Thursday, November 10, 2011

Expat Author Interview with Inka Piegsa-Quischotte

Inka Piegsa-Quischotte alias The Glamour Granny
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Inka Piegsa-Quischotte is what you might call a ‘dual’ expat. At present, she lives in Turkey and Miami, Florida. She was born in Germany but went to university in Switzerland, the UK and Spain. She’s been travelling her entire life – first with her parents, then on her own. She worked a few years in Germany as an attorney, but when her inner nomad stirred again she went to live and work in the South of Spain and in London, simultaneously, and travelled extensively during that time on business. Inka speaks five languages.

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"There came a time when I realised I'd been to the most exotic places in the world but had seen . . . absolutely nothing. Practically over night, I decided to give it all up and travel the world to see."

IMBO: Inka, welcome! I always enjoy reading your travel articles. How did you wind up in Turkey and Miami? I also live in two places, so I know the ups and downs of it.

Piegsa-Quischotte: I need the thrill of juxtapositions, but another more mundane reason is that I hate the cold, so now I have the luxury of being able to live in warmth and sunshine all year long. A new lifestyle required a new place to live too, that’s why I bought a place on the Aegean Sea in Turkey and another one in Miami. Two very different countries and cultures with the added advantage that Turkey is my gateway to the East and Miami to the South and West.
IMBO: How did you get started writing?

Piegsa-Quischotte: I have always written short stories and the odd, very bad poem, but the more I travelled – finally with enough leisure to discover the wonders of this world – the more I wanted to share my experiences with others, which, in turn, led to travel writing. I haven’t abandoned fiction. I have written two novels, one of which won Readers’s Favorite Award 2009 in its category.

My writing tries to combine information with fun, humour, extraordinary stories and spellbinding places. Being in my 60s, I also want to encourage other women of my age, to get off their behinds and see the world. Being an armchair traveller is NO fun!! It also makes you fat.

IMBO: That’s quite a wide range. What don’t you write about?

Piegsa-Quischotte: I know, it’s all the rage and the most successful travel writers write about it, but I do not like food! That may make me unpopular, but I don’t care. I can’t cook and have no intention of learning and if I could swallow a few pills instead of eating a meal, I would be the first to do so. I have better things to do with my time than to chop carrots and on top of it, I hate putting on weight. As far as I’m concerned, eating is a necessity to stay alive and that’s as far as my interest goes.

IMBO: How has being an expat affected what, and the way, you write?

Piegsa-Quischotte: I think it hasn’t affected my way of writing at all. I have never had or felt the need for ‘roots’. I’m always happy at the favourite place of the moment and when it ceases to attract me, I just move on. Of course, living the way I do, I have been able to experience in depth very different cultures and feel confident to write about them.

IMBO: Tell us about what inspires you—not only as a writer.

Piegsa-Quischotte: Creativity, originality, curiosity. I can listen endlessly to other people’s stories.

IMBO: Care to share some of your work with us?

Piegsa-Quischotte: I am in search of yet another country where to pitch my tent and one of my favourite candidates is Morocco. That’s why I travelled up and won the country and ended up in Fez which inspired this story:


Otherwise, my articles and also my two novels as well as a small guide book to Galicia can be found on the portfolio page of  GlamourGranny Travels.

IMBO: You’ve just published a travel guide on Turkey. What makes this travel guide different from all the others?

Piegsa-Quishotte: My guide book, Istanbul, City of the Green-eyed Beauty, is unconventional because it combines Istanbul sites with literature. Not your usual 'what to do and where to go' guide, Istanbul, City of the Green-eyed Beauty follows three writers—Pierre Loti, Barbara Nadel and Orhan Pamuk—whose stories all play out in different locations of Istanbul, some very off the beaten path. I thought it would be fascinating to visit the places mentioned in their books, and whilst I was doing so I decided to write a guide book to 'accompany' these works of literature so others could enjoy what I found. The 'hunt' was great fun. From the history of the brothels in Karaköy to the cast iron church in Balat, I have included background information and anecdotes—and of course many pictures.

The title is a reference to Pierre Loti's book Aziyade which describes his love affair with a Turkish married woman who lives in a harem. It is her green eyes looking out at him from behind the bars of a serail which first seduce him.

IMBO: Ever get homesick? Has your concept of home changed since you’ve been an expat?

Piegsa-Quischotte: I can’t get home sick because I have no real concept of ‘home’. Home is where my heart is at the moment.

IMBO: Inka, thank you for sharing your two worlds with the readers of I Must Be Off! All the best! 

I must be off!
Christopher
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Inka piegsa-quischotte was born in Germany, went to boarding school in Switzerland and to university in Basel, Granada (Spain) and College of Law in London. She practised as an international attorney for 30 years in Germany, Spain and the UK. She currently lives between Miami and Didim and Istanbul (Turkey).

Christopher Allen writes fiction, creative non-fiction and of course this here blog. His work has appeared in numerous places both online and in print. Read more about him HERE.