My novel Sweet Revenge has two purposes: to entertain and to alert people to the culture and many beauties of my chosen country, Turkey. To explain how it all came about, I need to tell a bit about my background.
I was born in Germany but have lived and worked in the UK, Switzerland, South Africa and Spain. Until four years ago, I used to be an international attorney with offices in London and Marbella/Spain. At the beginning of my career, I acted as a criminal defense lawyer and in the course of that occupation I met countless ‘colorful’ characters, enough to inspire a few more novels. Drug dealers, thieves, fraudsters and white collar criminals are no strangers to me, as are prostitutes, strippers, transsexuals and the seedy environment they move in.
After a few years of close encounters with members of the underworld, I moved to the higher echelons of mergers, acquisitions and property dealings and that’s where I remained for nearly 30 years.
One day, I simply had enough. It didn’t hold any fascination for me and, more or less from one day to the other, I sold my firm, my house in Marbella and my business clothes and decided to pursue my life long dream of becoming a writer. I have written short stories all my life, but due to the demands of my profession, I never had the time or concentration to seriously get into my writing.
Being a nomad at heart, a change of country was called for and when I happened upon a lovely fishing village on Turkey’s Aegean coast, I bought a small home. Being also a city person, I decided to buy another one in Miami and ever since I live the summer in Turkey and the winter in South Florida.
Sweet Revenge really started as a lark. Finally, I had the leisure to let my imagination run wild and as I also had run out of books to read, I thought: now is the time to write one of my own. I devour books and often read more than one simultaneously, classics, biographies, history books and best sellers, according to my mood. I wanted to create a novel which would entertain people around the pool or during a long distance flight.
I remembered a friend in London, who was trying to start a catering business from home and came up with weird ideas for ‘themes’. And another one who had a knack for always choosing the wrong boyfriend. The characters of my book are an amalgam of many real life people. The story just developed as I went along and when I gave the first chapters to my neighbor to read, she wanted to read the rest. That was an incentive to spin the yarn even more and to make things as outrageous and exciting as possible.
On a more serious issue: I have traveled extensively in Turkey and my present focus is far more on travel writing and photography than on fiction. It irked me that many people I speak to, know only two keywords about Turkey: Istanbul and Cappadocia. That needed to be rectified because it’s difficult to find another country which encompasses thousands of years of history and culture, from the ancient Greeks and Romans, to the Byzantines, Venetians, Ottomans and modern day Turkey which juggles Muslim faith and traditions with a secular state.
Hasankeyf’s bridge is my favorite shot of Turkey. As I said, I’m also a city person and therefore return to Istanbul again and again. In fact, I’m in the process of writing an unconventional guide book to Istanbul. The title:’ City of the green-eyed beauty’ a Literary Guide to Istanbul. It will portrait off the beaten path locations and secret corners of Istanbul, based on the books of Pierre Loti, Barbara Nadel and Orhan Pamuk.
Next to Turkey, my favorite travel spots are all in the Middle East. I have lived for several months in Beirut, then visited Jordan, Egypt, Dubai and Sharjah. I guess, nobody who has ever seen Petra can forget the’ library’ as it emerges at the end of a canyon. Or the majestic Zeus temple of Baalbeck in the Lebanon.
When I am in Miami, I love to make shorter trips to the Caribbean and Puerto Rico is next on my agenda in the winter. Who knows, the rain forest might inspire another entertaining mystery. Meanwhile I continue to share my travel stories on my blog: www.glamourgrannytravels.com and in travel magazines, online and print.
Thanks very much, Cara, for giving me the opportunity to talk about my first novel Sweet Revenge.