Interview: Ayshe Talay-Ongan

Welcome Ayshe Talay-Ongan to the blog today. Wondering about her name? She says, “I am Ayşegül, literally like Rosemary, but that name read in English without its dots and cedillas (Aysegul) sounds like ‘icicle’! So I am Ayshe in professional life, Aysh to my friends, and Shay to my neighbours and anybody who asks my name when I shop or play.”

I love the uniqueness of her name. She’s also “Turkish by birth, American by citizenship and Australian by residence.”

Enjoy this interview.

Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from and how long have you been writing?

I am Turkish by birth and American by citizenship, although I’ve lived in Sydney, Australia for the past 23 years. As an academic, writing just never stopped – with numerous journal articles and three textbooks. But retirement came bearing gifts, chief among them, fiction writing.

Tell us about your latest book. What do you hope readers take away from it?

I present several topics of conversation / discussion to my blog followers that are basically themes in my novel Turquoise: A love story.  These include falling in love at first sight, relationships across the ethnic divide, a new life in a new land, forbidden and secret love, ethnic hatred and loss, women and professional identity, women and their friendships, mother-daughter relationships, marrying for the wrong reason, and quest for motherhood.

Care to share a link to a favorite blog post?

Any type of writing ritual you have?

Start early finish at happy hour.

Share some of your writing goals. What’s next for you?

The sequel to Turquoise is in the making. It is called Emerald (The Sydney Years)

What is one thing that frustrates you about being a writer?

Self promotion!!!!! My novel should sell on its own merit, not because I am a loudmouth. Naïve, I know, at this day and age of online social media and such.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Playing the piano, reading, movies and theatre, travel,  hanging out with girlfriends; family time, cooking for friends, also one day a week of volunteer work (teaching high school English to migrant children),

What’s the most interesting book you’ve ever read?

Hard to pick one, unless it was a remarkable biography of an extraordinary person. In fiction, books like Eugenides’s Middlesex, de Bernireres’ Birds Without Wings take me deep into history and culture, war and peace, individual and collective adjustments we make to the human condition. Franzen’s Corrections, or Simons’ Tully present the scape of our inner lives and families as unfathomably rich and complex grounds for exploration.

Book you’re currently reading?

Ann Funder’s All That I Am.  Next in line: Elliot Perlman’s The Street Sweeper.

Where can we learn more about you?

My web site is a pretty good place to start to get a sense of me:

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