Talking with . . .

To see Tom as a PCV

To see the full listing of Tom’s books, go to his name in our Bibliography of Peace Corps Writers

IT’S A CONVOLUTED STORY that tells of how we found Tom Brosnahan (Turkey 1967–70). It involves the article by Ginger Taylor Saçlioglu (Turkey 1968–70) entitled “For Love of Ankara” in the July issue of, the wonders of the internet and a little enjoyable detective work.
     Tom has written in a different way about Turkey than Ginger — he has written several guide books on the country. Through a quick series of emails, I pieced together Tom’s very successful career as a travel writer, all of which began while he was serving in the Peace Corps.
  What was your Peace Corps country and assignment?
Lonely Planet: Turkey by Tom and Pat Yale is in its sixth edition and there are more than a half-million copies in print

  I was a volunteer in Turkey from 1967 to 1970. I taught English in a dual-language high school near Izmir. After the first school year was over, we were required to be of service during the summer as well, so we had to think up a summer project. I could see that Turkey had immense tourism potential, but few Americans knew it. I proposed writing a chapter about Turkey for Arthur Frommer’s popular Europe travel guidebook, Europe on $5 a Day, so Americans could read what Turkey had to offer. I wrote to Frommer, who said that such a chapter wasn’t really appropriate for his book, but that he would “give a swift and sympathetic reading” to a manuscript for a new guidebook devoted to Turkey. I decided to write it.
So your first travel book was on Turkey?
  Quickly run through how one book led to another. I’m particularly interested in the “building blocks” of a career such as yours.
 Read Ginger Taylor Saçlioglu’s “For Love of Ankara” Once you’ve written a successful guidebook, it’s easy to get work doing other books. Publishers know you can do the job. After my Turkey book went off to press, my publisher, Arthur Frommer, asked me if I’d be interested in revising a guide to Mexico. I was, and I did. I later added Guatemala and Belize to the Frommer Mexico guide.
     Looking for more work, I contacted other publishers. Berlitz Publications needed writers, and sent me off to do seven books over a period of years. Frommer called again also, and gave me a contract for a guide to Canada, and others for New England and Israel.
     By this time I had given up graduate school and was writing full time.
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