HOW DID SHOBHAN BANTWAL CONCEIVE DOWRY BRIDGE?
Women’s issues in contemporary India have always fascinated me, even as a teenager growing up in small-town Belgaum (Karnataka), in the 1960s. I was a tomboy, the renegade child in a conservative Brahmin family of five girls.
Decades later, as an Indian-American woman with a master’s degree in sociology, and trying to write her first novel, I naturally gravitated towards a hot-button social issue: India’s “dowry system.” I wanted to bring awareness to this notorious practice that still thrives in India, despite the laws banning it.
Incorporating this dark, disturbing topic into an intriguing enough story to capture readers’ attention was a unique and exciting challenge. I decided to make The Dowry Bride a social drama with vivid characters and engaging romance. Since there were no American writers who wrote such Bollywood-style novels at the time, and dowry was an enormously captivating subject, I succeeded in getting a top-rated agent, reputable American and Indian publishers, and a delightfully wide audience. Hence five more books followed in quick succession. The Dowry Bride tells the story of Megha, a young bride about to be burned to death by her husband’s family, but manages to escape in time to save herself. The only person who can protect her is Kunal, her brother-in-law, and a most unlikely ally. However, while she hides in his home, the forbidden attraction between them grows and complicates an already convoluted and dangerous situation. Torn between her love for Kunal and the dictates of society, which will Megha choose?
Shobhan Bantwal is an Indian-American author of six novels and co- author of two anthologies. Her articles have appeared in The Writer, Romantic Times, India Abroad, Little India, New Woman, Storizen, The Indian Trumpet, and India Currents. Her short stories have won honours / awards in contests sponsored by Writer’s Digest, New York Stories, and New Woman (India) magazines. Two of her novels have won The Golden Leaf and National Indie Excellence Awards.