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Interview with Author Nermin Bezmen

My guest today is author Nermin Bezmen. Hello! Welcome to Writing in the Modern Age! It’s such a pleasure to have you here.

Can you tell us a little bit about your latest book? When did it come out? Where can we get it?

Kurt Seyt & Shura, my first novel in English print, was also my first novel in my mother-land Turkey  twenty five years ago. For me it is a great excitement to see my pride and joy now ready for the American and other English speaking readers.  Previously it was translated to eleven other languages and was made into a TV series, which is currently on Netflix with the name “Kurt Seyit ve Sura”. It is like a long-time dream come true. 

I say “My pride and joy” because how this story came to be is actually another story in itself. There are so many unbelievable and sometimes even what you may call “mystical” surprises, encounters, coincidences that happened during this great voyage of mine while I was doing my research and writing.  
When years ago I decided to write this saga that now actually consists of five sequels so far, I knew that it was going to find its way to people’s hearts. Because I had told a story which flows in my blood, engraved in my genes with so much love, passion, yearning, joy and also sad bitterness. Memories of my ancestors and of those people who were so dear to them just kept streaming in after a very painstaking research which took me four years. I was so fortunate to have my grandma telling me everything she knew about my grandpa and Shura. By the time I started writing, I was already in a different time zone, living with my heroes, following their footsteps, laughing, crying for them and with them. 

When I took down notes of my grandma’s memoirs, little did I know that as they turned into a novel while being transposed and the names took shape and became characters I would have to square with myself vis a vis my concern about the truth of the events and my responsibility towards them. The more I was able to fathom their depth, the more I liked them. While trying to discover my grandpa Kurt Seyit, in the depths of his soul, I found Shura, his great love and the main personality in his life. She thereafter haunted my dreams. Her unsurpassed beauty, as described by my grandmother, adorned my imagination. My love for my grandfather encompassed his great love Shura as well. It was then that I decided the name of the novel I found myself writing should surely include hers. 

This novel is about Kurt Seyit’s life, adventures, unending grief and love, and it was all entwined with Shura. Who was she? How could I reach her? How could I find more people who knew her? A photo to set my sights right, a memento I could touch to establish contact? She was with me all the time, night and day. In my dreams my grandpa and she would take me on tours of Moscow and show me places I would reconfirm to be true the next day on the map of that era. When I looked at my grandfather’s photo, I could almost tell she was looking at me from behind his chair… as if she wanted to reach out and hold me, as if she wanted to make herself heard. While clicking away at my computer’s keyboard, she would whisper things in my ears, things she wanted me to write. Sometimes she would completely take over and I would reach speeds I had never reached before on subjects I knew so little about. An unseen force was prompting me to look for her. The thoughts of publishing the novel as it was left a lot of unanswered questions and I prayed for the answers while trying all avenues to find more about her. 

I will never forget the joy as I received a response from a fellow writer and researcher, Professor Jak Deleon. He introduced me to the Baroness Valentine von Clodt Jurgensburg, who with her paramour Theodor was living in İstanbul. She was at the age of ninety, still very attractive and charming. The piano she had learned to play as the daughter of a nobleman, had become her source of livelihood.  She turned out to be Shura’s sister Tina. When I first saw Shura’s photo on the wall of her living room, I knew whose it was without anybody telling me. And I cried like a baby. She was even more beautiful than I imagined. It was like finding a long-lost loved relative. When I learned that Shura had died in America some years ago, I cried again. This time for having lost that relative. 

During very emotional seven months, Tina and I became very close and met every Tuesday.  We exchanged all we knew about Shura. Shura’s escape from Russia and first years in Turkey was not known to her. I was enriched as she passed on to me not only Shura’s but also her own memoirs, photos, letters, postcards, the memorabilia of very colorful people spanning over a century. She passed on to me the documents she wanted me to have published. Not only did she provide me with the information I needed to complete Kurt Seyt & Shura, but enough to write the rest of Shura’s story in another novel. She also made me promise I’d write her own life story as well, a novel on The Baroness.

Fate would have it that she passed away quietly a few days after she entrusted me with her past, as if she had been waiting for a certain mission to be accomplished. The first copy of Kurt Seyt & Shura lies at her grave and its characters keep her company. May they all rest in peace!

Now, after twenty five years of its first publication Kurt Seyt & Shura  is still not out of my system. Most of all because it keeps traveling all around the world enchanting millions of people which I call “My Kurt Seyit Family”, secondly every now and then some body from a faraway land comes with a detail from the depths of history that keeps fulfilling my magnificent puzzle. These keep me bonded to this story constantly. Reading the messages from my readers, I see that each one of them becomes attached to this story and its heroes so much that they can not shake it away from their lives even long after they finish reading it. They say Kurt Seyt & Shura has made a great impact in their life and changed the way they were thinking. This gives me thrills and I feel blessed. Now, with the English print reaching the readers already, I started getting messages with the same emotions. And that makes me so happy to see that if you narrate a story with love and passion, there are no close borders. Love is eternal and it talks to every person, in every country, in every religion, in every culture. 

they will hear the latest news on book signing days, tours and special events where I will take part. 

Wow! That's such an amazing story! 

Is there anything else which prompted Kurt Seyt & Shura
? Something that inspired you? 

My grandpa has inspired me since from my very early ages, thanks to my grandma, Murka. That is why I owe her a special gratitude and respect for she has told me everything she listened from my grandpa Kurt Seyt and the life she lived with and after him. And there were times that she would rather not to have lived at all, but still with great courage she did not hesitate to tell me. 

When I was four or five years old, I used to stare at the sepia photograph of my grandpa in his uniform, which stood on the library shelf in our home and imagine that he was the Prince Charming from a faraway land, long forgotten time; Czarist Russia. The stubborn but sad look of his eyes always made me cry, I remember. Partly because I knew what a tragic life he had to endure and what a tragic end he chose for himself. 

While I grew up, Kurt Seyit’s stories added up, parallel to my maturity of understanding and his special place in my mind and heart just kept growing and also nurturing my imagination. I loved him so much that I wanted to bring him back to life. I wanted the whole world to come to know his story.

That's so heartwarming!

Let me ask this...

When did you know you wanted to write? Or has it always been a pastime of yours?

This post first appeared on Marie Lavender's Writing In The Modern Age, please read the originial post: here

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Interview with Author Nermin Bezmen


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