Fabulous read!Thank you, Susan Pritchard. Have a fabulous Christmas.
Yesterday was my date with Stephen Bumfrey on BBC Radio Norfolk. I was a tad nervous. I needn’t have worried. Stephen has a natural charm which immediately put me at my ease and the conversation turned effortlessly. We talked about my memories of a tropical childhood, the curse of the whinging emigrey, my hopeless language skills, the challenges of a Mediterranean winter and, of course, my book, Turkey Street. It was like catching up with an old friend over a sherry or three. What fun I had. Thank you, Stephen for letting me shamelessly plug my book.
If you didn’t listen live, you can catch the podcast here. It’s available for the next 29 days only. My gig starts at 2:37 into the show.
300,000 characters, 65,000 words, 350 pages, near-divorce bust-ups, seconds out sulks down the pub, slammed doors, never-ending re-writes and entire scenes littering the cutting room floor like yesterday’s news. Finally it’s done, dusted and shipped, and only 18 months later than I hoped. Life just got in the way. So it gives me great pleasure to declare that Turkey Street, Jack and Liam move to Bodrum will be published on 18th May in paperback from the usual retailers and digitally from Nook, Kobo and Apple iBooks. And, it’s available to buy on Amazon Kindle right now. No pressure.
Early reviews are in and I’m rather chuffed.
A great rattlingly paced read which also provides a snapshot of a Turkey that is changing in ways none of us, as yet, fully understand.
Barbara Nadel, author
Cutting wit, giggles and sadness – Jack and Liam’s dalliances with the expat world make for compelling reading.
Julia Power, Turkey’s for Life
A book that removes Turkey’s headscarf and tousles the hair a little – with comical and touching consequences. I loved it.
A beautifully presented tale that segues cleverly from hilarious and irreverent to heartbreakingly poignant, told with insight and innovative language.
Kay McMahon, British Expat
Once again, Jack Scott expertly blends wit and humour in an accurate portrayal of daily Turkish life, warts and all!
Natalie Sayin, the Turkish Travel Blog
Six months into their Turkish affair, Jack and Liam, a gay couple from London, took lodgings in the oldest ward of Bodrum Town. If they wanted to shy away from the curtain-twitchers, they couldn’t have chosen a worse position. Their terrace overlooked Turkey Street like the balcony of Buckingham Palace and the middle-aged infidels stuck out like a couple of drunks at a temperance meeting. Against all the odds, the boys from the Smoke were welcomed into the fold by a feisty mix of eccentric locals and a select group of trailblazing expats, irresistible ladies with racy pasts and plucky presents.
Hop aboard Jack’s rainbow gulet as he navigates the choppy waters of a town on the march and a national resurgence not seen since Suleiman the Magnificent was at the gates of Vienna. Grab your deckchair for a whirlwind tour of love and duty, passion and betrayal, broken hearts and broken bones, dirty politics and the dawn of a new Ottoman era.
I’ve always worked, even in the loosest sense of the word. When my dear old dad popped his clogs way too early, my mother lost her husband, her livelihood and her home in one fatal blow. I resolved not be a burden and dropped out of sixth form college to get a job. I was seventeen.
My first brush with gainful employment was at a meat importing company near Smithfield Market in the City of London. It was a tedious gig and some days it sent me to sleep – literally. In those days, I was far too fond of sowing my wild oats. My employers were very forgiving but we both knew it wasn’t a marriage made in bovine heaven.
Next up, flogging light bulbs to the rich and famous in Habitat, a trendy home store on London’s infamous King’s Road (well, it was infamous back in the day). Felicity Kendall was always sweet and Lionel Blair was always vile. My partner in crime was an eccentric old Chelsea girl who had the look of Margaret Lockwood and drove a battered Citroen 2CV. As a pretty boy with a wandering eye, I collected phone numbers on credit card slips and tripped the light fantastic. They were the heady days of a deliciously misspent youth: ‘Days on the tills and nights on the tiles…’ as I wrote in Perking the Pansies (that’s my first book by the way. Not a bad read so they say). Eventually, I abandoned the Lighting Department for the counting house and rose to the rank of Chief Cashier. Cooking the books took all of half a day and I soon tired of flicking the abacus and twiddling my thumbs.
A life in the New World beckoned. I threw caution to the wind and boarded a Freddie Laker flight to the good old U.S of A – a one-way ticket to the land of the free and the promiscuous. I planned to stay and wallow but after a few months spreading the love in Washington DC, I became homesick. Before long I was flying back across the Pond to a land being ravaged by rampant Thatcherism. Imagine if I had I stayed the course. I could be a Yankee citizen with an irritating mid-Atlantic accent and a completely different tale to bore you with.
