Shobhan Bantwal Explains Ethnic Fiction

Janet Snell shares a guest post about ethnic fiction by Shobhan Bantwal, author of The Full Moon Bride –


For more information about Shobhan Bantwal and The Full Moon Bride, visit or If you missed any posts from her virtual tour with Promo 101 Promotional Services, find all the links to guest posts, reviews, interviews and more at

An Interview with Shobhan Bantwal About Arranged Marriages and The Full Moon Bride

Yvonne Walus shares her interview with Shobhan Bantwal, author of The Full Moon Bride


For more information about Shobhan Bantwal and The Full Moon Bride, visit or
If you missed any posts from her virtual tour with Promo 101 Promotional
Services, find all the links to guest posts, reviews, interviews and more at

Review for The Full Moon Bride by Shobhan Bantwal

Susan Heim shares her review for The Full Moon Bride by Shobhan Bantwal on her blog

For more information about Shobhan Bantwal and The Full Moon Bride, visit or If you missed any posts from her virtual tour with Promo 101 Promotional Services, find all the links to guest posts, reviews, interviews and more at

Share Details About The Full Moon Bride by Shobhan Bantwal

I’ve been looking forward to the launch of Shobhan Bantwal’s tour for The Full Moon Bride. Today we start the tour by visiting the New Book Review blog of Carolyn Howard-Johnson –

For more information about Shobhan Bantwal and The Full Moon Bride, visit
If you missed any posts from her virtual tour with Promo 101 Promotional Services, find all the links to guest posts, reviews, interviews and more at

"The Tempestini" As a Promotional Tool for Cafe Tempest: Adventures on a Small Greek Island by Barbara Bonfigli

Imagine – using a cocktail as a promotional tool.  Read on for details about the ingredients for this cocktail and how it has worked into the promotion of Cafe Tempest: Adventures on a Small Greek Island by Barbara Bonfigli

Retsina has been given a bad rap, starting about 500 b.c. when some picky Athenians turned up their Grecian noses at the scent and taste of pine resin. Being a readily available natural resource — pine forests were a lot more common in Greece than cork groves — it was used to seal traveling amphorae of white wine. These plugs of pine added a certain flavor to the wine — turpentine comes to mind here. Heroditus records no complaints back then. For a while it was even trendy to add a little pine mash to the freshly pressed grapes. But when the Turks began overrunning parts of Greece a few hundred years later, a legend grew that pine sap was added to the wine stores to spoil them for the invaders. That sealed retsina’s fate in the area of public relations — ’til now.

When I started going to Greece in the 80’s, the Turkish invasion theory had waned, and I was told that a bit of resin in your wine prevents a hangover in the hot, ubiquitous Greek sun; be sure to pack a bottle for your beach picnic. I wasn’t buying that, but I am buying retsina. The fact that I, a Californian born within sipping distance of the vineyards of Napa Valley, really like retsina, indicates that the ancients were on to something. Either that or it’s clear proof of reincarnation. That, however, is a another story…maybe the sequel to “Café Tempest: Adventures on a Small Greek Island.”

Publishing a book requires a thorough review. I discovered that my novel mentions retsina 34 times, not in a loving way. According to my protagonist Sarah, retsina can start your motorbike, remove nail polish, cure you of thought, and cause –what is it?– oh yes, memory loss. Unfair Sarah! I decided to correct this slander. For my first book party, held in a fancy Greek restaurant in New York City, I decided to create a cocktail based on retsina. A friend and I experimented with lots of ingredients (this is pure fun, by the way, as long as you’re not planning to drive anywhere.) We couldn’t get it quite right. Then the bartender at the restaurant added a little Samos, a sweet Greek dessert wine to our concoction. Bingo! The “Café Tempestini” was born.

We served it that first night, to a lot of discerning i.e. highly skeptical — but brave– Greeks and they were amazed. The main ingredient is rather disguised of course, but you can still taste retsina in there. Now I mix a batch at every bookstore event, book party, dinner party. People adore it; and how it opens their ears and imaginations and wallets! Books are flying out the door.

To learn about Barbara Bonfigli and Café Tempest, feel free to visit any of these sites.

