One of my happier childhood memories, is from when I was about 5 years old and in Istanbul, Turkey with my Dad. He and Mum had also taken me there when I was 2 years old, but I don't remember that. However, this time, I went alone with Dad, who always has the travel itch, while Mum stayed at home with my younger brother. I can still picture the perfect blue lake and sky, mountains and white houses. My Dad had tea in glasses with a Turkish man, while his relative let me go upstairs to play at an attic, where he gave me an ABC-book with Atatürk on the cover, and some pink chewing gum. We also had sweet pastries like Baklava and Halva (The latter, i happily found again in both Frankfurt am Main, Germany, and Cascais, Portugal, a couple of years ago.) and Dad gave me a new stuffed animal in the shape of a white bunny, that I named Osman.
It's therefore not a coincidence that I decided to let my main character in my children's story to be called Osman. A story about a Turkish boy, that had fled to Sweden but was facing deportation. He was friends with a Swedish girl and together with her classmates, they embarked on an adventure to save Osman and take him back. I added an idea about how she could travel through the cables of her Dad's computer by saying a spell together with a little figure that talked to her on the screen. Together, they ended up in all the actual places of the webb through the libraries, which were the headquarters.
Then I got stuck. I made this fiction story up in 1994, as part of an assignment we had at my Copywriter education, and actually got to meet with Rabén and Sjögren, which is Astrid Lindgren's publisher, who was on the search for new material. They told me to add a huge event with more suspense and then they' would take it on. It's just that, I got stuck!
So. Turkey holds a special place in my heart, which is why I actually like that President Erdogan dares to question the Swedish application to become a member of Nato, and why it saddens me so much to learn about the devastating earthquake. I happened to have been with my Dad to Syria and Damaskus too.
Anything and everywhere can be an inspiration.