Monday 12 May 2008

an Interview - Mehmet Murat Somer

Mehmet Murat Somer, born in Ankara in 1959, feeling 27, loves to spend time in Rio de Janeiro. My book The Prophet Murders is published in the UK on the 6th May. It is the first of the “Hop-Çiki-Yaya” series of thrillers. They have been best-sellers in Turkey. Six volumes published until now.

‘M M Somer’s novels are hysterically funny and get better each time’

Time Out, Istanbul

My other published novels are “Holding” and “Catwalk” from the “Champagne Trilogy”.

Q1. What are you writing at the minute?

I’m writing the next in the “Hop-Çiki-Yaya” series.

Q2. Can you give us an idea of Mehmet Murat Somer’s typical up-to-the-armpits-in-ideas-and-time writing day?

I sleep less than most people. Ever since I was a child five hours is more than enough for me. My Mother always complained. I was probably a dreadful baby with this habit. Sleeping less means more time to spend doing other things. I start my day very early with black coffee and few cigarettes, checking mail, surfing the net... If the weather is good I go for a walk. Then.... either write, watch films or play cards with friends. A nice dinner with friends is always appreciated. Don’t like night life, but adore opera and classical music concerts. And occasionally some cruising adds some spice. To tell you the truth I don’t write my novels everyday. I wait till they are completely planned in my mind, scheduled, sequenced, chaptered, etc... Then I start typing, which does not take very long.

Q3. What do you do when you’re not writing?

Well I have retired from my executive training consultancy business. I used to do group training on management issues and personal development for years. I prepared hundreds of pages of course and seminar notes. Occasionally someone pops up who I can’t say no to, and I do the consultancy or seminar for a day or two.

I love travelling! There many different paradises on our old earth... Mine is Rio de Janeiro. I believe the perception of our paradise changes with time, age, needs, expectations. I want to explore more, taste different pleasures, enjoy different places and people. My “to visit” list is huge!

Q4. Any advice for a greenhorn trying to break into the crime fiction scene?

Try to put joy in it! I personally seek joy in whatever I read or watch. I believe it is the essence of our lives. And naturally try and solve everything with perceptive logic so the plot hangs together well.

Q5. Which crime writer(s) have impressed you this year?

Shame on me, I haven’t read much crime this year! But still have 8 months ahead. I liked Jason Goodwin, although I think his writing of Turkish / Ottoman life is very orientalist. I also finished an Ingrid Noll, one of my favourites, recently translated into Turkish. I adored it all over again! She is kind of a crime-Balzac. Same characters appearing in the different books. Painting a complete panoramic picture of certain time and life.

Q6. What are you reading right now?

Ms.Ayşe Kulin’s “Veda (Farewell)” is on my bedside table, waiting to be finished. I adore her novels. As Nobel prize winner Orhan Pamuk aims more the intellect and thoughts on the cool side, Ayşe Kulin fires directly at my heart with deep down feelings in her page-turners.

Q7. Plans for the future?

Rio de Janeiro sometime soon, one trip to Sardinia, then Helsinki for white nights, Dalmatia for sea, sex and sun, Warsaw for book launch....

Writing? I will finish the third and the last book of “Champagne Trilogy”, the “Backstage”. Also on my desk is a new “Hop-Ciki-Yaya” thriller. Possibly for this autumn.

Q8. With regards to your writing career to date, would you do anything differently?

I would have posed naked before I gained weight! No, only joking... I am very content with my career...

Q9. Anything you want to say that I haven’t asked you about?

An enormous part of my international publishing is the efforts of my agent, also my best friend, Mr.Barbaros Altuğ. I have to thank him at every occasion!

And my motto in life is: “Stay joyful... and read my books!”

Thank you, Mehmet Murat Somer!

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