September 12, 2011

Spotlight - Shobhan Bantwal author of The Full Moon Bride

Join Shobhan Bantwal, author of The Full Moon Bride as she virtually tours the blogosphere in September 2011 on her fifth tour with Pump Up Your Book!

 Shobhan Bantwal calls her writing Bollywood in a Book, romantic, colorful, action-packed tales, rich with elements of her own Indian culture, stories that entertain and educate.

Shobhan writes for a variety of publications including The Writer magazine, India Abroad, Little India, U.S. 1, Desi Journal, India Currents, Overseas Indian, and New Woman India. Her short stories have won honors/awards in contests sponsored by Writer’s Digest, New York Stories and New Woman magazines.

Besides authoring five novels, Shobhan Bantwal is a freelance writer and award-winning fiction writer.  She regularly donates a portion of her book earnings to women's charities.

No Bosoms or Biceps

by Shobhan Bantwal - author of The Full Moon Bride

What is it about romance novel covers that makes them enticing on the one hand and the butt end of jokes on the other? I've seen both kinds of reactions and many in between. It is the men who typically make crude jokes about romance novels and avoid the romance aisles in the bookstore. But there are also women who are embarrassed to be seen reading romance novels with provocative images.

Historical fiction covers still tend to stick to the old stereotype: voluptuous women with breasts spilling out of their gorgeous gowns while dashing heroes in tight breeches and embroidered jackets bend over them in all their regal splendor.

Contemporaries however have come a long way since the days of bosomy heroines with flowing tresses looking up adoringly at the heroes holding them in their muscle-bound arms. Nowadays they still show full-breasted women and long-haired men, but with a slight twist. The women are more scantily clad, with slender legs and bare midriffs, and often wielding guns or other weapons, depending on the sub-genre. The men's broad chests and tree-trunk size biceps are bare, too, often tattooed and hairless. Then there are the paranormal covers with vampires, wolves, and wild cats poised to leap. All those covers are beautiful and tell their own story. They seem just right for the tales inside.

So where does that leave the kind of fiction I write: Bollywood in a Book? Mine is multicultural commercial fiction with heroines in modest saris, heroes working at ordinary jobs, and family drama or social issues as the central theme. But there is always plenty of love and romance woven into my novels.

Before the release of my debut book four years ago, I was worried about what kind of covers my publisher would design for my books. How would they sell romance without curvaceous women and handsome men on the covers?

Well, it turns out that I had no cause for concern. Kensington's art department has come up with some really striking covers to suit my unusual brand of romance. No bosom on display, and no man at all—just a woman wearing a sari or tunic top and ethnic jewelry. And yet the covers work well in attracting readers who are looking for something different in romance.

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