Janna Gray’s Kilingiri making its mark on reading charts

Janna Gray’s Kilingiri making its mark on reading charts
Allan Jacob / 15 February 2014
                    After the positive response to her debut novel Kilingiri, Dubai-based author Janna Gray has her fingers crossed on the upcoming Taprobane and The Scarlet Thread.                                         

Dubai-based author Janna Gray’s debut novel ‘Kilingiri’ is making its mark on the American reading charts, and the British expatriate is honoured by the recognition. It ranked fourth on ‘The Preditors & Editors Readers’ poll of print and electronic books and No. 1 on Goodreads ‘Best Books to Read While Travelling’ list, while it became No. 3 in ‘Best Boomer Lit Books’  for the 1960s generation.

Speaking to Khaleej Times, she says the idea for the book, published last year, about ‘forbidden’ love and the emotional tumult that follows came from her experiences in India. The novelist, a former teacher at Repton School, hopes the buzz generated by her first book will bode well for her writing pursuits. Excerpts from the interview:

From a teacher to a writer. What’s the spark that fired your imagination?

I’ve always loved writing — I had to really — as a child at boarding school I was expected to write home every week and when my husband and I moved abroad in 1982, before the advent of email and Skype, I kept in touch with family and friends via letters. I kept diaries and wrote short stories to entertain my younger sisters, so progressing to writing a book seemed like a pretty good idea. The idea for Kilingirisprang from a load of day dreams while I was hanging around waiting for packers to pack up our house in Singapore and unpack the belongings in Thailand. I have no idea why I remembered prayer retreats at my convent school in Kodaikkanal, South India, and how, one year, a couple of handsome American priests pitched up to teach us the value of prayer and how to be good and one ended up flirting with one of the pretty students. I went on to consider the Catholic Church’s reasons for refusing to allow her clergy to experience the joys and blessings of love and family life.

What has the response been from readers?

Response to Kilingiri has been marvellous. Readers relate to the characters and events. Nina’s (the protagonist) story may be universal but that is precisely what makes it so appealing. The reader can readily identify with her dilemmas and reactions and, as the plot progresses, agree or disagree with her decisions. Readers see the saga right through to the end and, when visiting Nina’s life as she gets older, witness the consequences of her youthful experiences impact on her more mature self. The locations — Kashmir, the Far East, Ireland and France — add more than a touch of glamour and interest, drawing the reader into worlds that perhaps they have not experienced themselves. Lovely comments are left on Facebook, Amazon or Goodreads.

Any interest from major publishers?

Kilingiri is available on Amazon in Kindle and paper back. A major publishing company is reviewing Taprobane my second novel, and a literary agent is looking at my third The Scarlet Thread. My fingers are crossed.

The book is based on your experiences in places you have lived. Any book on Dubai coming up?

There could be! I have a couple of ideas rattling around. It would be exciting to find the right medium through which I could explore the loves and lives of the many different people of Dubai.

How many hours do you spend writing daily? What’s your schedule like?

I’d be fibbing if I said I sit at my laptop at 8.30 every morning and type for hours without a break, but I like to get something down every day and depending on my mood and what’s going on in my ‘other’ life, I could write for an hour or five. I edit as I go along, in as much as I check I haven’t repeated phrases or said the heroine has blue eyes when she started the book with brown. I usually write 5,000 words more than I have to. This gives me room to delete the extraneous gubbins (usually descriptions of which I am hugely fond) without feeling I’ve axed lynchpins. When the novel is complete, I leave it for a couple of weeks before disciplining myself to edit rigorously. Seen with fresh eyes, my beloved words aren’t as precious as first perceived so I delete quite happily before emailing the manuscript to pre-readers. Although criticism of ‘my baby’ is never easy, I appreciate brutal honesty and can rely on two wonderful pre-readers to tell me how it is. Then the manuscript goes to an editor and I play the waiting game…

What does being on top of a readers’ poll mean to you? Is there a sense of satisfaction that you’ve arrived on the literary sphere?

Being in the top five of a poll is hugely gratifying as it indicates the book has been acknowledged and enjoyed by readers. Good reviews and good poll results garner more publicity which in turn gets the book out there.

About critics. What do they have to say? What’s the worst criticism you have received?