Order Café Tempest directly from the publisher – or from Amazoné-Tempest-Adventures-Small-Island/dp/0981645313

To see the complete tour schedule visit

Barbara Bonfigli’s website –

Details with Shobhan Bantwal

Tell us the book title and your author name.

The title is THE DOWRY BRIDE. My name is Shobhan Bantwal.

What inspired the book?

THE DOWRY BRIDE started out as a short story—a class project for the one and only creative writing course I took at the local community college. But when my instructor informed me it had the potential for a good full-length novel, I gave it serious thought. Later, as I did more research into the subject, the shocking truth struck home that thousands of young Indian women are either killed or maimed each year because they don’t bring a dowry or a large enough dowry—even in this day and age.

What makes this book special to you?

It’s very special because I turned 56 just as the book was being released! Unlike many writers, I took up writing rather late in life, at the age of 50. I never dreamt I’d be published, let alone sell a book at 54 to a fairly large publisher like Kensington. Also, I went against tradition with this book, because most Asian writers, especially Indians, tend to write literary books that reach a limited readership due to their more subdued content. I wanted to write a mainstream book which included mystery, emotion, and strong romantic elements so I could reach women who read commercial women’s fiction, including romance.

What makes this a book that other people MUST read and WHY?

THE DOWRY BRIDE is a different kind of book that both entertains and educates at the same time. Readers can not only enjoy a pleasant read but delve into the exotic Indian culture that is so unlike what most Americans know and live in. Today’s India is a modern country with superior technology and a vigorous economy. Indian women have come a long way in pursuing higher education and careers, and yet there are certain facets to the culture that cast a dark shadow over all those accomplishments. The archaic custom of dowry is an example. My book uses the dowry system as a platform to build an intriguing story of betrayal, hope and the resilience of the human spirit.

What people NEED to read this book and WHY?

People need to keep an open mind, mainly because there are some shocking truths exposed in my book. Even the concept of dowry is alien to a lot of Americans and Europeans. And yet, the story is positive and upbeat. It is the tale of a young woman who manages to overcome the roadblocks placed before her by her culture and emerges triumphant.

What sparks your creativity? Any tips to help others spark their own creativity?

I’ve come to realize that my own life is an amazing story to most Americans. I use that and other factors in my background as a storehouse of creative story ideas. I had an arranged marriage 34 years ago. I met my husband two days before we were engaged. Less than two weeks later we were married. For us, falling in love came long after we were married, and 34 years later, we’re still happily married. Imagine the stories one can spin around that factor alone!

As far as tips go, I’d say writers should look around themselves. There are so many interesting things going on with everyone’s neighbors, friends, coworkers, and the world in general, there’s no dearth of potential plots.

What has been the biggest stumbling block in your writing? Can you share some tips to help others get past similar problems?

The greatest stumbling block has been the negativity from fellow Indians. Some of them are disdainful of romantic literature and consider it trashy. A few others feel it is wrong to expose the less desirable facts about one’s culture to the rest of the world. Every time I hear comments like that, it puts a damper on my creative spirit. I try to rise above it, but it’s not easy.

Nonetheless I’m learning to ignore negative remarks and carry on with what I like to write. A thick skin is a requirement in this business.

What do you think motivates people to become authors? What motivated you to get into this unusual industry?

I can’t really say what motivates other people. I suppose it could be anything from unleashing their creative genius to attaining fame and fortune. For myself, it was the challenge of going against the stereotype of writing literary novels and spinning mainstream tales with romance woven into the texture of the tapestry. Then there was also the enticing challenge of breaking into the harder-than-nails traditional fiction market.

Tell me about the most unusual things you have done to promote any books?

I’m giving away a “Dowry Bag” at my signings and through my website as a promotional idea. It contains one signed copy of THE DOWRY BRIDE and some Indian gift items like spices, tea samplers, incense, etc. Although I’ve denigrated the dowry system in my book, my wry sense of humor couldn’t resist using the concept to my advantage when M.J. Rose, writing teacher/mentor and bestselling author of some wonderful books, suggested it to me.

FICTION – If there is a setting, tell us how you decided on that setting and what you did to create a complete and vivid setting for your readers?

