Gul Irepoglu, de A CONCUBINA: ” A riqueza da civilização otomana é minha inspiração”
1- From where came the inspiration to write this book?
First of all, the amazing Ottoman palace in Istanbul, the Topkapi Palace, was my basic inspiration.
Being an art historian, I knew those passionate love letters of a particular sultan of the 18th century to one of his women. Actually it’s very unusual for a sultan to beg one of his women in the harem to come to his bed in the night, on the contrary, it was an honour and furthermore an aim to be “desired” by the master. In this case, according to the 5 letters in the archives of the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, the sultan had begged a woman for love, with the utmost sweet words like poems, and again according these letters, she refused to surrender!
So, I began to think about that “great” woman, that strong personality who had dared this. What kind of a woman could she be? What was she alike? There was no indication at all. So I had to create, to invent a character, very passionate and emotional, and still very strong, proud, smart, intelligent and awesomely beautiful with outstanding quality, and certainly aware of her values, and as her most important characteristic: “in love with love”. Consequently there are love scenes and also some erotical scenes expressing real passion in the story.
It is before all else a novel of love, then comes the historical setting, this kind of love could be experienced also today or many more years before, love actually do not change.
And of course in a fiction one reflects some of the (secret) personal experiences turned into totally different set ups in the storytelling.
2- How long did you had to research for the book?
I’m an art historian and therefore this is already my field and I’ve written many art history books and articles on this era, but still I had to research on particular details of life style and concepts and the language then. I researched while I was writing at the same time to catch the sudden insprirations, it took two and a half year to write.
In this book many life details of the old harem of the Ottomans are given within the story, the decoration of the chambers, the gorgeous clothing, the entertainments, music, traditions, intrigues, and preferably jewelry… Since I’m working on a big book about Ottoman Jewelry (now, just about finishing it,) I’ve put a motif of a famous diamond into the story of the Concubine.
3- This love history really happenned?
The desparate love of the sultan really happened, indicated by real love letters, still in the archives of the palace, but the other parts are based on assumptions and possibilities and imagination of the writer.
4- Cariye is a love history from the 18th century. You first novel was also about the past. Don’t you like to write about the present? About the new Turkey?
The 18th century Ottoman Art is one of my special fields, therefore I’ve choosen to write fiction on this era because there is so much to write about it, it’s a very colorful time and I took advantage of having all the knowledge as a matter of fact while other writers have to research much more. I have also another story, half written already about the 16th century, again about a very unusual woman of that time, I’m waiting for the final inspiration.
Meanwhile in my last novel is a unique and subjective story with a kind of history of Istanbul of the last 50 years in the context of clothing, named “KALEIDOSCOP WITH A BOW FOR ISTANBUL”
This year, towards the New Year I intend to finish another novella about a real and touching love story played some years ago. So I do not assort and limit my writing with the episodes of time, it just comes to me; my novels are the products of filtering everything that I have accumulated in my imagination down the years.
The new Turkey also gives a lot of inspirations, in a city like Istanbul with all those exceptional colors and amazing past and a very fast heartbeat, it’s not hard to be a writer or a poet.
5- How are the women in Turkey now? What do you like about them? What you don’t like about them?
Women in Turkey are all strong personalities, hardworking and energetic, both in the cities and in the country, and also mostly good looking, with charme! I like their affectionate approaches to life. I pity it when women are not aware of their distinguished qualities.