I’ve had two potentially soul-destroying criticisms. One I ignored as it was plain nasty… along the lines of ‘This will not do, but don’t throw it on the rubbish heap yet, there are some salvageable sections’. The other was to go back to the manuscript and delete half. Although it was a hefty manuscript, I was hugely taken aback as I loved every word I’d written but I did what the tough-as-old-boots editor suggested and the result is 
Kilingiri as she is today, a much better read. And with the blessed gift of hindsight, the extraneous stuff was just padding. Choosing the best compliment is not easy as I’ve been lucky to have some fabulous reviews, but this one ticks pretty much all the boxes: ‘Janna Gray’s Kilingiri was a phenomenal read that tantalizes you with the scenery but really comes through with the characters and the story. You won’t want to miss this book, but be ready to want to travel to the far corners of the world that Janna describes so eloquently.’  allan@khaleejtimes.com

For more news from Khaleej Times, follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/khaleejtimes, and on Twitter at @khaleejtimes

Posted in Abduction, Best Boomer Lit Number 3 position, Best Seller Amazon Kindle, Best Seller Goodreads, Clergy, Contemporary, Exotic Locations, Friendship, Hong Kong, India, Kashmir, P and E Poll Number 4 position, Post Natal Depression, Redemption, Religion, Romance, Saga, Singapore, Single parents, Thailand, Women's Contemporary Fiction | Leave a comment

My Writing Process

I’ve been asked to participate in My Writing Process blog tour day, when writers answer questions about their writing process. Last week, fellow Indie Romance author, the lovely and very talented Pauline Barclay posted hers. You can check it out at http:// paulinembarclay.blogspot.com  Thank you Pauline for inviting me to join.

What am I working on?

I’ve just finished my third novel ‘The Scarlet Thread’ which awaits the editor’s red pencil, and despite promising myself to chill for the next couple of months and attempt to learn Spanish, an idea popped in to my head and I found myself tapping out the first chapter of ‘Frangipani’ which takes place between 1937 and the late 1990s and follows the life of Iona Beaumont the daughter of one of the scions of a successful trading company in Singapore. As I was born after WW2 I will have to do a considerable amount of research to make the plot authentic, but having lived in Singapore, I am familiar with the country and its people.

Iona is very loveable but feisty and flawed – as we all are. The consequences of her youthful actions will resonate over time and come back to haunt her. And that’s all I can tell you because I have massive writer’s block at the moment – Iona is sulking because I’ve banished her to her grandfather’s gloomy house in a small village in Surrey and refuses to cooperate with me.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

A difficult one. I’m not sure that it does. I write Romance / Women’s Contemporary novels which tell a great story and handles thorny issues like child abduction, illegitimacy, depression and spousal abuse with sensitivity and compassion.

My protagonists’ life journeys may be universal but that is precisely what makes them so appealing. The reader can readily identify with the dilemmas and reactions and, as the plot progresses, agree or disagree with the decisions. Readers see the saga right through to the end and witness how the consequences of their youthful experiences’ impact on their mature characters.

Why do I write what I do?

I love to tell a good story set in eras and locations with which perhaps a reader might not be familiar. I believe a novel’s settings of time, location and circumstances influence the plot. The central characters drive the story but the locations and the era bind them together providing colour and atmosphere – the essential backdrop to the plot along with heightening the story line and adding drama. Without that combination my characters’ experiences would have no context and therefore be meaningless to the reader. Today bearing a child out of wedlock is the norm in pretty much any strata of Western society, but in 1968 it was shameful, particularly for Nina the daughter of a Catholic diplomat in ‘Kilingiri’ and Midge whose father was a High Court judge in the ‘Scarlet Thread’.  The locations and the societies at that time are so important to the story they became like individual characters, and once readers are drawn in by the beauty of the background, the story will, I hope, fall gracefully into place. I have been told that the descriptions of Hong Kong and Singapore, Thailand and India have enabled people to relive memories of their personal experiences of the times and places.

I’m not a prude but I prefer to write love scenes that are tender and passionate without pointing out explicit details as per a sex manual!. A continuous theme in my novels is family, forgiveness and unconditional love.

How does your writing process work?

Inspiration for my novels comes from all sorts of sources … the lyrics of a song, a memory, something I’ve heard on the news or read in books.  None of my novels are autobiographical but of necessity some of the characters’ experiences are familiar as one writes about what one knows unless the story is set on another planet or includes aliens and vampires. I have huge admiration for the imagination of such writers!

