About Tom Brosnahan

Author, travel writer, novelist, photographer, web developer

Tom Brosnahan at work in Istanbul

Tom Brosnahan became a writer in college and submitted his first manuscript (800 pages) to Arthur Frommer in 1969. A month later it was accepted for publication, and Frommer’s Turkey on $5 a Day, the first of his 30+ guidebooks, appeared soon thereafter.

He began developing his own travel websites in 2002, and they've received millions of visitors from 230+ countries.

Guidebooks were his passion, but his humorous travel memoir, Turkey: Bright Sun, Strong Tea (2005) taught him how to construct a narrative. He was ready for a different kind of writing.

On a visit to Istanbul in 2016, standing in Sultanahmet Square, he imagined what it had been like in 1968 when he first saw it—a sleepy, untouristy historical park surrounded by hippy microbuses. The mental picture came to life, characters appeared and began to act, and he wrote it all down. Two weeks later when he left Istanbul, he had 30,000 words of a novel. That first-written novel, Istanbul Love Bus, now 75,000 words, was published in 2018.

His first published novel (2017), Paris Girls Secret Society, started out as a sequel to Istanbul Love Bus, but from the outset the characters who appeared were entirely different and the story even more exciting—so he decided to publish his second novel first.

Serene, a novel of the Belle Époque, was a departure: a historical novel taking place in the period (1871-1914) after the Franco-Prussian War, and ending with World War I. Trained as a historian, Tom recognized that the problems in today's world—dizzying technological change, increasing disparity of wealth, bitter political divisions, civil unrest—had all happened before a century earlier during what Americans know as the Gilded Age (the Belle Époque in Europe).

The characters of his fourth novel, tentatively entitled Alexandros, have already appeared in an earlier one and he’s chronicling their new adventures right now. Watch for more...


Born and raised in Pennsylvania, Tom Brosnahan joined the US Peace Corps after graduating from Tufts University in 1967, and went to Turkey to teach English. During his Peace Corps service he learned to speak Turkish and discovered a fascinating land virtually unknown to most travelers. That first guidebook of his, Turkey on $5 a Day, was written as a successful Peace Corps project. 

After graduate school and a Fulbright-Hays Dissertation Fellowship for research in the archives of the Ottoman Empire, Tom discovered there weren't many jobs for Ottoman scholars. He was already a successful travel writer, so he devoted himself to writing and photography and, later, website development.

His guidebooks for InsightBerlitzFrommer's and Lonely Planet covered Belize, Canada, Egypt, England, France, Guatemala, Israel, Mexico, Morocco, New England, Tunisia and Turkey, with translations into more than ten languages.

Tom has served as a Contributing Editor to Arthur Frommer's Budget Travel magazine, has had many articles and photographs published in leading magazines and newspapers and has appeared on television and radio, including ABC's Good Morning America, NPR's Talk of the Nation, the Travel Channel and Public Radio International's The Connection. He has given lectures at the American Turkish Council's annual conference, the Smithsonian Institution, the Cooper-Hewitt National Musem of Design, and other organizations. His travel-planning websites have received as many as seven million annual visitors from 230+ countries.