FEMALE FIRST INTERVIEWS JEAN SASSON about PRINCESS, MORE TEARS TO CRY

Exclusive interview with International Bestselling author Jean Sasson HEADSHOT 3 for BOOK COVER 2014

From writing Princess More Tears to Cry I can tell you that Saudi women are changing their world and that Princess Sultana is bringing their victories public.  Women are driving openly and taking their chances with the mean-spirited clerics, who like nothing better than to harass women.  But the big surprise is that the women of Saudi Arabia have a friend who is sitting on a throne, and the person on the throne is the very forceful king of Saudi Arabia.  Thus far, he has freed all the women who were imprisoned for driving and sentenced to floggings by the religious courts.  This is big news in their world and it is making women bolder than ever.  But all is not perfect because there are many powerful men in Saudi Arabia and some of these men do everything in their power to keep women in purdah.  So, even as we celebrate the happy stories, there are sad tales that will bring tears into the eyes of all but the most hardened.

This is the long awaited follow up to Life of Saudi Princess Sultana, so what you can tell us about this book?  

I can tell you that Princess Sultana used to be the lone voice of women pushing for freedom, but now we learn that other women are gathering their courage and pushing back.  There are many new heroines to celebrate in Saudi Arabia, and you will learn about 10 of those women in this book.  Additionally, the many millions of readers who have fallen in love with Princess Sultana and her family will enjoy the heart-warming stories that centre around her three children, her three grandchildren, as well as other members of her family.  So there is something for everyone in this, the 4th book in the series about Princess Sultana.

Please tell us about the process of gathering all the personal stories for this book.  

This research and interviewing process was so very different from the past three books about the princess.  Close your eyes and try to imagine a palace filled with women and children who all want to tell a writer something interesting that is happening in their country, one of the wealthiest nations in the world, yet, one of the most backward when it comes to the treatment of girls and women.   It was in such a setting where I was told about the stories Princess Sultana wanted included in Princess, More Tears to Cry.  Some of the stories came from the princess’ daughters, while others came from the princess.  Honestly, it was a very noisy environment for a writer.  I needed a quiet time to process facts, but that was not to be.  Finally I found the secret to shutting out all the noise to hear only the person sitting in front of me.  I focused my eyes on that person’s face and soon I could only hear that one important voice.  But I will admit that I missed the old days when everything was so secretive and the princess and I were slipping around like spies from the cold war to get the information clear for me so that I could return to my home office, and carefully write books from the facts I had been given.  While it is more fun now that the secret is out in her own family, it is quite the challenge for this writer!

This is your twelfth book so how much easier is your writing process with each new book you publish? 

Each book I have written carries its own struggle.  Therefore book number twelve was no easier or no more difficult than the previous eleven.

Please can you tell us about when you first met Princess Sultana.  

I met the princess for the first time in 1985 at the Italian Embassy in Saudi Arabia.  She was the only female royal I had ever seen at a western function so that fact alone caught my attention.

Everything of life was exciting then, because I was living in one of the most exotic kingdoms in the world.  I had met other royal princesses when attending royal weddings, but nearly all the Saudi women I had come to know appeared quite shallow, with their interests centering only on designer gowns, expensive jewels and the latest royal gossip.  To meet Sultana was quite the surprise, for she had important things on her mind.  Almost instantly she began talking about the undesirable social issues affecting her country that had been plaguing my own mind for the past seven years since I first arrived in the kingdom.  She talked.  I listened.  Our eyes locked and something told me she would be an important person in my future.  She told me later that she felt the same.  She invited me to visit her in her palace.  Our friendship grew slowly, but within a year I was going with her on holidays to France where we truly bonded, mainly because we are both so passionate about the horrible ills affecting so many women of the world.

Why was it important to you to share personal stories of middle Eastern women for your career?

They became my subjects; I became their hope.  I was living in the Middle East during a very important time for women in the region.  And, don’t forget, in the early days most Saudis were open minded about westerners and wanted to get to know us.  Therefore, I had access to many women, while most journalists had none.  After all, in those days, most journalists were men, and no man would ever allowed in the circle of women.  I believed, and still believe, that it is important for the world to know about the stories of women from the Middle East.  In fact, I would have told these stories even if there was no indication they would be bestsellers.

