender-based abortions and female infanticide continue to be practiced in some areas despite laws to ban the practices.

Hi Shobhan! Welcome back to Paperback Writer

Thank you for the warm welcome. It is great to be back, talking about my new book, THE FORBIDDEN DAUGHTER.

Will you share with us how you came up with the idea for this book?

THE FORBIDDEN DAUGHTER emerged naturally as an extension, a follow-up to my first one, THE DOWRY BRIDE. Both subjects are interrelated. In a culture where daughters are often looked upon as burdens, mainly because parents have to spend a lot on their marriages (dowries, jewelry, and grand ceremonial weddings), girls sometimes face difficult lives. Over centuries, cultures like India have frowned on female children and embraced males, because boys are considered assets, future bread-winners, and caretakers of elderly parents and other family members.
THE FORBIDDEN DAUGHTER also seemed to fit right into my passion for socio-cultural and women’s issues.
Did you plan this story first with an outline or did it come to you as wrote it?

I started with a germ of an idea and not an outline, which is my typical writing style. I then crafted the story as I went along and let the characters do what they will. Ordinarily, even if I plot an outline, I never stick to it, so I prefer to meander and write by the seat of my pants.

Did you know the end of the story at the beginning?

To some degree I knew how tale would end, but the heart-stopping action that eventually led to the conclusion was not something I had envisioned. The drama and action in the last third of the book popped up in my mind as the story evolved.

Do you have a process for developing your characters?

I don’t have any process or proven formula. It is usually the plot that swirls in my mind before I visualize the characters. My characters fit my plot, and not the other way around.

It is said that authors write themselves into their characters. Is there any part of you in your characters and what they would be?

Sometimes, certain characters’ dialogues or their attitude is where I see glimpses of myself. Actually, my friends tend to notice the similarities between my characters and me.

What is your most favorite part about this book?

My favorite portion is the scene where the hero locates the kidnapped baby and the resulting emotions that reduce a strong man like him to tears.

When in the process of writing your book did you begin to look for a publisher?

After I had polished up the manuscript to a point I considered ready-to-go, I first did an agent search. After I was able to sign on with a reputable agent, she marketed it to various publishers on my behalf. As you know, traditional publishers rarely accept material unless it comes from a trustworthy agent.

What struggles have you had on the road to being published?

Finding a good agent was very challenging. But I find that marketing the book is the biggest hurdle. The publisher does do some marketing, but the bulk of the PR and sales effort has to come from the author. That becomes both expensive and time-consuming, and often frustrating.

What has been the best part about being published?

For me, the wonderfully positive feedback from readers who loved my book and are looking for more of my books is the most gratifying part of being published.

What do you want readers to remember and carry with them after reading The Forbidden Daughter?

I would like to leave my readers thinking about the characters and what might happen to them after the book is finished. A good book leaves readers wondering about the characters long after they have put the book down, and that is what I would like to see. In fact, many of my readers have asked me after reading my first book, THE DOWRY BRIDE, if I would write a sequel because they could not help wondering what happened to the hero and heroine. Lots of my readers have asked for a sequel. That is a great feeling.

Do you have plans to write another book?

Yes, my publisher has offered me another contract, so I will be writing a third book. At this time I have some ideas but nothing concrete yet.

Would you care to share with us how the virtual book tour experience with Pump Up Your Book Promotion has been for you?

My last year’s tour to promote THE DOWRY BRIDE was a positive experience. I enjoyed it and the bloggers who hosted me were friendly and upbeat and supportive of my writing.

Where can readers find a copy of The Forbidden Daughter?

THE FORBIDDEN DAUGHTER is available at all nationwide and Canadian bookstores and online booksellers.

Do you have a website for readers to go to?

Yes, my website is Besides book information I have award-winning short stories, articles, excerpts, book trailers, recipes, and photos on the site.

Thank you, Shobhan for sharing your book and characters with us today. It has been a pleasure and I hope you have had a successful virtual book tour.

Thank you for inviting me to your blog.

THE FORBIDDEN DAUGHTER VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR ’08 will officially begin on September 2 and ends on September 26. You can visit Shobhan’s tour stops at in September to find out more about her and her book!
As a special promotion for all our authors, Pump Up Your Book Promotion is giving away a FREE virtual book tour to a published author with a recent release or a $50 Amazon gift certificate to those not published who comments on our authors’ blog stops. More prizes will be announced as they become available. The winner will be announced on our main blog at on September 30!

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