Ah! Fall is here, or if you live in the Great White North like I do, it’s winter. So, on that note, I encourage you to pull up a seat, grab a hot drink and join me today in interviewing Faye Rogan, author of Seeing The Truth.
Faye Rogan, originally from Buxton, Derbyshire, in the picturesque Peak District of England, is now an expat living in Dalyan. She has lived in Turkey for the last fifteen years, initially working at Bilkent Laboratory & International School in Ankara until she had to give up her position as the Elementary School Principal due to ill health.
She speaks fluent Turkish and immerses herself in Turkish culture, enjoying an authentic life in a traditional village. She feels lucky to be living the dream in this little piece of paradise.
It was her love for a Turkish man which led her to write her debut novel “Seeing the Truth”. While the novel is a work of fiction, it is based on her own experiences of a challenging relationship where the differing cultures, language barrier and religion were a constant struggle.
A keen reader of all types of fiction, she had never come across a romance novel that explored the stereotypical relationships between British women and Turkish men. Through her own experience and needing a winter project to keep her occupied in a very quiet, out of season Dalyan, “Seeing the Truth” was born.
Welcome, Faye! And thanks for giving me the opportunity to interview you. Could you tell us a little bit about your novel, Seeing The Truth?
My debut novel, ‘Seeing the Truth’ is a love story set in Turkey.
While on holiday in Marmaris, Kaye Knowles, meets Vedat Erdem, a Kurdish cotton farmer from the south east of Turkey. Their holiday romance soon becomes an all-consuming love affair.
Blinded by love, Kaye struggles with the language barrier, cultural differences and family objections as life takes her on an emotional rollercoaster of joy, heartbreak, hope and disappointment.
As she explores the delights of Turkey, her world comes crashing down when she finds out that their relationship is built on a foundation of lies and deceit.
The cover of your novel is beautiful. Could you tell us where we could find a copy of it? I self -published my book on Amazon, using Createspace for the paperback version and Kindle Direct Publishing for the eBook.
Perfect! Why did you opt to self-publish rather than go down the traditional route? I decided to self -publish as the traditional publishing route takes time, with no guarantee of a contract at the end and I was not prepared with wait or waste any more time getting it on the market.
How long did it take for you to write, Seeing The Truth? I didn’t work on it continuously. I spent from Nov-Mar for 3 years writing it. It began as a project to keep me occupied during the very quiet winters here.
What inspired you to write your novel? Relationships between British women & Turkish men are very common and having experienced such a relationship I decided that a story which detailed the challenges and emotional hardships these relationships endure had not been told. Also I knew there would be a large target audience of women who had been in similar situations and it would be of interest to the many tourists who visit Turkey looking for a good holiday read.
Ah, your book sounds lovely. What do you believe makes a great story? When the reader emotionally identifies with one or more of the characters and joins in with their journey. You need to tantalise the reader and make them laugh, cry, worry, feel the pain and make them feel they are in that world.
I couldn’t agree more. Do you find that you have a specific writing style? No – in fact one of the main problems I had with my book was unifying the style. I had written the story from the 2 different perspectives of the 2 main characters, one serious & the other lighter and more humorous. Rewriting one to match the other was a struggle!
I always like to throw in a little fun question in my interviews. So, if you and another fictional character were stranded on a island, who would it be and why? I’m a hopeless romantic so it would have to be Mark Darcy from ‘Bridget Jones’ Diary’ – intelligent, romantic, good-looking, cultured. If I’m going to be stranded with someone let it be someone who is good eye candy!
Oh, I love Bridget Jones. Before we wrap things up, would you mind sharing an excerpt of your novel with us?
Karabulut, South-East Turkey,
The pains had come on suddenly while she swept the yard outside. The recent rain had made puddles on the uneven ground and she swept the water away from the house so that visitors could get to the door without splashing through the dirty water. The baby was due but the pains had taken her by surprise. She gasped and doubled over as the first pain stabbed in her abdomen. She dropped the besom broom and held her stomach, panting to regain her breath. The pain subsided and she straightened up, looking to see whether anyone was watching. One of their workers, busy repairing the tractor at the far end of the yard, was unaware of her predicament. She did not attract his attention and was glad he was distracted by his chore.
Having regained her composure she picked up the broom and continued to sweep the water, hoping that the pains would not begin in earnest. She had been present while her older sister had given birth so knew what to expect. The memories of the still-born baby and then the death of her sister from a massive haemorrhage made her shiver and she prayed to Allah that she and her baby would survive.
