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Taken from www.shobhanbantwal.com
I was born and raised in a large, conservative Hindu family in a small town called Belgaum in Southwestern India. I was the black sheep of the family, the only tomboy and hellion in a family of five girls. My four sisters were angels—good little Brahmin girls with the perfect mix of academic achievement, modesty and deportment. Needless to say, I single-handedly gave my parents every gray hair they possessed, but they were wonderful parents and to a large degree I owe everything I am today to them. The most valuable things they gave me were an outstanding education and the love of reading.
An arranged marriage to a man who happened to live in the U.S. brought me to New Jersey several years ago. After giving birth to a daughter and acquiring a second master’s degree in Public Administration from Rider University, I started working for a government agency, where I continue to work.
I’m a late bloomer as far as writing is concerned. Never did I imagine I would even want to be a writer until I turned half a century old. They say a mid-life crisis can go either way—downwards or upwards. Fortunately for me, along with the annoying hot flashes and a few other woes, the creative half of my brain shot into overdrive—definitely an uplifting experience. Overnight I decided I wanted to do two things: be on stage and become a writer.
I wrote, directed and acted in a humorous play at an Indian-American Konkani convention in Chicago in July 2000 in addition to recounting a few comical stories to the audience. When several members of the audience inquired if I was a professional writer, my life took an unexpected turn. I decided to become a freelance writer and started contributing to a variety of Indian and Indian-American publications. My articles were well received. Therefore I tried my hand at short fiction. That, too, was a success, with a first-place award and a few honorable mentions coming my way, thereby encouraging me to write full-length novels and embark on the grueling quest for a literary agent. With hard work and perseverance I achieved both.
Thanks to Stephanie Lehmann and Elaine Koster, my enthusiastic, ever-patient and super-supportive literary agents, my first book was sold to Kensington Books in April 2006 in a two-book deal.
My anecdotes on stage continue to be requested at some of the Indian conventions. My husband and daughter tend to roll their eyes and laugh about the nonconformist woman in their lives but they are solidly behind my writing; they are my constant champions and cheerleaders.
I love to cook spicy Indian food and entertain in my humble home, but writing about womens issues like arranged marriage and Indian/Hindu culture is my passion.