Destinations Magazine

An Interview with Jack Scott, Published Expat Writer

By Russellvjward @russellvjward
I had the pleasure of meeting Jack Scott through In Search of a Life Less Ordinary and the wider expat community in 2011. Jack is a regular visitor to this blog and a faithful advocate of pursuing a less ordinary life.

An Interview with Jack Scott, Published Expat Writer

Jack Scott, Published Writer

Jack writes a successful blog which has quickly became one of the most popular English language blogs in Turkey. As the blog grew, Jack made the decision to develop the story of his expat life in Turkey into a memoir, Perking the Pansies, which was published just before Christmas.
Perking the Pansies is an intriguing and often hilarious tale of a gay couple from London carving out an exciting and completely different life in Turkey. Jack's writing is a breath of fresh air, his vocabulary is delightful, and I wore a permanent grin on my face over Christmas as I read (on my newly acquired Kindle) how he describes, in his own inimitable way, the people he and Liam meet along the way. But it's not all smooth sailing for the fearsome duo as Jack reveals a number of less than happy moments during their time in Yalikavak then Bodrum, which simply add to the depth of the book and the interest of the overall journey.
Perking the Pansies is first and foremost a heart-warming account of a very human set of stories and I was fortunate enough to interview the author of this lovely - and currently bestselling - book as part of the current Perking the Pansies book world tour...
So Jack, with a growing number of expat books being published, what makes Perking the Pansies a must-read for 2012?
Many expat books about Turkey (and elsewhere) are about building the dream in a foreign field set against a magnificent backdrop of history, culture and landscape. Many are beautifully written and deserve their place on the bookshelf while others are worthy but a little dull. I wanted to write something completely different. Perking the Pansies provides an alternative version of the expat experience from the perspective of a British gay couple in a Muslim land. It’s something no one has done before, and why would they? There aren’t many of us here.
Perking the Pansies is an often funny but always quite personal story of yours and Liam's unique journey. Were you at all concerned about putting your lives out there in such a public way through this book?
I have tried to lace the book with the same brand of satire and humor as my blog, but I also wanted depth, personality and a convincing plot. To do this, I think you must reveal something of yourself and that’s why I’ve included aspects of our lives which I’ve never written about before. I’m a bit of an open book anyway, so writing about my life and feelings, past and present, isn’t difficult for me (or for Liam).

As two openly gay men, the book follows your 'escape from the liberal sanctuary of anonymous London to relocate to a Muslim country' and this was surely no small decision to make. Just how difficult a decision was it and do you think other potential expats can learn something from your decision and subsequent journey?
We really wanted to take time out from the world of the waged, so we had to move somewhere affordable; living in a cardboard box wasn’t our idea of fun. I’d like to say that we moved to Turkey because it’s a land of swarthy men, a place where sexual ambivalence reigns supreme and stolen glances meet you at every corner. The truth is more prosaic. We had to settle somewhere within easy commute of Blighty for trips home to see our folks. The Eurozone was off the agenda because the Pound to Euro exchange rate conspired against us. That meant the usual nations of choice for sun-starved Brits – Spain, Portugal and Greece – were out. Quite simply, we get more bang for our bucks in Turkey. Also, we’d been dipping our toes this side of the Aegean for years and knew the amazing country quite well. With the current crisis in the Eurozone, I think we (quite accidentally) made a wise choice.
The biggest lesson we’ve learned is that the neither the journey nor the destination is the be all and end all. It’s what you do afterwards that really counts. The real challenge to able-bodied emigreys (as I call retired expats) is to find a gainful occupation that doesn’t involve propping up the bar in a sad, insular expat dive to Blighty-bash and complain ad nauseum of all things local. That’s why I started the blog.

An Interview with Jack Scott, Published Expat Writer

Perking the Pansies, the book

You cover a lot of ground in the book and recount in some detail the many characters you've met and conversations you've had along the way. How did you go about recording and remembering so many different encounters?
The blog has helped with much of the subject matter and narrative. Many of the events were so extraordinary that they’ll be etched into my memory for a very, very long time. Suburban life in London was never this eventful. Our first year in Turkey was like living in Midsomer without the murders. And then came the horrible murder. All events in the book are based on what actually happened, but some of the characters and their characteristics have been merged or altered to protect the privacy of the innocent and the guilty. I have also tweaked the timeline a little for the purposes of dramatic tension and narrative clarity.
And where to next for Jack Scott, Published Writer? Will we see Jack and Liam remain in Bodrum or head off on a new leg of the Perking the Pansies adventure?
Turkey is a magical land. The people are warm, welcoming and hospitable. Whether you are a culture-vulture needing a fix, a beach bum wanting rest and relaxation, an adventurer seeking an adrenalin rush or a rambler who gets off on meandering through magnificent countryside, Turkey has it all. We’re lucky enough to live here while we’re young enough to savour it and we’re very happy to stay in Turkey for now. Much depends on how happy we remain here, whether the book sells and where that might lead. I’m hopeful of a sequel and a prequel but this may just be wishful thinking. The chances are, we’ll head back to Blighty for our dotage. Home, as they say, is where the heart is – and where the health care is free.Perking the Pansies is available to buy in paperback or on Kindle from and If you order through Jack's website,, he makes a few extra pennies from it. No pressure.
Thanks Jack.

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