NOTE FROM SUSAN: What if you had a deep, dark secret … something from your past that would turn your whole world upside-down if it came to light? That’s what happened to Vinita in the new book, The Unexpected Son, by Shobhan Bantwal. Born in India, Vinita is now happily married and the mother of a daughter, living in the United States, when a mysterious letter arrives from India and threatens to tear apart her comfortable life. I’ll let author Shobhan Bantwal describe the ramifications of such a secret in the following exclusive article she wrote for this blog. But before I do that, I just wanted to share how much I loved The Unexpected Son. I couldn’t quit turning the pages and was completely drawn into Vinita’s life. After I finished the book, I downloaded another novel by author Shobhan Bantwal onto my nook. I can’t wait to read it. Now, on to this splendid article from Shobhan Bantwal… Deep Dark Secrets... By Shobhan Bantwal, author of The Unexpected Son
There is something magical about secrets. By their very nature they create intrigue and the desire to know more. For a fiction writer, a secret works as a powerful hook, a way to plant a seed of doubt in the reader’s mind.
The plots of some great movies, novels, plays, and ballets have hinged on secrets. Shakespeare’s Macbeth would never have been so magnificent if it weren’t for Lady Macbeth’s vile secret.
A plot doesn’t have to be a mystery or thriller to revolve around a secret. A romance or mainstream novel can easily adapt itself to a puzzling, covert piece of information or incident. What a delicious way to keep a reader turning those pages, eagerly waiting to uncover the Pandora’s Box that an author has created.
Haven’t we all heard of a murder, a theft, a lie, a deception, a forgery, or a clandestine abortion turning into an event that unleashes an interesting chain of events in fiction? A single episode can lead to an entire book.
My fourth novel, The Unexpected Son, is not a mystery, but the plot hinges on one dark secret guarded by the protagonist for three decades. Vinita Patil is a fulfilled woman with a happy marriage, a comfortable lifestyle in suburban U.S., and a grown daughter. But Vinita’s cozy world is shattered one morning, when she opens a mysterious letter from India. It tells a shocking tale: she has a grown son in India, a child she had been told was stillborn. Now, 30 years later, she learns that not only is he alive, but his life may depend on her.
Suddenly Vinita is forced to choose between revealing her secret past to her husband and ignoring the letter. Confessing could mean losing her beloved husband’s trust. And yet pretending she doesn’t have a son could mean she’ll never get to meet him -- or save him, if it’s within her power.