Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Guest: Shobhan Bantwal

Shobhan Bantwal

Growing up in a small town in India in the 1950s and 60s, books were the only entertainment for my sisters and me. There was no television in those days and radio catered strictly to adults with serious news, music, and cricket commentaries for sports buffs. As a result, children had no other source of entertainment other than playing with friends and reading.

In our town we had a small library-cum-bookstore called Oliver’s that was a cramped room filled with books. Membership at the library cost a monthly fee for each member. My girlfriends, sisters, and I used to frequent Oliver’s all through our summer vacations. Copies of books were limited and everyone was scrambling around to read popular books while they were put on a waiting list.

My mother, who was married off at the age of 15 in an old-fashioned arranged marriage, was an avid reader and instilled the love of reading in every one of her five daughters. For that and for giving us a wonderful education in the English language I will always be grateful. Without that I could never have become an author.

I was a late bloomer – a 50-year old empty-nester, when I took up creative writing as an interesting hobby to ward off the loneliness of my weekday evenings while my husband worked on an out-of-state engineering project Monday through Friday. As my non-fiction articles and short stories began to gain attention, honours and awards, my ambitions started to grow. Why not write novels and become a published author, I asked myself. And thus began my quest for a literary agent and a publisher.

Finding a reputable agent and later a publisher was not an easy task, as every fiction author knows, but it was a challenge and therefore worth pursuing. After three published books, I have come to realize how much commitment in terms of time, money, effort, and perseverance it takes to become a published fiction author. But despite the tumultuous nature of the journey, it has its rewards. Every letter I receive from a reader who enjoys my books makes it a worthwhile adventure.

THE SARI SHOP WIDOW is available at all U.S. and Canadian bookstores and online booksellers.

To contact me or learn more about my books, author events, book trailer video, recipes, short stories, and sign up for my newsletter, visit my website

Thank you for hosting me on “The Fantasy Pages.”
Shobhan Bantwal


  1. Denyse,
    Thanks so much for hosting me on your blog during my October Virtual Tour. I like the vivid colors of your blog.

    Keep on blogging!

    Shobhan Bantwal

  2. I love the idea that you came to profession later in life. I think, no matter how hard I try, that I may have to put it off yet again :)

  3. Shobhan, I wrote for many years before being published and yes, it happened in my fifties also. I don't think the passion to tell stories ever leaves some of us. Congratulations on your book!

  4. This sounds like a wonderful book, as do all of your works! I found your website absolutely fascinating as well!


  5. stopped in between cooking supper and
    answering the phone. Love your post!
    thanks to you and Denyse!

  6. Hi,
    Your story is wonderful.
    I wrote my first book at 71 and I now have a new life.
    To Briget.... We have to be ready, but please don't put it off too much longer. Just start.
    carol sue
    Author of

  7. Shobhan

    I was also fortunate enough to have a mother who encouraged reading - my father did also, in his own way. And I too spent hours in our local library, although fortunately for me, it was obviously a much larger library than Oliver's was.

    I've been writing most of my life, but most of the time it was for amateur publications, fanzines. I didn't start really trying for pro publication until last year - and I in my mid-fifties. I'm making it in a small way, but at least I AM making it - one childhood dream coming true, at least.

    So, we do seem to have a certain amount in common! I'm glad you're getting your books out there. Keep on writing!


  8. Thanks to all of you who left such wonderfully positive comments. And some of you are sailing in the same boat as me - getting published later in life. Just goes to prove there is life after 50!

    Ladies, keep on writing and blogging!

    Thanks again for hosting me, Denyse.

    Shobhan Bantwal

  9. Carol Sue,

    I have started :) I have one published and another one submitted(just heard this morning that the editor really enjoyed it). It just seems that sometimes the time I need I can't find...

  10. Book sounds FAB!!
    I am SO pleased to see so called 'more mature' women doing so well! Personally, I prefer to think of them as actually being able to relate to what they're saying, and feel and understand what they write, rather than just putting pretty words on a page.

    LJ x


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