My poor sisters still complain about how I used to scare them as a child. For hours I could wait, hidden, silently observing my prey until the right moment was there, and then… strike! Their screams still ring in my ears, even now, after all these years provoking the urge to laugh. My favorite writer at the time was Edgar Allen Poe.
Writing novels has been a dream since I was a teenager. The universe commanded it was first as a journalist that I learned to look, listen, empathize, hate, cry, laugh and, of course, write. After two decades of reporting on conflicts in Turkey and its neighbors, surviving walking through mine fields, being shot at, getting caught in crossfire, being beaten and locked up by the police, and last but not least, giving birth to a wonderful girl, I'm now finally addressing that old yearning.
One doesn’t need Poe’s ghosts and other super-natural helpers to frighten people. That much I’ve learned throughout the years. The truth is good enough. So in my works of fiction, reality is what I stick to.
A word about where I live. Setting out from the old Low Lands along the North Sea, it was love at first sight between me and Istanbul. This city can make me feel giddy. It's mysterious, full of spicy scents, traffic noise and street sellers whose voices ring like bells. Its horizon of domes and minarets hasn't changed for centuries, even though it is now under threat. It's a city of sultans, of fortune seekers, of shags, palaces and fancy bars. The waters of the Bosporus are mesmerizing, the seas of concrete can fill one with despair. Since 1989 I call it home.
After a two decade stint as a correspondent in Turkey and its surrounding region, I now mine the material I've collected for ideas, characters, locations, atmoshpere, plot and twists to use in my novels. Being a journalist has slightly deformed me: even in my novels everything has to be right. Reality is often crazier than fiction.