Afternoon lovelies. Today I’m on the book birthday blitz for The Gilded Cage on the Bosphorus, and am delighted to bring you a Q&A with author Ayşe Osmanoğlu…..Enjoy!
about the gilded cage on the bosphorus
Title: The Gilded Cage on the Bosphorus
Author: Ayşe Osmanoğlu
Estimated page count: 528
Formats available: Paperback and eBook.
Publisher: Nielsen (2 July 2020)
Tour organised by: Rachel’s Random Resources
Brothers bound by blood but fated to be enemies. Can their Empire survive or will it crumble into myth?
Since his younger brother usurped the Imperial throne, Sultan Murad V has been imprisoned with his family for nearly thirty years.
The new century heralds immense change. Anarchy and revolution threaten the established order. Powerful enemies plot the fall of the once mighty Ottoman Empire. Only death will bring freedom to the enlightened former sultan. But the waters of the Bosphorus run deep: assassins lurk in shadows, intrigue abounds, and scandal in the family threatens to bring destruction of all that he holds dear…
For over six hundred years the history of the Turks and their vast and powerful Empire has been inextricably linked to the Ottoman dynasty. Can this extraordinary family, and the Empire they built, survive into the new century?
Set against the magnificent backdrop of Imperial Istanbul,The Gilded Cage on the Bosphorus is a spellbinding tale of love, duty and sacrifice.
Evocative and utterly beguiling,The Gilded Cage on the Bosphorus is perfect for fans of Colin Falconer, Kate Morton and Philippa Gregory.
Q&A with Ayşe Osmanoğlu
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I was born in England, but I am Turkish and a member of the Ottoman Imperial family. After reading History and Politics at the University of Exeter, I obtained an M.A. in Turkish Studies from SOAS, University of London, where I specialised in Ottoman History. I married my university boyfriend and we have five beautiful children. Other than researching my family history, I enjoy spending time with family and friends, travelling and visiting new and interesting places, reading historical novels, playing golf and tennis and I absolutely love going to the ballet. My guilty pleasure is chocolate, and lots of it!
What inspired you to start writing?
The Gilded Cage on the Bosphorus is the book that I always dreamed of writing. Ever since I was a little girl…
Many books have been written about the twilight years of the Ottoman Empire, but few tell the intimate story of the members of the Imperial family. Fewer still give an account of the private life of the sensitive and enlightened Sultan Murad V, my great, great, great grandfather. For nearly thirty years he lived in enforced confinement in the Çırağan Palace, his Gilded Cage on the Bosphorus, shut away and forgotten by the outside world after being deposed. He found great comfort in the love of his family, who endured this harsh life of captivity with him – they were my inspiration.
It was never my intention to publish the book – it was written to encourage my children’s interest and sense of pride in their heritage, and to teach them the forgotten customs and traditions of my family. So, one day, I simply started to write. I also wanted to record some of the many stories and memoires that my grandfather shared with me of his life in the Çırağan Palace before they are lost forever. And I wanted to discover more about the characters and personalities behind the faces in my faded old family photographs, so as to keep their memory alive. (My father persuaded me to publish the book once he had read it and I just couldn’t refuse him. The paperback was then published on his 80thbirthday!)
How many books have you written and published?
The Gilded Cage on the Bosphorus is my first book, but I hope it will be the first of a series. Research for the sequel is underway!
How do you choose the names of your characters?
Almost all my characters are real people, so I did not have to choose their names. One less thing to procrastinate over!!
Which of your characters would you want to be stranded on an island with and why?
Probably with Prince Nihad, my great grandfather. I have so many questions I would love to ask him, and he was a highly skilled carpenter and by far the most practical of all my characters he is by far. So, we would have lots to talk about and I am certain that we would not be stranded for long as he would immediately set about building us a beautiful boat to sail home in.
Who is your favourite author and which of their books is your favourite, and why?
I love Jane Austen, Leo Tolstoy and Agatha Christie. But my favourite book is Birds Without Wings by Louis de Bernières. It is beautifully written, deeply moving and tells the tragic love story of a Turkish boy and a Greek girl torn apart by intolerance and war. My own father is Turkish and my mother is Greek, so the story touched me on a very personal level. It is also set in Turkey during the last days of the Ottoman Empire – a period in history that I find particularly interesting.
What is the first thing that you can remember writing?
Long letters to my grandparents, in the days when we used to write letters instead of emails or texts! They lived in Istanbul during the summer and in Alexandria in the winter so we did not see them very often. They used to say that when they opened the envelopes containing my letters, rays of sunshine would flood their room. Years later I discovered that they had kept every one of my letters.
What other jobs have you done other than being an author?
When I was at university I worked in Benetton, so you can imagine how good I am at folding jumpers! After graduation I got involved in different sectors of the property development and investment world – working in lettings, then establishing my own interior design company and running a property and hotel development, management and investment business with my husband. All while being a full time mummy to five children!
If you could get in a time machine and had one chance to travel, where would you go?
Wouldn’t it be amazing if this were really possible?! But how to choose?! I think I would travel back to Istanbul during the summer of 1876. Armed with the knowledge of foresight, I would do all I could to ensure the smooth transition of power to Sultan Murad V on his accession to the throne. I truly believe that had he not been deposed soon after becoming sultan, history would have been very different. I also think that Imperial Istanbul was at its most beautiful at this time, and I would have loved to have seen all the recently built palaces and mosques in their full glory.
If you could have one conversation with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
The Ottoman Sultan I admire most is Sultan Mehmed II, known as Mehmed the Conqueror. He defeated the Byzantines and captured Constantinople in 1453 at the age of 21. It would be amazing to have a conversation with him – to ask him about the campaign, his life, and of course his thoughts and feelings about the eventual fate of the Ottoman Empire and the dynasty.
What is your favourite thing to do?
Walking through a bluebell wood on a sunny spring day, or soaking in a long hot bubble bath!
What is the strangest thing that has ever happened to you?
I don’t think that anything particularly strange has ever happened to me! Now I have said that though, something might happen tomorrow!
If you could give your younger writing self any advice what would it be?
Start now! I wish that I had started writing years earlier… I really do not know what I was waiting for!
Name one book you think everyone should read?
We all have different interests and enjoy different genres and styles of writing, so I do not believe that there is one book that everyone should read.
The Gilded Cage on the Bosphorus is available from Amazon, Apple Books, Google Play, Kobo and Barnes & Noble. The book description is below:
Chelle, thank you so much for inviting me to answer your probing and interesting questions and for hosting me on your Blog, and thank you to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for organising my Virtual Book Tour to celebrate the 1stBirthday of The Gilded Cage on the Bosphorus
Thanks so much to Rachel for inviting me on to the tour, and for Ayse for chatting with us. I think you’ll all agree that the book sounds fascinating!
If you read this, let me know what you think. I’ll be adding it to my list of must reads!
Have a wonderful day!