The Iron Lady would have approved of my next position – credit controller at Citibank, trying to extract cash from the cashless. It was a soulless task. As a bleeding-heart liberal, my face was never going to fit and I jumped ship before I went under. Besides, it was time for me to grow up and get a mortgage. I got a proper job with a pension attached at the council. This wasn’t any old council, mind. Oh no, we’re talking the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, a beneficent parish with the richest real estate on the planet and enough reserves to bail out Greece. More through luck than judgement, I crawled up the career ladder and become quite important with a fat budget and a hundred people to boss about. But then I met Liam and he turned my head with dreams of hazy, lazy days in the sun. I was seduced. We liquidated our assets, upped sticks and lived the dream for a time. It was the best thing I ever did, and we did it for as long as we could.
And now we’re back on home turf. Why? Well, you’ll have to read the sequel to find out. We soon looked for ways to pass the long samey days, anything to avoid the empty calories of daytime TV. Quite by chance, Turkey turned me into a writer and new skills bring new opportunities. What are they? Find out more in a day or so…
There’s a tense stand off in the Scott-Brennan household. The air has cleared of gun smoke leaving a wreckage of words scattered round the cutting room floor. It happened last time for my first book and it’s happening again for the sequel. Just when I thought I’d got the bloody thing done and dusted, Liam slashes it with his big red pen. It’s all to the good in the end but the tortuous journey is littered with out-takes that have cut me to the core.
My post before last was about our good fortune with neighbours in recent years. I deliberately left out Clement, our first neighbour in Turkey because, well, we were rather pleased to see the back of him. Now poor Clement has been left out of the book too. Still, nothing gets wasted. It just gets recycled, like most of my rubbish these days. So Ladies and gents, as it’s American Independence Day, here’s the neighbour’s tale, a painful cut from Turkey Street, Chapter 13, Happy Birthday, Uncle Sam.
I can’t remember the last time I published a review of Perking the Pansies, Jack and Liam move to Turkey on this blog. Generally, I try to keep my book business and random ramblings quite separate (until the sequel, Turkey Street, comes out, that is). But when I was sent an out-of-the blue critique from a total stranger in a distant land, unconnected to me or Turkey, I was rather taken aback and felt compelled to share it. Not as a boast, you understand, but as a humble thank you.
“I would like to buy Jack a drink or five. He and Liam present as the kind of people I would like to know. “Perking the Pansies” conveys personality right from the start. I was instantly interested in knowing and understanding the characters.
Jack doesn’t spare the truth. His descriptions of characters strip away all the pretentions and leave them exposed for who they really are instead of who they pretend to be. That is an uncomfortable feeling and yet I did not get the impression that he was being cruel or hateful. It is uncomfortable because the truth often is.
It is also funny as hell. The use of figurative language is superb. I had to stop and write down quite a few memorable lines just to make sure I don’t forget them. The line “…his distracting buns quivering like two piglets in a sack,” comes to mind. Then his little aside about trying to find “… something funny to say about faulty alarm cocks,” is another good example. I can imagine the frustration of writers block when such a marvelous circumstance presents itself. It was funny and it created a connection to the author.
The book’s greatest strength is the connection to the author. Reading it gives such an intimate look at the life and thoughts of the writer that you come out of it feeling like you know him. He becomes a real person. Obviously the book is written much like a journal, relaying a first person account of everything, but that is not the true source of the realism. It is honesty. The little details like Jack standing in the mirror making a face lift with his fingers are so true to life that you have to believe it. It doesn’t matter if everything written is literally true or not, the effect creates truth.
I found myself rooting for Jack and Liam not to give up. I wanted them to stay in Turkey and make a happy life. Sometimes their naïveté scared me. When Liam says that “We’re infidels and Hell-bound anyway so it hardly matters what we get up to,” I was afraid for them. Religious fundamentalists are not known for rational thinking. So many things could go wrong. When Uzgun was killed it highlighted the potential danger. I was vicariously proud of the courage and fortitude Jack and Liam showed by staying in Turkey. The message is a good one. Things will only change if everyday people are brave enough to live everyday lives.
It was great. I can’t wait to read the sequel.”
Helpfully, Destin also posted a cut-down version of the review on Amazon.com. Good reviews do sell books and every little helps as they say at Tesco’s. This diminutive, myopic, ex-pretty boy with his best years behind him is chuffed to bits and eternally grateful to all you kind reviewers. Thank you.
I try hard not to over-promote my books here on my personal blog. I reckon that most readers have either bought the bloody things or aren’t going to. But today I can’t help myself. Just when I begin to think that Perking the Pansies is reaching the end of its shelf life, I get bowled over by the reviews added to Amazon. In the last week I’ve received two new five star reviews. I quote:
“A big thank you to Jack Scott for making me smile on virtually every page.” More…
“Jack Scott’s prose frolics along exposing with defining brilliance ‘the sorts’ we all meet and want to avoid with every fiber in our bodies whilst abroad.” More…
So it seems the book’s still got legs. I’m chuffed. Thank you.