Book Title: Kilingiri
Author: Janna Gray
Release Date: May 21st 2013
Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction, Romantic Saga, Saga
Publisher: GMTA Publishing, LLC
Presented by: As You Wish Tours
What Inspired Me to Write Kilingiri
The idea for Kilingiri sprang from a load of day-dreams while I was hanging around waiting for our household goods to be packed up in Singapore and unpacked in Thailand. I have no idea why I happened to remember the priests who hosted the retreats at my convent boarding school in Kodaikanal, South India or the time a couple of handsome American Jesuits pitched up to teach us the value of prayer and the virtues of decorous behaviour around boys. My friends and I wandered what gave the priests the right to pontificate when we’d be told that they were immune to the temptations of the flesh, so we chose to ignore their suggestions, some of which included gems like ‘Remember you can get pregnant on a glass of sherry.’
Rumour had it that during one of these retreats, a girl flirted with Father Wotsits until – shock horror – he succumbed to her wiles and kissed her. She dashed around boasting about the conquest to anyone who would listen and the next thing we knew, she’d been sent home in disgrace. He was later spotted doing swallows and pikes off the diving board at the Madras club, surrounded by a gaggle of admiring women.
So Kilingiri started with the thought … what must it be like for priests to be faced with the temptation of sex. I then went on to consider the Catholic Church’s reasons for refusing to allow her clergy to experience what the majority of us want and need in our lives … romance, passion, love, a family, relationships and children. Was the church right to expect this of her disciples as nowhere is it stated in the bible that priests should not marry and have families of their own.
As my associations with nuns and priests happened during my time in India, I chose to begin the story in that country and base sections of it in Kashmir, Singapore, Hong Kong and Thailand where my husband and I spent the best part of twenty-two years. I have visited Ireland and recall the nuns at school and friends at college speaking often and very affectionately about the country, so it seemed right that my heroine Nina elected to return to the family home when she was in need of the comfort of familiar territory. At the time the Catholic Church’s influence in Ireland was strong and birth control and illegitimacy was a massive no-no, but this worked in favour of the plot, adding drama. I am not anti- Catholic … I was born and raised one, met some exceptionally wonderful nuns and priests (Father Keenan is an amalgamation of the best of them) but over the years I found my ‘own way’ as it were … as did Nina.
1968, Srinagar, Kashmir and Nina is devastated by the death of her new-born baby girl.Sister Angela and Father Michael at the mission hospital step in to nurse Nina back to healthbut when the friendship between Nina and Father Michael turns to love, Michael makes a decision which will resonate through the years.
It is 1981 and in Kinsale, Ireland, Nina, devoted to her son Joshua, lives a loveless existence, but a chance encounter changes everything. Michael is back in her life, he leaves the priesthood and happiness is within their grasp.
But when past and present collide, their whole world is turned upside down.
Only by facing the consequences of what has gone before, can Nina and Michael embrace the future.
Janna Gray guides us masterfully through this poignant story of love, loss, betrayal and hope.
Janna Gray grew up in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and was educated at boarding schools in Kodaikanal, South India and Derbyshire, England. She trained to be a teacher in Londonwhere she met and married her husband Simon. His job took them to Singapore, Hong Kongand Thailand where she raised two sons, worked at British and International schools andwrote articles for newspapers and magazines.
Currently living in the UAE, Janna was the Senior Mistress (a title which caused much merriment among her colleagues!) and Head of Pastoral Care at Repton School beforetrading her marking pens and report cards for the world of writing novels. She enjoystravelling and sailing and had a love-hate relationship with exercise until she discoveredthe joy of Zumba where the trainers turn a blind eye to her inability to remember dance
sequences. She sings in the shower and with choirs, has an allergy to golf and recentlydiscovered the allure of oils and acrylics – a delightfully messy way to express her inner artist.