Today, I'm very excited to welcome Shobhan Bantwal, author of The Reluctant Matchmaker here to A Bookish Affair as a part of her Virtual Author Book Tour.
1. What was your inspiration behind the book?
Being a very petite woman and happily married to a small-statured man for over three decades, I have always wondered what kind of a relationship a tiny woman would have with a giant of a man.
All my stories have their roots in the concept of "what if?" The Reluctant Matchmaker started with "what if" a diminutive woman fell in love with a big man. To raise the stakes even higher and add some conflict to an already unconventional match, I needed my tall hero to want a suitably statuesque woman to complement his remarkable height. The Reluctant Matchmaker became the story of just such a conflict.
2. You've written several books. Do you have a favorite?
Amongst all my books, my personal favorite is The Unexpected Son. As a woman who was born and raised in India and now settled in the United States for many years, I could totally relate to the protagonist's anguish when she discovers that the son she gave birth to in her teens was not stillborn as her parents had led her to believe. He was born alive and has been living with his adoptive family in India for the past 30 years. Now that she knows she has a son, she has to not only confess her past indiscretions to her arranged-marriage husband of 25 years and her grown daughter, but also make a trip to India to meet that unknown son. And do her best to help him face a life-threatening situation.
3. Was the writing process at all different for "The Reluctant Matchmaker" than your other books?
Although my writing process didn't alter, the story itself was a refreshing change for me. This story is lighter, more humorous, and yet touching at the same time. Unlike some of my earlier books, I have not used a serious women's issue or social evil as the central theme. The Reluctant Matchmaker is simply a sweet and compelling story of a young woman, Meena, who inadvertently and ironically ends up becoming a "matchmaker" to the very man she desires.
4. Do you have a favorite character in "The Reluctant Matchmaker?" Why?
My favorite character is Meena's great aunt, Chandra, affectionately addressed as Akka (big sister). Akka is a feisty octogenarian who goes against all old-fashioned Hindu convention and revels in her renegade behavior. She is full of life and good humor, and she plays a vital role in making Meena learn some valuable lessons about love, tradition, and the sacrifices Meena is willing to make—or not—for the sake of both.
5. If you could bring any three fictional characters with you to a deserted island, who would you bring with you and why?
My three choices for fictional characters to bring with me to a deserted island would be Agatha Christie's Miss Marple, television's Jessica Fletcher (Murder she Wrote), and Sara Paretsky's V.I. Warshawski. I love reading mysteries with bold, brilliant, and inquisitive yet sensitive female sleuths, and in my opinion, these three women are some of the most captivating fictional characters. When thrown together they would surely spark some exciting debates—great company if I ended up marooned on a godforsaken island.
Thank you, Meg, for a great interview, and for your kind support. I enjoyed answering your questions.
I'm very excited to be able to give away a signed copy of The Reluctant Matchmaker!!!
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