Once the germ of the story is embedded, I draw up a list of characters, dates and locations and give my protagonists a backstory, get to know what makes them tick. I find it best to make character profiles with information about personal appearances, likes and dislikes, goals, hopes and fears, friends, family … everything that makes a character believable. It should prevent howling errors re continuity but occasionally I slip up. Thereafter I do masses of research using books, the internet or by asking questions of people whose experiences might be appropriate. I know how the story will end but what happens along the way is not set in stone. My characters drive the plot (unless they are sulking like Iona!) tell me where they want to go, often just as I’m about to fall asleep or when I’m in the shower or preparing supper. I have a good memory (unless I’m searching for missing car keys) so I don’t jot down the inspiration the moment it arrives. That would be awkward when in the shower or driving along Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai.

If I said I sit at my lap-top at 8.30 every morning and type for hours without a break, I’d be fibbing, but I like to get something down every day. I edit as I go along, in as much as I check I haven’t repeated phrases or said the heroine has blue eyes when she started the book with brown. I usually write 5,000 words more than I have to. This gives me room to delete the extraneous gubbins (usually descriptions of which I am hugely fond) without feeling I’ve axed lynch-pins. When the novel is complete I leave it for a couple of weeks before disciplining myself to edit rigorously. Seen with fresh eyes my beloved words aren’t as precious as first perceived so I delete quite happily before emailing the manuscript to pre-readers. Although criticism of my baby is never easy, I appreciate brutal honesty and can rely on three wonderful pre-readers to tell it how it is. Then the manuscript goes to an editor and I play the waiting game …

Next week the following authors will tell you about their writing process. Do check out their blogs.

Seumas Gallacher says he is … ‘an escapee from a long time-served career in the world of finance, the oldest computer Jurassic on the planet, astounded by success in his new-found love… self-publishing crime thrillers, with over 75,000 downloads to date.’  www.seumasgallacher.com

 Malika Ghandi saysI am a mother of two boys, and a wife. I live in the UK, and work from home writing my books, seeing to the school runs, and home life. I have always wanted to write, and be an author, and now I have finally done it! I am also an avid reader, my all-time favourite at the moment being The Hunger Games.’  http://malikagandhi.wordpress.com/

 

Posted in Abduction, Best Boomer Lit Number 3 position, Best Seller Amazon Kindle, Best Seller Goodreads, Book Fair, Clergy, Contemporary, Event release, Exotic Locations, Friendship, Hong Kong, India, Kashmir, P and E Poll Number 4 position, Post Natal Depression, Redemption, Religion, Romance, Saga, Singapore, Single parents, Thailand, Women's Contemporary Fiction | 1 Comment

The Mirror by Candace L. Bowser

Final Mirror banner

The Mirror
Author: Candace L. Bowser
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Length: 294 pages
Release Date: June 2013
ISBN-13: 978-0615832197
Imprint: Libertine Press

Available at Barnes and Noble, and Amazon

TM

Book Description

Adrianna Bristol stood before her grandmother’s antique mirror and stared at the black velvet cloth covering it. She just couldn’t believe her nana was gone. The mirror had hung in that exact same spot for the last twenty years, never once had it been moved from the alcove. Adrianna remembered the stern words of her grandmother when she was a child. Annabel Bristol had told her, “promise me Adrianna that you will never uncover the mirror. No matter what it may whisper to you, you must never remove the cover.”

Adrianna laid her hand against the cool velvet which covered the glass. As she walked away the mirror whispered to her, “you belong to me now. You belong to me.” A four hundred year old curse has plagued the Bristol family since the 1600’s. A curse born out of a love so rich and a betrayal so deep, that time itself has no power to stop it. Only Adrianna has the courage to find the truth behind the curse and set her family free. But will the Mirror release its darkest secrets?

