Welcome to our second Author Interview! Today, we are speaking with Jane Gundogan, author of Salep and Ginger and Pomegranates and Olives and she’s so friendly!
Let’s Start With Your Process
How did you know you had this book in you?
Ohh, you’ve started out with the big guns, Rachel.
We might as well jump right in. lol
I had always wanted to be an author… or a journalist… or even at one time, a television weather girl. I flipped and I flopped. But I never really found my niche. I co-wrote a fantasy novel with a friend years ago and enjoyed the experience (unpublished), but it wasn’t until I quit my job, and moved to the other side of the world, that I made the time to sit down and write.
I originally began my writing life as a blogger. Janey in Mersin, came into being when I moved to Mersin, Turkiye. Originally it was so I could keep in touch with my friends back in Sydney but as time went on I realised how much I enjoyed the experience. I never held anything back. Good times and bad, it was there. My blog got some momentum (in fact, it has been named one of the best blogs in Turkey in both 2020 and 2021), and many of my followers begged me to write a book… so I did!
Congratulations on that! And, what a great reason to start a blog. If you were writing it to stay in touch with your friends, I bet it is super approachable for all your readers.
Can you describe your writing process?
I don’t have a target and I don’t put any pressure on myself to hit a number of words each day. I usually get up at 5AM and try and write for a few hours. If all the stars are aligned, and a cool breeze blows from the north, I might achieve an impressive 3000 words, but, truth be told, I’m lucky if I get 500 words that I’m happy with.
I usually have an outline of where I want to go, a snippet, or an idea. In the case of one of my upcoming novels, it was a song that my daughter had been playing on repeat for weeks.
I enjoy the process of writing though, the solidarity of it all. It’s just me, my laptop and a cup of tea.
I know we tend to write what we know, but did you need to do research for this book?
Research is pivotal for each of my books.
My first novel, Salep and Ginger, was set in London and Istanbul. I knew the locations I would be writing about well, but traveled to London and walked the mean streets of Notting Hill and Sultanahmet, dotting my “i”’s and crossing my “t”s, before publishing.
I spent days researching arson for my second novel, Pomegranates and Olive. Honestly, my search history would probably find me on an FBI watchlist if they ever really examined it.
I’ve often thought that would be the case for those writing mysteries or any crime novel, too. Lately, my search history would cover the local mythology. The FBI will be so confused.
How do you know your piece is ready to be shared/complete?
How long is a piece of string?
Seriously though, I’m never truly satisfied with what I’ve written. I over-analyse every sentence until I throw my hands up in the air and yell, “f*ck it”! That’s when I hit publish or send to my ARC readers.
What is your greatest challenge in writing?
Confidence. I didn’t really think I could write a novel, and then when I finally did write it, I thought it was absolute bollocks. It took a lot of courage for me to finally publish (on Amazon). Today? I regret nothing!
Congratulations! I’m glad you did publish!
Let’s Talk About Your Readers
Who is your expected audience?
My audience began with my, mostly female, blog followers so I wrote what I knew for those who were craving it… falling in love with Turkish men. Magnificent locations. Sinful, beautiful, men. Enemies to lovers. Second chances. And sex. Lots of sex!
I have a type, that’s for sure.
It’s excellent to know your audience. It can be easier, I think, to write for a particular reader.
Who has been your strongest supporter?
I have a group of friends here in Mersin who have been behind me the whole way. They read so many early drafts of Salep and Ginger, and talked patiently through each draft with me, honestly they all deserve medals.
I think alpha readers and beta readers are amazing!
If you could have any author (alive, dead, or fictional) read your book, who would you like to read it?
I was 12 when I read Shirley Conran’s epic novel, Lace. I had stolen the copy from my mother’s bedside table. I knew I wasn’t allowed to read it, I knew I would get in trouble, but from the shocking first page, until the last, I was hooked (and horrified). If you’ve read it, you’ll know! So I would love to sit down with Shirley Conran and pick her brain. She really is a genius.
We Need More
When can we expect more from you?
My third novel in my series, Galata and Nutmeg, will be released later this year and a stand-alone, The Summer We Fell, hopefully ready for Christmas 2022.
I think nutmeg is one of my favorite spices. I would pick up that title for this reason alone.
I also have a guidebook of Mersin (Turkey) coming out over summer.
Where can we find your books?
Where can we find you?
Where can you find me? Usually sitting on my terrace watching the sunset, with my fat, ginger, cat and a glass (or bottle) of red wine.
There’s not really that much of a difference between a glass and a bottle…
Seriously though, you can find me here: