Interview With Jean Sasson, Author Of The Princess Sultana Trilogy

Last year I introduced FHWS readers to the book, Growing Up Bin Laden, authored by Jean P. Sasson in collaboration with Najwa, Omar and Zaina bin Laden. In this post, I also mentioned Jean’s Princess Sultana Trilogy

“For those of you who do not know, Jean P. Sasson is also the author of the three books on the true life of a Saudi princess, “Sultana”. I was very delighted at the fact that Jean has authored the book [Growing Up Bin Laden] as I have read them all [the Princess Sultana Trilogy] and enjoyed her style of writing. At the time of reading her books, I was not yet a Muslim and could not envision ever living in a country such as Saudi Arabia or being the wife of a Saudi. Little did I know that I would one day become a Muslim, marry a wonderful Saudi man and live in Saudi Arabia.”

Nor could I have imagined beyond my wildest dreams that I would one day have the opportunity to interview Jean P. Sasson on the Princess Sultana Trilogy.

Before beginning the interview, I think it is imperative to put an issue surrounding Jean to rest. Around the time of writing the post on “Growing Up Bin Laden”, I was warned by an individual that Jean was accused of plagiarism in a lawsuit and I should not promote her books or it would be damaging to the reputation of FHWS. I researched it and from what I read, something didn’t add up about Jean’s accuser. I did not find Jean’s side of the story however I was undeterred, granted her the benefit of a doubt and published the “Growing Up Bin Laden” post. Turns out the plagiarism lawsuit against Jean was dismissed with prejudice! Jean offered a lengthy explanation of the ordeal in an interview with Mizozo. I have posted an excerpt of it at the end of this interview.

I can’t thank Jean enough for allowing me to interview her on the Princess Sultana Trilogy, Saudi Arabia and her views relevant to marriages between Saudis and non-Saudis. Congratulations to Jean and Maryam Khail for the completion of their book, For The Love Of A Son. I hope that a fourth installment of Princess “Sultana’s” life will also be completed, sooner rather than later!

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PRINCESS SULTANA TRILOGY QUESTIONS

TARA: What inspired you to write the first book in the Princess Sultana trilogy, “Princess”?

JEAN SASSON: When I first came to Saudi Arabia, there was so much I loved about the Kingdom; however, it didn’t take me long to realize that no one was addressing the issues plaguing their women. I personally witnessed many sad situations at the King Fasial Specialist Hospital and Research Centre in Riyadh, including the fact that women were sometimes abandoned there by their families if the woman was diagnosed with cancer, or if she had more than two or three female children without giving birth to males. Of course, I knew at that time that I could do nothing. I was a guest in a country where the hand of friendship had been extended to me in a most kindly fashion. And, as said, there were many wonderful things about Saudi Arabia that impressed me. Therefore, I met with various Saudi women (in those days (late 1970’s and 1980’s) as westerners were very welcome and various members of the royal family who met us at the royal hospital very kindly invited us to weddings or other family events. I did not open up any criticism about the Kingdom with individual Saudis as that would have been very rude, but when the Saudi women themselves chatted about things that were upsetting to them, I very politely entered into the conversations.

When I met Princess Sultana (after 5 years of living in the Kingdom) she was extremely outspoken and was not shy about expressing her opinions in a very aggressive manner. Once she discovered my love of books, and learned that I had already written one book, she began to think that perhaps I could be the person she would trust with her personal story. The more I thought about a book that would tell the true story of one Saudi woman and her relatives/friends/servants, the more I agreed that perhaps such a book could change opinions. Later after the first Gulf War when I returned to visit the Kingdom (I was lucky to have a multiple exit/re-entry visa for SA, compliments of King Fahd) things were changing for women and for the worse. I was told I could not even purchase and eat a sandwich in public. Therefore, I was greatly inspired by the princess and by the changing situation.

TARA: What were the catalysts behind the second and third installments of the Princess Sultana trilogy?

JEAN SASSON: Neither of us believed we would see the other again, but once the princess was discovered to be the princess in my book (by her brother, Ali) she became so incensed that she called me and said that she had changed her mind. She wanted desperately to continue the story of her life. Also, we were both surprised by the world-wide interest in her story. The princess said we would continue so long as women were not allowed to participate in public life, and so long as there were women who did not have true human rights in Saudi Arabia. Therefore, the 2nd and 3rd books came into being. We are discussing a 4th at this time, but I am leaving that decision to her.

TARA: How did you decide on the title(s)?

JEAN SASSON: I chose the titles for each of the three books from the events occurring in the books; although I contacted the princess and told her what I was thinking. The first book was a general story of her youthful life, the second was more about her children, with her daughters taking a lead role. The third was about reaching out and encouraging all women to embrace the other and to create circles of care. The princess loved all three titles, I am happy to say.

TARA: Who designed the book’s cover(s) and what are the significance of the picture(s)?

JEAN SASSON: The publishers all have their ideas for covers and for titles (the book is published in 66 different editions) but they do discuss with me and I discuss with the princess. There have been some covers we did not care for, as well as titles. I provided the publishers with various articles of clothing and once the princess brought a very fancy abaaya to me and asked that it be used on one of the American covers. All in all, most are very nice covers and most titles are quite nice, too.

TARA: Given that Princess “Sultana” had to maintain secrecy surrounding her true identity, how did you both manage to keep this secret going for so long?

JEAN SASSON: Well, few people can understand how very closed family life can be in Saudi Arabia. IF one wishes to keep a family secret, Saudi Arabia is the best country in the world to do that! Many families mainly interact with their own family members, for example. In Sultana’s family, this was certainly the case in the old days, although they are more open nowadays. Few westerners realize that when royal women leave their homes that they are totally veiled and even are transported in an automobile that has “veils/curtains on the windows”. Then, when they arrive at a cousin’s home, they are escorted past everyone, and, are still veiled. So, under such circumstances, secrets can be kept!

HOWEVER, having said this, members of her immediate family did recognize her from the stories. The only thing that saved her is the fact that Saudi Arabia is a “shame society” and the male members were determined not to let anyone outside the immediate family know that the wayward princess featured in my book was one of their own. The men would have been ridiculed and scorned by other members of the royal family for having a female they could not control. The very rigid rules that bind women, was of a benefit in this particular situation.

TARA: How did this affect your communication with each other and writing the books together?

JEAN SASSON: Getting the information for the first book was easy, because no one knew what was up. We saw each other occasionally in Riyadh and in Jeddah, but mainly we kept in contact when we both traveled. She was a married woman and she and her husband traveled a lot; plus, I traveled a lot, and it was easy to meet up in various European cities. In fact, she and I met more than once in Monte Carlo as Peter and I spent every September there, and during that month, she and her husband and children also went to Monte Carlo. The 2nd and 3rd books were a little more tricky but she would call me anytime she was in Europe and had some privacy. We were able to have very lengthy conversations about the ongoing issues and dramas in her family unit.

TARA: Who is the targeted audience of the Princess Sultana trilogy?

JEAN SASSON: At first we believed that only females of a certain age would be interested. We were stunned when the publication of the first book revealed that the entire world wanted to know more about a feisty princess in the House of Al-Saud! Over the years I have discovered that men love reading about her life, as well as women of all ages. Sometimes young girls (age 10 and up) tell me that the story of Princess Sultana is their favorite book. I am amazed. The 20th anniversary of the first book comes up next year and we plan a big chapter to be added to the book(s). And, the books are timeless — although there have been some good changes in Saudi Arabia for women, there is great need for much more to be done to improve the status of women.

TARA: What are some examples of the main subjects you tackled in each of the three books?

JEAN SASSON: We didn’t sit down and compile a listing of “main subjects” we wanted to cover, but found by simply telling about the lives of various women, that many important subjects were tackled; such as women having no say-so in husband choices; women unable to pursue careers in the fields they wanted; women unable to drive themselves to the market; and more seriously, females being put to death at the whim of a man.

TARA: What benefits or messages do you expect readers to get out of the Princess Sultana trilogy, if any?

JEAN SASSON: To make people think, to confront the very real issue of a world where half its occupants are often left out of the decision making process. This happens in the USA, in Europe, and certainly in Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern nations. So long as women are not allowed at the table to discuss the important issues that affect their daily lives, nothing good will come to us. For example: Women were protesting along with their men in Egypt. Now that their efforts won the possiblity of democracy in their country, women are not even allowed on the committee to work on a new constitution! What can be done to change this male attitude that women are dispensable when no longer needed? Apparently, Egyptian women need to renew their protests. The princess and I always wanted the book about her life to inspire women to think on their own, not to depend upon the man in her life to make her decisions and to create a desire in women to embrace good change.

TARA: Did you learn anything from writing the first or all of the Princess Sultana trilogy? Please explain:

JEAN SASSON: Well, although I knew that the situation was very unfair for many women in Saudi Arabia, once the princess started revealing some of her personal stories, and the stories of other women she knew, I realized that the situation was a lot more complicated and difficult than I ever imagined. Sometimes I felt the hopelessness of the situation, but told myself that no matter how slow the progress, we must all work to move forward. And, that women should help each other. Men support each other on big issues, why can’t women do the same?

TARA: Can you describe how Princess “Sultana” benefited in any way from her story being published?

JEAN SASSON: Her outlook on life changed, and she experienced tremendous joy coming from the fact that so many people in the world cared about her and about other women. Her spirit was renewed and I saw that once the book was published, and once the world’s attention was riveted on women’s issues, she became even more determined to help to bring change to women of the world, not just Saudi Arabia.

TARA: How did her life change as a direct result of publishing her story?

JEAN SASSON: I noticed that the princess became a bit of a detective, hiding her plans from the men in her family, but carrying on with a determination that left me in awe. No one was going to stop her! NO ONE! My ex-husband, Peter Sasson, laughingly told me that the only time he felt fear was when the princess and I were together and he was the only man around and when the princess would get excited and upset about a certain topic, he assumed we would attack him! Of course, we did not, but he said we were just alike with our high passion for women’s issues and no man was completely safe when we got started on a certain topic that angered us both.

TARA: What has been the reception in Saudi Arabia and internationally towards the Princess Sultana trilogy?

JEAN SASSON: Of course, the men of Saudi Arabia were very upset because it criticized the way they treat women. Having said that, I will say that I have known a number of very good Saudi men who were wonderful husbands and fathers. The book is not an indictment of all Saudi men, only the ones who rule with such aggressiveness towards the women in their families. It is also an indictment of some of the religious authorities who misinterpret their religion to attack women, rather than help women. As far as the Saudi women: when I met with them personally and privately, I was told that they loved the story and were happy it had been published world-wide. However, when their husbands or fathers or brothers were around, they acted offended and said that their lives were perfect and everything the princess told was a lie. I understood why that happened, but felt sad for the women that they were so intimidated by their men. As far as the international community, most people have embraced her very human and heartfelt story.

TARA: What are your hopes for the Princess Sultana trilogy in the future?

JEAN SASSON: The book is still available in much of the world and I still receive about 300 letters a week, mainly from young women, women who tell me that the story of Princess Sultana has greatly affected their lives and that they have changed their college majors to work on behalf of women worldwide. It is a great feeling to get such communications.

TARA: Do you plan to write a fourth installment with Princess “Sultana”?

JEAN SASSON: We are discussing the possibility although it may take us to another generation.

TARA: Is there anything else you would like others to know about the Princess Sultana trilogy?

JEAN SASSON: Only that when they read rants and attacks against the book, generally the writer has an agenda which has nothing to do with the story of Princess Sultana.

TARA: Any other books on the horizon?

JEAN SASSON: I have been writing books continuously since 1991; therefore, there are a number of books I have written other than the three PRINCESS books. I have written about an Iraqi woman (MAYADA Al-ASKARI), a Kurdish woman (Joanna AL-ASKARI), an Afghan woman (MARYAM), as well as a book about Osama Binladin’s first wife (Najwa) and his 4th born son (Omar). Additionally, I wrote THE RAPE OF KUWAIT, as well as a historical fictional account of a Palestinian and Jewish family in ESTER’S CHILD. Currently, I am writing another book but don’t like to talk about it until I am finished.

TARA: Enter the URL address for a website, blog, Facebook/Twitter fan page, etc:

JEAN SASSON: Website, BlogTwitter, Facebook

PERSONAL QUESTIONS

TARA: What is your nationality and country of residence?

JEAN SASSON: I’m an American whose family came over in the 1700’s from Ireland, Scotland, England (on my father’s side) and French (on my mother’s side). My father’s family fought in the war of independence (America vs England) and one family member was captured by the British and never again seen. My family settled in the south of the United States. They were a family of readers and thinkers, but the civil war totally depleted the family’s resources, so everything was very different for my family by the end of that tragic civil war.

I live in the United States at the present time although I confess I would like to return to live in the Middle East. I love the area and feel so at home in the Arab world. I could easily live in Saudi Arabia again, or in Lebanon, which is a big favorite of mine.

TARA: Are you married to a Saudi?

JEAN SASSON: No. Although I was a single female in Saudi for the first 4 years of my time there, I only dated one person, Peter Sasson, a Brit who was born in Egypt to an Italian/English father and a Yugoslav mother. Peter and I met only a few weeks after I arrived in Saudi and he and I dated the other exclusively and we later married. Actually, I never dated a Saudi, although there were some very nice Saudi men who did ask me out to tea or for a meal.

TARA: What are the things you like/liked about living in Saudi Arabia?

JEAN SASSON: The exotic feel to the place. The notion that great change was coming and that I was a part of that change. Learning the culture of an area of which I had little knowledge. Enjoying the dry wit of some of the Saudis I met. I got a kick out of the Saudi women’s reaction to my own situation as they were feeling sorry for me, just as I was feeling sorry for some of their problems! They thought it was terrible that my father allowed me to travel to Saudi as a single female and the fact I had to work or I would not eat! (smile).  The Saudi women I met were really special and I often wonder what happened to them as I lost touch with all of my Saudi female friends but Princess Sultana, her family members and two other Saudi ladies.

TARA: What are the things you dislike/disliked about living in Saudi Arabia?

JEAN SASSON: I was always distressed by the condition of some of the women I knew. I met a lot of very sad women in Saudi, but I feel that is slowly changing.

I was also greatly depressed by the way animals were discarded and mistreated. I ended up with so many abandoned animals, mistreated birds, etc. That was a big problem for me and I wept a lot over their condition. But, the problem was so huge it was overwhelming and impossible to change. I have a lot of animal stories I plan to tell about when I write my own life story. Some are funny, as I was always getting into a jam with my actions; while it was impossible to find a sense of humor in others, which were tragic.

TARA: What would you like to see improved in Saudi Arabia?

JEAN SASSON: The very things that bothered me when I lived there for 12 years: For women’s issues to be addressed (as King Abdullah seems to be doing now) and for kindness to be shown to all God’s creatures.

TARA: Do/did you feel trapped when in Saudi Arabia or do you feel comfortable visiting or living in the country?

JEAN SASSON: Never once. I loved it. I was treated so nicely by nearly everyone I met. I felt the excitement of change in the air, and I learned so much from living in Saudi Arabia. There are many wonderful aspects of the Saudi culture and I recognized that I could learn from them, even as they could learn from me. It was a grand experience.

TARA: What do/did you think about the abaya and is/was it a problem for you to wear it?

JEAN SASSON: Well, my Saudi boss, Dr. Nizar Feteih, told me that since I was Christian that I did not have to cover my hair or wear the abbaya, but of course, I should dress modestly. Well, I went out once without the head scarf and the abbaya and I never did that again. My hair was very blonde and hung to my waist and I created a lot of excitment in the Riyadh souk that I did not want! Therefore, after that first occasion, I ALWAYS wore the abbaya and I ALWAYS covered my hair, and I embraced it and felt it was the proper thing for me to wear in such a conservative country.

TARA: Do you think non-Saudis should change anything about themselves in order to fit into Saudi society?

JEAN SASSON: Definitely. I think that westerners and other visitors should respect the conservative culture and not do anything to offend their hosts. I followed this “rule” when I lived there and it served me well. When I would see other Western women wearing tight trousers and have their arms totally uncovered, I was embarrassed and wondered why they were doing something that so offended the Saudis, men and women. Also, until women can drive there, I don’t think Western women should be trying to drive, or riding a motorcycle, or bicycle. People should respect the culture where they are living, whether in an Arab land, an Asian land, etc. There was one particular woman working at the Faisal in Riyadh who was always sneaking off on a motorcycle and with her tight clothes and long hair blowing in the breeze, she was really whipping up a lot of anger against all Western women. I couldn’t believe that she didn’t realize what harm she was causing.

TARA: Do you think a non-Saudi man/woman can be happy in Saudi Arabia?

JEAN SASSON: Absolutely. I’ve known a lot of Westerners who really enjoyed their experiences of living in the Kingdom. All one has to do is to embrace a different life-style and get the most joy out of their experience in Saudi.

TARA: Do you think a non-Saudi woman can live alone in Saudi Arabia without a husband or her family?

JEAN SASSON: If the Western woman works for a large institution, yes. If the woman is trying to live there alone without a support system, I think it would be very difficult.

TARA: What do you think non-Saudis should know about Saudi men/women?

JEAN SASSON: If one respects another human being, whether Saudi or any other nationality, that person will respond in kind. That is what I discovered in Saudi, that Saudi people are generally quiet and very shy, but when they realize that someone is very interested in them, and respects them and their culture, they can be a very devoted friend.

Non-Saudis should also realize that Saudis never open up immediately. They must feel that the person they are dealing with is genuine and not trying to gain something. Also, I found that Saudis often try to give gifts as it is ingrained in the culture to do that, but for me, I always refused all gifts (in a nice way) and discovered that Saudis then realized I was not trying to use them to gain financially.

Non-Saudis should realize that some topics are off limits, such as asking a Saudi man about the women in his family. One has to have a special friendship before one can start asking personal questions.

TARA: How do you feel about Saudis marrying non-Saudis?

JEAN SASSON: I think it can be a big challenge, from both sides. The Saudi culture is quite unique and there are a LOT of issues that must be addressed. There are many challenges in any marriage, but when one adds a totally different culture to the mix, more complications arise. This is not to say I have not known of a few happy marriages between Saudis and non-Saudis, but generally the woman has to be compliant and many women from other cultures do not embrace such a role.

TARA: What is your advice when a non-Saudi man/woman meets their potential/future Saudi in-laws?

JEAN SASSON: Well, I would be very respectful and not try to be best friends, particularly in the beginning. Saudis, like all people, come with different personalities. I would lay low and watch and try to figure out what was expected of me and IF I could happily be that person, okay. If not, I would not pick fights but instead patiently express myself, my wishes, my needs. No need in yelling and screaming, etc.

TARA: What advice would you give a non-Saudi considering marriage to a Saudi?

JEAN SASSON: Prior to the marriage, sit down and have a lot of serious conversations about the Saudi’s expectations. Ask the future spouse to be totally honest. IF there is an important area where the two cannot find common ground, reconsider because after the marriage has occurred, and IF the woman is living in Saudi Arabia, it will be too late for much change. One partner will find herself giving in on all issues because the Saudi culture expects the man to be the boss in the family.

IF the couple is going to live outside of Saudi Arabia, there is a chance to avoid huge misunderstandings. However, IF they are going to live in Saudi Arabia, the entire society will be a part of their lives for there are certain aspects of the marriage that society itself will play a role. If a woman thinks she is going to continue her western style life in Saudi Arabia, she will be sorely disappointed. So, it is according to how much a person can compromise.

TARA: Is there anything else you would like to say?

JEAN SASSON: At the moment I am feeling a pang of envy that I can’t go to Saudi Arabia and return to those wonderful days. This interview has brought up so many memories and I have enjoyed it, yet, memory land can be painful because I miss that time of youth and joy, living in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia!

Thanks! Jean

Photo Credit: Jean P. Sasson

Exclusive Interview With The Author Of Growing Up Bin Laden, Jean Sasson
28 September 2010
By Mizozo

M: There was a lawsuit with regards to your bestseller “Princess” series books which were later dismissed. What is story behind the false claims?

JS: I’m so happy that you asked me this question. A year or so after I wrote the second Princess book, I was called by my German publisher who said my editor had received a shocking telephone call from a hysterical woman who was screeching and screaming, saying that the story about Princess Sultana was HER life story. I thought it was a joke but then the German editor said that the woman claimed she had sent her manuscript to the agent who sold my book to William Morrow Publishing. I gave the phone number of the agent to the German publisher and asked that they call him to see if he had ever heard of her. For sure, I never had. (By this time I had left the agent in question because we never hit it off, although he never gave me any indication that he was dishonest in any way, and I do not believe that he was. He certainly never mentioned this woman or her unsellable manuscript to me. Had he proposed such a thing, I would have called the police…)

At any rate, I forgot about it until about 4 months later when my literary agent called me and said this same woman was filing a lawsuit, still claiming that she had written a manuscript (unpublished, by the way) and that she was saying the same thing she told my German publisher, that my former agent had been unable to sell her manuscript so he had obviously passed it along to a bestselling writer and asked that writer to put her name on it!

The entire situation was ridiculous, and I’m certain that such a thing has never happened, but only in America could an Austrian woman claiming to be a Saudi princess even find legal representation. We have too many lawyers in America and they’ll take any case if they think they can milk money out of the innocent.

