Continued from My Inspiration
So I began to weave a tale of murder, hidden treasure, kidnapping and the history of atrocities that would educate the reader. In my private critique classes, my fellow writers were just as surprised by the history as my characters Jenna, Sophie and Zach.
My sister Naomi accompanied me to Istanbul to research the story. We had a week of guided tours that scoured Istanbul and surrounding cities, in high humidity and heat. However, Armenian history was hidden from us by our Turkish guides, who shrugged away any soft, probing questions about the Genocide.
In Athens, while shopping in the Plaka, I ran across an Armenian shop owner, who, when I told him why I’d just been in Istanbul and was now in Greece, went ballistic.
“Why would you bring up the past?” He yelled, while fingering his large colorful worry beads. “You dig up the past?
"How dare you! Leave it buried!” I hightailed it out of his shop, smarting from his words. Was it a mistake?
No. I decided it had to be told. I wanted not only my husband’s family legacy to be told, but every Armenian whose family has this evil history in their past: the Genocide had to be the thread that ran through this book. Yet it had to be written in such a way as to engage the reader.
After all these years of writing and rewrites ad nauseam, I moved ahead to publish. It is with pride I give you my heart. The story of this grievous time in Turkey is not often told today, most especially not in Turkey itself. Though Turkey still refuses to admit its guilt and culpability, hundreds of Armenians survived to tell their stories about how they cheated death and endured this hellish episode. Their stories are the evidence that demands a guilty verdict against Turkey and its horrendous crime.
From the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute.