Welcome to this new series of short interviews. I ask each interviewee five questions: Who, What, Why, Where, Whatever… and each month I’ll publish the most interesting ones. If you’d like to participate, please get in touch!
Jack Scott bravely accepted the challenge of going first. Here’s what he made of the questions.
My name is Jack Scott. In 2009, I flogged off the family silver, jumped the good ship Blighty and waded ashore to Turkey with my husband, Liam. We planned to put our feet up and watch the pansies grow, but so many extraordinary things happened around us in such a short time, I just had to write them down. We’d wake up each morning thinking: What next? What started as a comical email narrative to the folks back home, morphed into a blog I called Perking the Pansies. For some inexplicable reason, the blog raced up the charts, striking a chord with many and even getting a mention in the Turkish national press. Someone suggested there might be a book in it. As it turned out, there was.
Not so long ago, I was a municipal bean counter, writing turgid business reports that ended up gathering dust on the shelves. The success of my first book Perking the Pansies: Jack and Liam move to Turkey changed all that. Before I knew it, I was in demand to comment on all things expat and Turkish. Suddenly, a career as a writer opened up before me. Then, something astonishing happened. My publisher, the force of nature that is Jo Parfitt, offered me a partnership and Springtime Books was born. Springtime specialises in publishing books from writers who have something novel to say about expatriate life. It’s a niche but growing market that’s badly served by other publishers.
Liam and I had planned to stay in Turkey for a good few years, slowly descend into memory loss disguised by a haze of alcohol, then paddle back to Britain for the liver transplant and the Grim Reaper’s call. It was not to be. Family commitments took precedence. Besides, I wanted to do author things and to keep the pennies rolling in. I could do neither in Turkey. In 2012, we set out our stall in Norwich, England’s only UNESCO City of Literature.
Our time in Turkey taught us how to live differently and make do with less. It’s a lesson we’ve learned well. Designer labels and fancy holidays are off the agenda and the wine cellar is more plonk than vintage. Still, we all need to eat and my career as an author and publisher provides enough to keep the wolves from the door. It’s either that or stacking shelves in Tesco.
My second book, a sequel to Perking the Pansies, has just hit the shelves. As the blurb succinctly puts it, Turkey Street: Jack and Liam move to Bodrum is 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”. Early reviews have been remarkable. I’m chuffed.
Buy the books!
Perking the Pansies: Jack and Liam move to Turkey
Paperback, 244 pages
2011, Summertime Publishing
(You can also read our book review)
Turkey Street: Jack and Liam move to Bodrum
Paperback, 344 pages
2015, Springtime Books