I had never seen anything the woman wrote and after the lawsuit was filed, admit that I was eager to see her manuscript. It took my attorney(s) a while to get the unpublished manuscript, and when I did finally read it, I’ve never been so happy. This is because it was so completely different from Princess Sultana’s story that no one could figure out what the woman or her attorneys were thinking! Later we saw their list of claims, and all were laughable: Sultana had two daughters and a son, the woman had three sons. Sultana had breast cancer, the woman was fearful of getting cancer. Really, it was just plain ridiculous.

Later, after her attorneys admitted that they could not find a SINGLE SIMILAR SENTENCE, they said that they thought my former agent had passed along the “idea” to me. (This Austrian woman had married a Kuwaiti and had endured a hellish marriage (according to her manuscript). The best I remember she had opened a restaurant in Kuwait and had lived there a while, had three sons with her husband and divorced him.) Now, what this had to do with a wealthy Saudi princess is a head-scratching question…

To make a long story short: We later discovered that this same woman had accused yet another author who is British (it was in her unpublished manuscript which we read and discovered) of stealing the same unpublished manuscript to write a movie screenplay called STOLEN. We managed to locate the author, Deborah Moggah, who told us the entire sad tale of being harassed by the same woman who was harassing me. She gave the court a legal document swearing to the truth that she had actually had to move to escape this woman, whom Deborah was convinced was dangerous. The only good thing that came out of it was that I flew to the UK and met Deborah, whom I found to be one of the dearest people, full of personality, lovely in every way. Poor Deborah didn’t deserve this woman’s harassment anymore than I did, and she seemed to suffer more from the personal contact (the woman called her up to 200 times in one day, according to Deborah. Also, Deborah was afraid for the safety of her two children. Although I had no children, my parents were called and harassed to the point that my father started carrying a weapon and the police in our home town remained on the lookout for this person. After reading Deborah’s account, we didn’t have a clue what she might be capable of doing.)

After carefully reading all three of the woman’s unpublished manuscripts, and my two published books, and even checking all my telephone records which didn’t have a single call to the agent in question (given to the court) proving that I didn’t even KNOW the agent until after I had finished my manuscript and the agent was recommended to me by another person, the judge threw out the case and fined the woman. The court awarded the publishers and the author and the agent full court costs and damages but of course we couldn’t collect because we couldn’t find the woman who was hiding out somewhere in the UK or in Austria. Let’s just say she didn’t want to put her money where her mouth was.

Interestingly enough to me, the copyright attorney hired by the publisher told me that it was the most frivolous case he had ever defended in all his years of working in copyright law. That says a lot.

Since the case was dismissed with prejudice, meaning that the woman can never sue me again regarding my princess books, this person had never stopped harassing me. (She makes false claims online that she spent all her money on the case so she couldn’t pursue it — in fact, the case was dismissed and the woman forbidden to continue on…how much money she had spent or had, had nothing to do with the lawsuit ending.) Truthfully, I think of her as a stalker and she gives every indication of being not only mean and poisonous, but mentally deranged. Anyone who reads her posted writings immediately feels badly for for me and is supportive. We print up and save every lie she tells about me and my books. At some point in the near future, the law will catch up with technology and laws will be passed that makes her outrageously false claims a crime. Meanwhile, I ignore her and quote to those who ask: “That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.” (Don’t know who said this, but some clever writer.)

The judge didn’t find a single reason to believe that I had ever seen this woman’s manuscript, and I had not. No publisher would ever publish me again if a word of what this woman writes was true. Common sense will tell you that much.

It does give me some small degree of pleasure to continue on with my successful writing career (I have had nine books published worldwide, most becoming bestsellers) while this vicious person wastes all her time spewing her venom. I’ve often thought if only she would use all that energy to take some writing classes and to discover some worthwhile stories of women who are living courageous lives, perhaps she could be a published author. (She finally self-published her book, which I encourage everyone to read — when they do, they come back to me shaking and scratching their heads, having the same reaction I had when I first heard about her and her false claims about my book(s).)

Sorry to be so long-winded on this response, but there is no brief way to tell this amazing story…. Certainly, my life is never dull!

Photo Credit: Jean Sasson

Further Reading: Newscommando’s International Best-Selling Author ‘Jean Sasson’ Exclusive Interview

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Tara Umm Omar

American married to a Saudi.

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