 Candice  L Bowser

Candace Bowser

An avid writer, Candace works nearly every day on one of her manuscripts. Though she predominately composes works of horror, she also writes mystery, suspense, and adventure. During the 1990’s she was a featured columnist for PRS in Kansas City. In 2011, Candace was honored by being voted one of the Top 20 Most Prolific Authors by AKG mag.. Her books are an unusual blend of historical places and events, along with fictional and non-fictional characters, which she seamlessly weaves into the story .Originally from south-central Pennsylvania, she currently resides in Kansas City with her husband Todd.

http://www.candicelbowser.com

www.facebook.com/candace.bowser

Twitter: @LilithofSumeria

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Phantom Dreams by T.K.Harris

phantom dreams banner

Title: Phantom Dreams
Author: T.K. Harris
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Length: 274 pages
Release Date: June 2013
ISBN-13: 978-0615827827
Imprint: Enigma

PD

Book Description:
FBI Special Agent Jack Matthews finds himself on yet another serial killer case, having barely recovered from the last disastrous hunt. Still stiff from a gun shot wound in his leg, under investigation for a botched job, and having lost his fiancée when she walked out on him, Jack is beginning to wonder if it isn’t time to move on to something new. But, for Jack, these cases are personal and he can’t say no.

Marketing specialist Kathy Gilliam leads a fairly boring life. If she’s not working or caring for her ailing father, then she is doing whatever it takes to avoid going anywhere near crowds of people. Her few distractions include her friend Margo Longfellow, occasional hiking trips, and her increasingly alarming dreams of women dying.

As her nightmares cause her to begin to doubt her sanity, the media releases news of the “Coast-to-Coast Killer” and Kathy discovers her dreams may be related. In a moment of panic, Kathy does something that places her on the FBI’s “persons of interest” list. Suddenly, her life is set on a collision course with Jack who must decide if Kathy is the killer or destined to become a victim.

T K Harris

About the Author:
T.K. Harris was born in California and lived a gypsy sort of life traveling the world as a military brat. She has been writing since she was a child and as had several short stories published by various magazines, including one in Woman’s World. She currently lives and works in Colorado as a Senior Solutions Architect and IT Instructor and has recently had her first novel, Phantom Dreams, published. She is looking forward to her next two books, already outlined and partially written.

Sites:

www.tkharrisonline.com
www.facebook.com/pages/Phantom-Dreams/281589768625691

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The End of the Tour for ‘Kilingiri’

A MASSIVE thank you to the lovely Julia Hendrix who coordinated this tour for ‘Kilingiri’ and huge appreciation to the ladies who hosted me on their blogs. ( Check out their web pages at the end of this article) Their support and generosity has been incredible. 🙂 🙂 🙂

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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
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The Ten Things I Wish I Knew About Being an Author

1)   Persuading a literary agent to even consider looking at the synopsis of your manuscript is akin to swimming through concrete, but when it happens, Life is fantastic!

2)    Rejection by literary agents is harsh, but the rejection is a sign to revamp your novel.

3)   Writing a novel is not as easy as it is made out to be. Writing a second novel is definitely not as easy as it is made out to be.

4)   It is wonderful to have your book read by strangers and receive positive, heartwarming, huge-smile-making feedback.

 5)   English and American spellings do not mix well in the same manuscript!

6)   Ensuring that the design one has in mind for one’s book cover comes off can result in the graphic designer and author ending up with several more grey hairs than they started out with.

7)  The writers and bloggers I’ve met are a generous, helpful, lovely bunch of people!

8)   The thrill of being published and seeing your book enter Amazon’s 100 Hot New Releases at Number 20 is up there (almost) with the thrill of holding your babies in your arms for the first time.

9)   Editing and editing and editing and editing and editing and editing and editing and editing and editing and editing and editing and editing and editing and editing and editing and editing is never enough. An error or three always, always, sneaks into an edited-to-death manuscript.

10)  Writing will not make me rich but it makes me supremely happy.

K 150
BLURB
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 health
but 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.
cd456-copyofeditedpreviewfb
 
AUTHOR LINKS
BOOK LINKS
Posted in Abduction, Best Seller Amazon Kindle, Best Seller Goodreads, Book Fair, Clergy, Contemporary, Event release, Exotic Locations, Friendship, GMTA PUBLISHING, Hong Kong, India, Kashmir, Post Natal Depression, Redemption, Religion, Romance, Saga, Singapore, Single parents, Thailand, Women's Contemporary Fiction | Leave a comment

