A British Expat In Turkey – Faye Shares What Inspired Her To Write Two Books
Meet Faye Rogan, a British expat in Turkey. Faye has lived in Turkey for the last seventeen years, initially in Ankara and now leading a more relaxed life in Dalyan. She immerses herself in Turkish culture and enjoys an authentic life in a traditional Turkish village. She published two books, ‘Seeing the Truth’ and ‘Seeing It All’.
Both books give an interesting insight into life in Turkey, from a traditional village in southeast Turkey to the bustling, modern capital, Ankara. The books are set in various locations, including resorts on the Turquoise coast of Turkey and the magical landscapes of Cappadocia, taking the reader on a journey around this beautiful country.
Here Faye shares with us more about how she came up with the idea to write her books:
Have you ever had a Shirley Valentine moment?
In 1999, while on holiday in Marmaris, I had mine. I fell madly in love with a Turk from the southeast of Turkey who was staying at the same hotel. Everything moved incredibly quickly, despite the fact that we had no shared language and very little in common, we couldn’t ignore the strength of our feelings for each other.
Our five days together were full of passion, laughter and declarations of love but as the time approached to say goodbye, we cried, clinging to each other, not wanting our magical time to end. I was realistic enough to know that I might never see him again and consciously committed every detail to memory. Holiday romances never last, do they? I knew what we had was special and, while it may have no future, I would treasure the memories. Like Shirley Valentine, I was swept away by the romance of it all and was tempted to stay there forever and not return home, but he lived a thousand miles away near the Syrian border and life there didn’t appeal to me. At that time the PKK was active in that area and it was a no-go area for foreigners.
Against all the odds, our relationship continued when I returned to the UK. Looking back, it seems incredible that we managed to exchange so much information with his limited English and my non-existent Turkish. This was before emailing and mobile phones became the main tools of communication, so we wrote letters to each other which required me to learn Turkish fast so that I could translate his letters and him to recruit various cousins to translate mine.
Despite the challenges of a long distance relationship, cultural differences, family objections and language difficulties, our relationship progressed and I made the decision to move to Turkey two years later.
Over the next ten years, we faced many hurdles: illness, bereavement, financial hardship, accidents and traumas. Yet, the hope that we could build a life together remained alive. Friends and colleagues who were aware of the dramatic nature of our relationship told me that I should write a book chronicling everything that had happened. It would make a great film!
So, when Fate stepped in, forcing me to give up my teaching career and with lots of time on my hands, I began to write ‘Seeing the Truth.’ I had no idea if I could write but the process of remembering what we had been through and getting a clearer perspective on everything was extremely therapeutic. While it is a novel and not wholly autobiographical, it is loosely based on real events and experiences.
I was delighted that my debut novel was so well received and the reviews were amazing. I was inundated with messages to my Facebook author page from women in similar circumstances. It was comforting to learn that I was not alone in a challenging relationship and that I was not the only one to have made mistakes along the way. I also became aware of numerous Facebook pages dedicated to the wives and girlfriends of Turkish/Kurdish men. They make fascinating reading!
For the next eighteen months, I felt under pressure to write a sequel to ‘Seeing the Truth’ as readers wanted more of the story. So, last winter, I knuckled down and continued Kaye and Vedat’s journey, which was published in May. I won’t spoil your enjoyment of the story by divulging any more details but ‘Seeing It All’ has been equally well-received.
If you like heart-wrenching emotion and enthralling page-turners with a dash of humor, you’ll love these books.