I created a fictitious setting: a small town in southwestern India called Palgaum. I believed it would make an interesting and exotic backdrop for my book. However, it is loosely based on the town I grew up in. Whenever I was writing about the streets and the scenery, I had an image of my own town of Belgaum, except for the river. I felt a picturesque river scene would give the story more texture and romance, so I threw in a river, which my town doesn’t have.

FICTION – What inspires you about the hero or heroine in your book? What makes them memorable for the reader? What motivates the hero and/or heroine? You can include information about both if you want.

Both my heroine and my hero inspire me. Megha, my heroine is very young and naïve, but when faced with death, she seeks out the only source of help and eventually overcomes her difficulties to emerge stronger and more practical. My hero is a young man of principles, willing to put his reputation and even his life on the line to protect Megha. Until the end, he doesn’t give up on ensuring Megha’s safety and happiness. Survival is Megha’s motivation while preservation of what’s precious is Kiran’s.

FICTION – Is there a villain or something that causes friction in your story? Tell us about what or who it is and how that contributes to the story. Any details about conflict and friction is good information to know.

The villain is Megha’s mother-in-law, Amma. She is an authoritative Amazon who is out to kill
Megha because Megha’s parents haven’t paid the promised dowry. Amma is the quintessential villain, the menacing shadow that hovers over Megha constantly, even when she’s not in close proximity. Amma is very essential to the book in that the story opens with her plot to kill Megha and she remains relentless till the end.

If there’s anything else you would like to share, this is the time and place.I’d like my readers to know that the book’s cover is of special significance to me. The picture of the bride on the cover is my daughter’s, in all her bridal finery when she got married. Kensington couldn’t have made me happier when they informed me that they wanted to use the picture for my book.

Thank you for visiting with me and in closing, give us your website address and a link to order your book.

Website address:
To order the book: http://tinyurl.c

Interview Presented By
ikki Leigh – Author of Book Promo 101

Brides for Sale

By Shobhan Bantwal

Author of THE DOWRY BRIDE – On sale now

Recently I read an article in Newsweek titled “The Bride Buyers.” At first I was shocked and dismayed to read about some website called that offered young girls for sale as brides. Teenagers of 15 and 16 years of age were being offered by their parents for thousands of dollars. What was more, the site got millions of hits within a week after it appeared on the Web. It just goes to show how many pedophiles are lurking in cyberspace – a frightening prospect!

However, later on the article explained that the whole thing was a hoax, and I exhaled a breath of relief. The website’s creator, John Ordover, a viral-marketing consultant based in Brooklyn, N.Y. set it up as an experiment to see where it would go. It looks like he was rather surprised himself at how many hopeful grooms were willing to pay hefty sums of money to acquire pretty and accomplished pubescent girls, and how many crazy parents were actually insane enough to place an ad to sell their daughters.

This article brought to mind my own debut novel, THE DOWRY BRIDE, a story set in India about a young bride, Megha, who is coerced into marrying a man who is willing to accept the lowest dowry. Even that small dowry is too high for her debt-ridden parents and her in-laws are about to kill her for not producing the promised money. Megha discovers the murder plot in the nick of time and escapes. She embarks on an extraordinary journey to freedom with the help of a young man who puts his own life on the line to protect her from a gruesome death by fire. More information is on my website:

Upon reading the Newsweek article, I sadly realized that the dowry system in India, although the opposite of bride-price (buying a bride instead of buying a groom) is no less perverse than the idea behind Many desperate parents, in the hope of finding their daughters a good husband and a secure home, are willing to go into debt for life to raise enough money to pay an acceptable dowry.

If there was such bizarre websites in India and other parts of the world where dowry is blatantly practiced despite laws banning the custom, the title could easily have read: or The only difference would be the price – the lower the asking dowry the more flurry of interest from potential brides and their families.

Unfortunately this type of site would probably receive millions of hits each and every day. The sadder part is that neither the law enforcement agencies nor social codes of ethics seem to deter the folks determined to grab a dowry.

Read the Newsweek article:

Posted by
Nikki Leigh
Author of the Book Promo 101 Series

%d bloggers like this: