Perking the Pansies - HDNSo far, the start of spring has been a nipple-hardening affair. Wild March winds are whistling across the East Anglian flatlands and snow flurries swirl around the daffodils. Thank God for central heating and high tog duvets. March has also been remarkable for a flurry of activity for Perking the Pansies, Jack and Liam move to Turkey. The middle of the month saw a spike in sales sending it to the top of the Amazon charts. I know not why. Then, quite by chance, Twitter of all things alerted me to a review of the book in the Turkish Daily News. The out-of-the-blue piece was written by Hugh Pope, an eminent writer and journalist. Hugh lives in Istanbul and has assembled an impressive CV – The Wall Street Journal, The Independent, Reuters, and United Press International as well as three critically acclaimed books under his belt – Dining with Al-Qaeda, Sons of the Conquerors and Turkey Unveiled. These days, Hugh is Project Director (Turkey/Cyprus) for the International Crisis Group. This is serious stuff for a serious writer who knows a thing or two about Turkey and the wider region. He’s a busy man and I’m not sure how a little-known book by an unknown author caught his attention but I’m grateful that it did. Hugh gets the book in a way some others don’t. It might be a gossipy tale written in comic carry-on style and tied up with a pink ribbon, but there is a more thoughtful message in there too. Thank you, Hugh, for seeing it.

You can read Hugh Pope’s review here.

To find our more about his titles click here for and here for

8 thoughts on “Stop Press!

  1. Hugh’s article is great. There’s similarities between the two of you — you both have the same captivating writing style. This article is great exposure. I sense that Perking the book was just hibernating for the winter, and now he is burrowing out of the cold to Spring into “flying off the shelf” again mode.


    1. Thank you. More sales would be nice to keep me out of the poor house! I plan to take at least one of his books on holiday in June. Looking forward to it.


  2. No mystery, and I have only read part of both so far, authenticity is a rare jewel, saying it like it is, with an injection of humour is refreshing and inspiring. Most are afraid of the truth and of its consequences. (I am keen to hear of how your ‘characters’ reacted to seeing themselves exposed in blog and book). Nothing like a good ‘ol look in the Mirror of Life, which they may never have encountered otherwise, to assist in the polishing of oneself. The expat community at large are not the most self-reflective bunch, no time when constantly projecting outwards, preventing any inner change where seriously required. Your book will be an eye opener for expats who have even a small sense of self, the others, well they’ll moan and bitch and project, just as they always have, and will, though some part of them must recognise themselves?? Congrats on your achievements, well deserved. 🙂


    1. At the time, the reaction was mixed and, of course, the response depended on how well they came across. Some of the main characters had moved away so I never got the hear about what they thought. Although the events are true, the names and characterisations were altered/merged to protect the guilty! Interestingly, some people (not connected at all with the book) couldn’t believe I could be beastly about expats because they’re all so nice. As you say, no insight. As I wrote in the blurb for Turkey, Surviving the Expats, “Jack raised a satirical mirror. Sometimes the reflection was funny, sometimes it was sad, and sometimes it was plain ugly.”


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