Close to my Herts: Tatiana Turton

PUBLISHED: 17:20 22 September 2011 | UPDATED: 20:01 20 February 2013

Close to my Herts: Tatiana Turton

Close to my Herts: Tatiana Turton

Author Tatiana Turton, known as Tanya, who lives in Welwyn Garden City, tells Louise McEvoy about her new book and her favourite place in Hertfordshire

Author Tatiana Turton, known as Tanya, who lives in Welwyn Garden City, tells Louise McEvoy about her new book and her favourite place in Hertfordshire

Tell us a bit about your background.

When I meet people for the first time invariably they ask me whether I am American or Canadian, and my answer always surprises them. I am Russian. Both my parents were Russian and escaped from the Soviet Union right after the Russian Revolution. Father ended up in Lebanon as a teacher at the American University of Beirut and that is the town where I was born.

My accent is from my education all American, ending with a scholarship at Wellesley College in Massachusetts. A BA in history and English started me on my love of writing short stories, poems and plays. After Wellesley I was employed at the United Nations Secretariat in New York.

My writing includes my varied background New York, ancient Baalbek in Lebanon and of course London.

I became British through marriage and settled in England to raise a family of four.

My other great interest, besides writing, is art. I became an art teacher, part-time, in several schools in Hertfordshire. Home was then in Harpenden as Nigel, my late husband, worked for ICI. Besides being a research chemist, he was a talented portrait painter and encouraged my artistic work.

Tell us about your recently published book.

The Phoenix Rises, Medley of Prose and Poetry consists of 16 very different stories and as many poems, including some doggerels. The back cover mentions several stories Why the Broken Marble Hand at the Feet of the Exquisite Statue? and A New York Taxi Driver as a Lover? There is also one about revenge in an orchid greenhouse below the Berkshire Downs.

The book includes some black and white photographs that reflect to some extent the themes of the stories. They illustrate places, such as the huge columns of the Roman temple in Baalbek, and a few are photos of my work for example, a pastel abstract of New York skyscrapers.

Where does your inspiration come from?

Its my vivid imagination! Point out a cloudy sky and Ill immediately see strange beings there or perhaps a vista of some unknown land.

You have pledged half of the profit from sales to charity. Which charity and why?

I chose Volunteers for Rural India as it is the only charity I know of which works to prevent female foeticide. I found out that in India, now that scanners are relatively inexpensive, doctors have been scanning illegally pregnant women and if they are carrying a female child they would then have an abortion.

Whats next for you?

I am looking for a literary agent to take me on to find a producer for my psychological film script and a publisher for a childrens story.

Where do you live in Hertfordshire?

After my husband died and the children had grown up, I moved to Welwyn Garden City. My house is close to the cricket ground and the area is perfect for strolling. There is a lovely wooded path bordered by majestic chestnut trees, as well as by two cedars of Lebanon one of which is a really grand old specimen and reminds me of my birthplace.

How would you suggest a visitor to Hertfordshire spend their day?

I invariably think that the one place which is outstanding historically, educationally and aesthetically pleasingly is Hatfield House. Visitors can learn something more about Queen Elizabeth I.

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