Thursday, May 10, 2012

Carlene Havel on Places of Impact - Turkey

When the US Air Force sent me to live in Turkey, I began a life-long love affair with the land of the sultans, especially the rural area between Yalova and Karamursel.  I loved the farmers' market, where there were fruits and vegetables in season, women in traditional dress, and gypsies selling hand-woven baskets. In the spring, lambs cavorted on the hillsides.  The sound of a shepherd's pipe would often float on the evening breeze.  Families in pantaloons planted and tended crops during the growing season.  In winter, women stayed inside while the men gathered in tea houses to smoke, drink tea, and socialize.   

Ancient ruins dotted the landscape to the south, toward the Mediterranean coastline.  One standout trip was to the ruins at Ephesus.  There were no tourists there on that bitterly cold day, just my three travelling companions and a local guide. Another treasured memory: haggling for hours to buy a hand-knotted Turkish carpet.  Naturally, this included many cups of tea.  

It was a short ferry ride (an adventure in itself!) to exotic Istanbul, with its pungent spice bazaar and slender minarets.  The Grand Bazaar offered a variety of colorful wares, with vendors addressing shoppers in a cacophony of languages. I never tired of strolling through the old graveyards, the Topkapi museum, or the Dolmabachi Palace. 

The smell of kebabs cooking can transport me back to Turkey in an instant!  

For more information on Carlene’s upcoming novel, A Hero’s Homecoming, visit and click on "coming soon."


  1. What a lovely picture you paint of a beautiful and exotic place. I can see why you fell in love with Turkey. Good luck on your upcoming book.

  2. Thank you for a beautiful reminder of one of my favorite places! I just got to stay for two weeks, but hearing your beautiful descriptions took me back and made me smile. Have you written any stories about your life there?

  3. I haven't set anything specifically in Turkey - yet. But living in that part of the world helped me visualize lots of scenes for "The King's Daughter", which takes place in ancient Israel. Coming out in late summer or early fall. Watch for it on Inspired Romance Novels.

  4. Turkey sounds so exotic to me. And it's an important part of the world, politically. Hope you'll tackle this locale soon. Bonnie McCune, author, "A Saint Comes Stumbling In"