The entrance to the house cleared of water, she propped the broom against the wall, slipped off her shoes and went into the house. She went to the kitchen, took a glass from the wooden cupboard on the wall and filled it with water from the large, plastic drum in the corner. She sipped the cold water and sat down on the rickety wooden chair by the sink. Should she send the worker to fetch her mother? Her husband would be home soon, but giving birth was women’s work and he would be no help to her.
As she wondered what to do, there was a sound at the door and she heard her husband kicking off his shoes and entering the narrow hallway between the kitchen and the front door. At the door, he had put slippers on his feet so she was unable to hear his footsteps, but watched the doorway expectantly. He smiled as he saw her and she glowed. He was fifteen years her senior and, at thirty years of age, he carried the weight of grief at losing his wife and first child so tragically. She had been flattered when he had asked her parents for permission to marry her, their younger daughter, after their loss. She had known him all her life and had admired him from afar, never dreaming that one day she would become his wife.
She got up from her chair and went to the stove to heat water to make him some tea. She knew what he expected and was happy to oblige. He took her place on the chair and asked her how she was. She smiled and said that she was fine. She reached into the cupboard for a tea glass and grimaced as another pain caught her by surprise. He noticed her look of discomfort and told her to sit down. She shook her head and carried on making the tea. Another pain, more severe than the last, gripped her body and she staggered back from the sink. Sweat appeared on her brow and she began to tremble.
Looking concerned, he took her arm to lead her to the chair. As she sat down heavily, the chair wobbled and she altered her balance to steady it. He left the kitchen abruptly, went to the door and shouted, ‘Musa, run to Zehra hanim’s house and tell her the baby’s on its way. She’ll know what to do.’
As the pains became more frequent, the girl made her way along the corridor to their bedroom. She lay down on the mattress on the floor, trying to stay calm, despite the panic welling in her. She hoped the labour would not be long and silently prayed to Allah to give her strength.
She was devoutly religious and read the Koran at intervals throughout the day, gaining comfort from the words and vowing to be a good Muslim. She hoped that her mother would bring food for the evening meal as she had not had time to prepare anything. Her husband would not be pleased if a hot meal was not laid before him.
Her mother arrived thirty minutes later, bearing a basket full of food, towels and soap. Her mother had the reputation of being a good cook and her guvec, a lamb stew and vegetables, was much praised by visitors to her home. She immediately took out a clay cooking pot from the basket and laid it on the stove in the kitchen. Her son-in-law could smell the aroma of cooked lamb and smiled in anticipation of a tasty meal. He went to the living room, where a tablecloth was laid on the carpeted floor and sat down on a floor cushion. His mother-in-law brought in the food and they exchanged nervous glances. Both of them were remembering a similar situation just over two years ago and hoping the outcome of this one would be happy and not end in tears like the last.
Over the course of the next few hours, the family and close neighbours gathered to give support in the living room of the single storey, mud-brick house, waiting for news. They sat huddled on cushions on the carpet covering the earth floor, sipping tea in small, tulip-shaped glasses, trying to keep warm against the chilly winter air. A coal fire had been lit but provided little heat. Women brought food: cooked dishes, fruit, cheese, olives, bread and an array of biscuits and desserts. Men came to calm the fears of the anxious father-to-be and kept him amused with funny stories and discussions on local affairs. They knew that if the baby was a boy, he would be promised in marriage to the daughter of the Aga, the village headman, in the neighbouring village, who had been born last year. It was to be an important alliance between two powerful families and would give added status to the both families. Their land adjoined and in future years it would be possible to merge all the land to form one huge empire.
In the larger of the two bedrooms, the young girl gripped her mother’s hand as she tensed for the next contraction. Her face was bathed in sweat, she fought the urge to scream. The light from the oil lamp was dim and the room had become airless and rank. The experienced midwife issued orders, while her mother uttered words of encouragement and comfort.
Eventually, the girl felt the urge to push and guided by her mother, her mother-in-law and a neighbour who was experienced in birthing, mustered all her energy and pushed with all her might. There was a loud squelch and the baby was out.
‘It’s a boy!’ exclaimed her mother in delight.
The baby’s first cry was heard by those gathered in the living room and the father-to-be rushed to the corridor. The bedroom door opened and his mother-in-law poked her head round and shouted,
‘Praise be to Allah, it’s a boy!’
Feeling immense relief and joy, the father ran back to announce the arrival of his son and received congratulations. He knew the future of the family lay in the hands of this newborn child and prayed that they would all be safe from harm.
Thank you so much for sharing! Your novel sounds delightful, and I wish you all the best in your future endeavours.
For anyone wishing to follow Faye Rogan, please click on the social media links below.
And to purchase her book, Seeing The Truth, please click here.