Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Please Welcome Author Perihan Mağden

Omnimystery News: Author Interview
with Perihan Mağden

We are delighted to welcome novelist Perihan Mağden to Omnimystery News today.

Perihan's most recent book to be translated into English is the novel of psychological suspense Escape (AmazonCrossing, September 2012 trade paperback and ebook formats, translated by Kenneth Dakan), first published in 2007 in Turkey as Biz Kimden Kaçıyorduk Anne?

We recently had a chance to talk to the author about her book.

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Omnimystery News: The synopsis of Escape suggests this may be a very personal story for you. Is it?

Perihan Mağden
Photo provided courtesy of
Perihan Mağden. Photo credit Tomasz Kowalski.

Perihan Mağden: I would say I am more of a psychological writer than a sociological one. Therefore I am quite largely in my books. In most of my characters especially the heroines —or should I call them anti-heroines? — I think I use myself like a well. I dig and dig into my inner depths — from there whatever I discover are in my books. I am most interested in "the heart of darkness" in people — and maybe psychoanalytically I am my own laboratory rat. Therefore finishing a book most often "finishes" me. I feel so tired and overused.

OMN: How did you go about creating this story? Did you have a basic outline from which you then developed the characters and plot?

PM: Yes and no. Yes, I let the story develop as I write. But no, I have the basic outline in my head. As if I have a circle with the beginning reaching the end — but I do not know how I will fill it. The filling comes while I write. Otherwise since I know the outline writing it, the craftsmanship would kill me. With boredom especially. So while I am working on it I always allow the storyline, the characters to surprise me. Writing is torturous enough — if I do not allow the characters or incidents to surprise me while I proceed, it would be plain unbearable.

OMN: You've had one of your books adapted for film. What was that process like?

PM: My novel Two Girls became a movie. Right from the start I did not want to interfere. First of all screenplay writing is unknown territory for me. Secondly I am not a visual person, I believe. But most importantly the director is an artist — I am a different one. Two different artists with two different sorts of art is in play here. So I thought I should give him all the liberty to do as he likes with my book. Otherwise I could have pulled it one way he could have pulled it to another — and what would have happened to the child in between? I have this side who regards my novels as my kids. So in a way I thought allowing my novel to be filmed is like giving your child for adoption — when you think or feel like that it is nerve-wracking. In another way I tried and succeeded in thinking — feeling that my book is just a reason for some other artist to do a film! With this feeling of alienation I was able not to interfere. I loved the film at the end — it was not a disappointment but a blessing. To start with I trusted the director and respected his art. I think that was major. So Kutlug Ataman — the director — did a great job!

OMN: What kinds of books did you read when you were young?

PM: My mother was an intellectual type so I was force-fed Exupery's The Little Prince when I was nine years old — not a nice experience let me tell you that. I read all sorts of children's books. Then I started reading the classics. I read Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment when I was eleven years old. I enjoyed it thoroughly and thought it is a crime book! I devoured precious literature from age 11 until age 23. From then on is a different story — because if you develop a taste you might become peculiar in your likings — I mean it gets harder and harder to like a book as you age.

OMN: You mentioned how much you enjoyed the film made from your book. What other types of movies do you like?

PM: I like Austrian film director Michael Haneke's movies a lot. I think he is the most important director of the decade. Imagine — even the Hollywood version of Funny Games did not fail! On contrary turned out to be a good film — thus is his genius! Seventh Continent which is based on a true-story, is a personal favorite of mine. Since I said "based on a true story" I should also mention that since the last 15 years I am hooked on to American true-crime books. Rarely a good one comes along. It is a vast search. But when you discover an excellent true-crime book nothing compares to it — methinks.

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Born in Istanbul, Perihan Magden has written novels, poetry, and a column in Turkey's national daily newspaper, Radikal. She is the author of many books, several of which have been translated into English. Her novel 2 Girls was made into film by director Kutlug Ataman and premiered at the 2005 London Film Festival. She is an honorary member of British PEN and winner of the Grand Award for Freedom of Speech by the Turkish Publishers Association.

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Escape by Perihan Mağden

Escape
Perihan Mağden

There are questions like that. Questions that must never be asked. Subjects that must never be brought up.

Time passes slowly in the hotel rooms. This is what the daughter thinks. They've been moving since the beginning, in and out of hotels, sometimes staying for months, sometimes for a mere hour, but never with luggage, heavy things weighing them down. The mother and daughter are singular, a "Moon Unit", revolving so far away that no one can touch them. They form attachments to no one, not the pool boy who watches the daughter swim for hours, nor the girl at the front desk who counts the moments she sees the daughter as little good luck charms for her day. They are bound together with a secret language, the beautiful girl loved solely by her mother, who will never ever ever leave her side.

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