The Penultimate Post for Kilingiri by Jaimie Hope

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Book Title:  Kilingiri
Author:  Janna Gray
Release Date:  May 21st 2013
Genre:  Romance, Women’s Fiction, Romantic Saga, Saga
Presented by:  As You Wish Tours
K 150
BLURB
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 health
but 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.
cd456-copyofeditedpreviewfb
EXCERPT
 Plastered in a face-pack, Nina was curled up on the sofa with a mug of hot chocolate and the latest Barbara Taylor Bradford when the heavy brass knocker thumped against the front door. Ah, that’ll be David. He’s due back in Kinsale this week. Not wanting to greet him looking like a Geisha, she scuttled to the cloakroom, calling out that she would be back shortly and would he help himself to a drink.
‘Hi! Sorry about that, but I was smothered in face goop and didn’t want to give
you a shock’ she said, holding out her arms to receive David’s customary hug.
‘I think you’re the one who’s in for a shock.’
The blood drained from her face like water down a plug-hole. Her body temperature plummeted. As her head swam and her knees buckled, she grappled blindly at the coat rack for support. I shouldn’t have had that slug of Bronagh’s pear wine, it’s got hallucinogenic properties!
The visitor was not David Kelly.
‘I should’ve phoned first. I’m really sorry to have surprised you like this.’
 
AUTHOR LINKS
BOOK LINKS
Posted in Abduction, Best Seller Amazon Kindle, Best Seller Goodreads, Book Fair, Clergy, Contemporary, Event release, Exotic Locations, Friendship, GMTA PUBLISHING, Hong Kong, India, Kashmir, Post Natal Depression, Redemption, Religion, Romance, Saga, Singapore, Single parents, Thailand, Women's Contemporary Fiction | Leave a comment

Tour Stop 12 for Kilingiri by Cheree Crump

Kilingiri
By Janna Gray

Release Date:  May 21st 2013
Genre:  Romance, Women’s Fiction, Romantic Saga, Saga
Presented by:  As You Wish Tours
A Day in the Life of Janna Gray

Despite living in Dubai for over seven years, I still can’t get used to Friday and Saturday weekends. If the imam calling from the neighbourhood mosque doesn’t wake me with a melodious call to prayer, my husband does with a kiss and the announcement that he is going to get the papers. We read ‘The Times’ and scrabble to be the first to complete the crossword.  In the cool season he’ll walk to the local supermarket to buy the paper, but if the outside temperature is over 34 Celsius, he’ll take the car. I usually laze for a while in the air-conditioned bedroom before getting ready for the day. I wear a cotton dress or a top and trousers in the house but always cover up with a pashmina or cardigan when I go out. It’s a respect thing for the local culture.

 camels[1]

Depending on how we feel, we might head out into the desert to drive through a wadi or up into the jebels where the scenery has an almost biblical quality, or spend the day swimming and sunbathing by the pool – I wear Factor 50 on my face and plaster the rest of my body with Factor 30 as the sun is fierce and I don’t fancy ending up looking like a saddle-bag on a camel.

Beach and Dubai city[1]
Walking on the beach is a pleasant past time as there’s always a cool breeze and the view of The Palm and The World islands is eye-catching. If there’s something interesting on at the cinema we head down there in the hope we will not be disturbed by chattering girls or boys intent on phoning their friends with a blow by blow account of the film’s plot. As an ex-teacher, I find a ‘look’ usually does the trick of silencing the culprits.
Jumeirah mosque[1]
Our sons live in England so weekends are good days to catch them on Skype. Occasionally they arrange a conference call but we usually speak to them individually for anything up to an hour as there is always so much a mother wants to know!  If I her name pops up, I’ll have a quick word with my mother who at the age of 85 is computer savvy and works Skype like a pro.

Weekends are also a great time to catch up with friends for either meals at home or brunches at the local hotel which thanks to the unlimited quantities of alcohol included in the meal price can be quite boozy events! If we attend a brunch, our evening is somewhat quiet and spent catching up on DVDs – Downtown, Mad Men and Silk are current favourites – as weekend TV here is pretty rubbish. If DVDs don’t do it for us, we talk, listen to music or read until it is time for bed. In the old days we could burn the midnight oil without a worry but now that we’re vintage (our sons’ description … kinder than ‘antiques’ or ‘wrinklies’) we’re asleep by 9pm!

 cd456-copyofeditedpreviewfb
BLURB
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 health
but 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.
AUTHOR LINKS

BOOK LINKS

Goodreads

Posted in Abduction, Best Seller Amazon Kindle, Best Seller Goodreads, Book Fair, Clergy, Contemporary, Exotic Locations, Friendship, GMTA PUBLISHING, Hong Kong, India, Kashmir, Post Natal Depression, Redemption, Religion, Romance, Saga, Singapore, Single parents, Thailand, Women's Contemporary Fiction | Leave a comment