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JJ Barnes The Table Read

Written by JJ Barnes

I interviewed author Sabine Saadeh about her career, her new book, Trading Love, and the advice she has to inspire other writers.

Tell me a bit about who you are.

Sabine Saadeh, author of Trading Love, interview on The Table Read
Sabine Saadeh, author of Trading Love

My name is Sabine Saadeh, I am a 34 year old financial trader/writer who grew up in Beirut city, one of the most beautiful, cosmopolitan cities of the world. I worked in financial trading and asset management for ten years before I realized I needed to do something more enlightening and concrete with what I have learned. In September 2019 I published my novel Trading Love under the pen name SJ Saadeh.

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When did you first WANT to write a book?

It was the summer of 2015 when like usual many expatriates visit Beirut city, I was sitting at a pub with my friends having a gin tonic and it was then that I realized how important it was for women to become interested in financial literacy. Women should not only have independent careers but they should also be interested in learning about finance as this would help them a lot in navigating their monetary decisions in a more productive manner.

When did you take a step to start writing?

I wrote the first five chapters in October 2015, but then I got very busy with work and life until February 2019 that I decided to finish the story. Then in April 2019 I was highly inspired by an entrepreneur who managed to inject the elements of sensuality and humor into the story.

How long did it take you to complete your first book from the first idea to release?

Four years.

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What made you want to write Trading Love?

There are three main factors that made me want to write this book; first, it was the importance of the idea that women should become interested in finance. Second, it was because I was living in a city that has become very materialistic and superficial that it became very difficult to find out who you are as a person let alone build solid relationships, and third it was because my own character completely changed, thanks to that entrepreneur, that I felt it was now or never that I should write that story.

What were your biggest challenges with writing Trading Love?

The continuous inspiration was a real struggle, doubting my ideas was a constant hurdle, the fact that I felt my story was meaningless and poorly written kept me anxious the whole time,  and the exposure of my thoughts and opinions to other people was very scary.

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Who or what inspired you when creating your Protagonist?

The women in my social circle are behind the protagonist. They are independent women that live in an occidental city with eastern values; this makes a woman struggle between freedom and survival.

Who or what inspired you when creating your Antagonist?

Sabine Saadeh, author of Trading Love
Trading Love, by Sabine Saadeh

There is no antagonist per se, but maybe it is the city in itself that sets a woman up to become compliant.

What is the inciting incident of Trading Love?

When the protagonist loses everything.

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What is the main conflict of Trading Love?

A woman who thought she had the world at her feet suddenly felt the most vulnerable and useless person to ever exist.

Did you plot Trading Love in advance, or fly by the seat of your pants and write freely?

The story is inspired by the lives of the women in my social circle, the plot was formed back in 2015 but it was only until 2019 that it made sense to write it down.

Did you get support with editing, and how much editing did Trading Love need?

The substantive editing was done by my friends’ fresh eyes, then the line editing was done by myself after having let the book sit down for a few weeks. The proof editing was done by my friends’ fresh eyes again.

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What is the first piece of writing advice you would give to anyone inspired to write a story?

We can all write about the same story, but because we are different people it will come out in different voices, so even if you feel that what you want to write about is already out there, I assure you it is not, so just write it down.

Can you give me a hint about any further books you’re planning to write?

I am currently writing a new novel about finding value during the time of Covid-19, it is the follow through for my article The Viral Return on Investment;

I was a contributing author in the anthology Women in Finance Volume 5, published by Dr. Sharon Porter;

And, finally, are your proud of your accomplishment? Was it worth the effort?

I am very proud of my accomplishment; I never thought I would actually have the guts to write down my thoughts. It was the effort and the perseverance that made it all worthwhile.

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