BOOK TOUR INTERVIEW: Turquoise, A Love Story by Ayshe Talay-Ongan
Welcome to my stop on the Turquoise book tour! Keep reading to find out more about the book and see my interview with the author, Ayshe Talay-Ongan.
Set against transcendent love, unrelenting hatred and loyalties to friends and family, Turquoise is the story of an enduring and passionate love affair between Yasmin and Renan, which spans two decades, two marriages and three continents.
Yasmin and her Armenian classmate Ani were oblivious to ethnic differences during their school years in Istanbul. Years later they run into each other, and Ani introduces Renan, her husband, to Yasmin. At that moment under the blazing autumn skies, as Yasmin locks eyes with Renan, she knows that she has come upon her destiny. But political tensions in their land soon force Renan, her secret love, and his family to immigrate to Sydney.
A few years on, Yasmin’s diplomat father is appointed as the Turkish Consul General to Los Angeles where the family faces a devastating tragedy that will impact their lives in ways unfathomable. She is now forced to make a choice between passion that defines her and reason that guides her.
When so much is stacked against Yasmin and Renan, how can love possibly triumph?
1. Tell us a little about yourself.
I am a psychologist and have been a university professor as well as a therapist for many years. My earlier books were work related textbooks. When I retired, I embraced the chance to write the books I always wanted to write!
2. What made you want to become a writer?
I can’t draw, I can’t read maps, I can’t paint; in other words, none of those right brain functions work for me. But writing is a joy and comes to me with ease, bearing gifts. I am grateful to be a wordsmith.
3. Who or what gives you inspiration?
When I started writing fiction, I was inspired by my life experiences but it was so wonderful to be able to take liberties inventing stories, too!
4. Tell us about Turquoise.
It is an authentic love saga, one in which we accompany Yasmin, the protagonist, on her journey of pursuing the love of her life as she struggles with ethical and moral dilemmas that it brings. Her struggles are many; loyalty to friends and family and ethnic conflict, prime among them. Meanwhile, she builds her professional practices, builds her wealth, gets into a listless marriage and becomes a mother despite all odds. Love is at the core of TURQUOISE — love of man, love of land, love of friends and family and love of job.
5. What’s the hardest part of being a writer?
Hardest part for me these days is not finding enough time to write!
6. What do you need around you to write (special drink, lucky items, etc)?
I love it when my cat Simba sits on his red cat blanket and purrs on my desk, but I can write as long as I don’t have back spasms.
7. What are some of your favorite books?
I’ll just tell you a few of the recent gems I’ve read: Jeff Eugenides’ Middlesex was wonderful, as was Susan Johnson’s My Hundred Lovers. Franzen’s Corrections always tops my list, and Louis de Bernier’s Birds Without Wings.
8. Are your characters based on anyone you know?
Yes, yes, yes…I must confess. In Turquoise, the characters are drawn from real life as I know it, Yasmin and all…
9. What, if anything, are you working on right now?
The sequel to TURQUOISE, which is entitled EMERALD: The Sydney Years
10. Why do you love writing?
Because I have stories to tell. Also because it comes to me relatively effortlessly, and I have wonderful mentors I collaborate with. Writing for me is a celebration of life and expressing gratitude for the abundance that has been my lot in life.
About the Author
Having lived in Istanbul, New York City, San Francisco, Paris, Florence and Sydney, Ayshe Talay-Ongan is a true citizen of the world. Turkish by birth, American by citizenship and Australian by residence, Talay-Ongan has called Sydney home since 1989.
A psychologist (M.S., Ph.D., Columbia University), and emeritus academic, Talay-Ongan has three published textbooks in developmental psychology and dozens of research articles in academic journals.
Turquoise – A Love Story is her debut novel. The book captures the saga a love that spans two decades, three continents and two marriages, and is inspired by Talay-Ongan’s own life experiences. Its sequel, Emerald, is currently underway.
Talay-Ongan lives in Sydney, Australia with her family and Burmese cat Simba, who likes sleeping on her head.