For long time, I hesitated about whether to write a sequel to ‘Seeing the Truth’, despite the many requests and pleas for another book to follow on the story of Kaye & Vedat. The main reason for my reluctance was that the relationship which prompted me to begin writing in the first place, is well and truly over. To continue writing about my ex-partner, getting back into his head space, thinking about what his reactions to a particular event would be, hearing his words in my head, triggering memories which I would rather forget, was not something I relished doing. But then, during a guided meditation, the title for the sequel popped into my head. This was followed by several conversations with friends with whom I talked through my reservations and concerns. I thank them for their encouragement (you know who you are!) as I got my head around continuing the story in a way that satisfies the reader’s curiosity about what happened after the end of ‘Seeing the Truth’ and by focusing on the character as Vedat rather then my ex, I began to research how to write a good sequel.
Having read disappointing sequels in the past, I was anxious not to cheat readers by rewriting a large chunk of the previous book in the second but was unsure how to go about doing it. When I read that the sequel should be a stand alone book in its own right, that readers want to know how the characters have changed and how they deal with the consequences of the events of the first book, everything started to become clear. It didn’t take long for the chapter outline of the sequel to take shape. Now all that remains is to write it!
It is widely acknowledged that writing is good for both physical and mental health. Psychologist, James Pennebaker, suggested that writing is beneficial because it enables a person to process his or her thoughts and then disclose them, a variation of the “talking cure” process Freud proposed. Unlike when inner reflections might be censored before sharing them with a therapist, people who write about their thoughts have the option of being as personal and private as they like.
I find writing very therapeutic. Reflecting on past conversations and events helps to clarify my thoughts and analysing my reactions helps me to work through my feelings and even though intense emotions are sometimes evoked it is a cathartic and healing experience. As the famous author of ‘Don Quixote’, de Cervantes said, ‘The pen is the tongue of the mind’. It was only through writing, ‘Seeing the Truth’ that I could see the reality of the relationship I had been in, literally seeing the truth and acknowledging the lies and deceit. Writing gave me perspective and finally publishing the book gave me closure and an enormous sense of release. Plus, it’s cheaper than therapy!
During the writing of ‘Seeing the Truth’ I was conscious that I wanted to dispel some of the myths about Turkish men. Even though Kaye inadvertently has a relationship with a married man, the situation is not black and white and Vedat’s struggle to maintain his family relationships and his relationship with Kaye highlights a common conflict in modern Turkish society. I have been touched by the messages I have received from other foreign women in the same situation who gained great comfort from reading Kaye’s story. It was reassuring for them to know they were not alone and they could identify with Kaye’s plight. I hope to continue to help people benefit from the lessons I learnt in the sequel.
I also wanted to portray Turkey in a positive light. All too often the foreign media presents Turkey as a dangerous, unstable place to visit. I have lived here for sixteen years and have never felt unsafe – in fact I feel safer here than I do in the UK. By using the many different locations in the book, I hoped to give a flavour of the vastness of the country and the variety of landscapes and cultures. From the traditional village in the south east of Turkey, to the tourist resorts on the Aegean coast, from the capital city, Ankara, to the historical and magical landscapes of Cappadokia, I hoped to inspire people to visit Turkey.
The sequel will again have a variety of locations, as we follow Kaye and Vedat on the next stage of their journey. How are they adapting to their new life together? Are there new obstacles for them to overcome? Does their relationship survive? Watch this space….but don’t hold your breath as the first book took years to write! I’m hoping it will be ready to publish next spring. Inşallah!