What have been the most surprising things you have found when writing your books? 

The commonality of the rich and the poor — all women, east and west, press against an invisible force trying to deny them freedom and subject them to the rules of men.

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What is next for you? 

I have five books on the drawing board.  And so I will continue to write books that awaken others, so that I can pass the passion to create change to a new generation.  To my mind, nothing is more important, because unless I am a walking miracle, I won’t live forever, and this is a struggle that is far from won.

PRINCESS MORE TEARS TO CRY

PRINCESS MORE TEARS TO CRY USA COVER

 


by Lucy Walton for http://www.femalefirst.co.uk
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Read more: http://www.femalefirst.co.uk/books/jean-sasson-princess-more-tears-to-cry-532935.html#ixzz3Ck0kJqnJ

About jeansasson

I'm a woman with a keen interest in a wide range of topics including women's issues; animal rights issues; humanitarian issues and political movements, such as the events currently sweeping the Middle East. I am an avid reader and collector of books, mainly about travelers of the 18th and 19th centuries. I have enormous curiosity about other people and relish hearing about lives and opinions of people from all over the world. I’m the author of the PRINCESS series, GROWING UP BIN LADEN, MAYADA DAUGHTER OF IRAQ, FOR THE LOVE OF A SON, and more. Over the past two years the princess and I have met and worked together to bring out a 4th and a 5th book in the PRINCESS SERIES. The 4th is titled: PRINCESS, MORE TEARS TO CRY while the 5th, which was recently released, is titled: PRINCESS, SECRETS TO SHARE. I am currently working on my 14th book. Details to be released soon. You can visit my website (http://www.jeansasson.com/) or check out my books on Amazon for more info.
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8 Responses to FEMALE FIRST INTERVIEWS JEAN SASSON about PRINCESS, MORE TEARS TO CRY

  1. victorianur says:

    Jean, do you know if the money for Isis is coming from Saudi Arabia? what´s the opinion they have about them there? Love to you.

  2. Jean Sasson says:

    Hi, this is Jean. No, I have no knowledge of the Saudi government, or Saudi citizens supporting ISIS. I would think that they are in danger from that beastly gang just as most in the area… I’ve heard this rumor, but doubt it. I have yet to speak to anyone living in the Middle East, whether in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Iraq, etc., who do not have an intense concern about the ISIS movement. And, who can blame them? The actions of ISIS members make it clear that true evil exists in our world, and that NO ONE would be safe from ISIS brutes.

  3. Naiandra says:

    Dear Jean! I love your books! it is very important that writers as you spread around the world the truth about Saudi Arabia. I really hope that things get better to the Saudi women!
    I would like to take this opportunity to ask you something. I am curious to know if Maha is Princess Sultana’s daughter who lives in Europe and if she still dates women? Do you know anithing about the situation of gay people in South Arabia?
    Thanks in advance and a happy new year!

    • jeansasson says:

      Thanks, Naiandra… I appreciate the time it takes to write me a note. I agree, I hope things greatly improve for Saudi women.

      Yes, Maha lives in Europe, although I have never been told about whether or not she dates women.

      As far as the situation of gay people in Saudi Arabia, it is considered extremely taboo and some people have suffered serious punishments for coming out and being gay. Perhaps this is why Maha lives in Europe… That would certainly be a good reason!

  4. Hello Jean,
    I do hope you are well. I hope I can convey to you what an impact your Princess trilogy has made on my life. Princess More Tears to Cry will be next be on my list! I almost stopped reading when in the first book Sara and Sultana witness the horrific rape of an 8 year old girl while on holiday with their older sister Nura. I chose to continue because stripping away some of my naivete seems right and healthy. Living in the dark about such heinous crimes is how the offenders thrive. For the last three weeks or so my brain is reeling with how to draw more attention to this effort. I love in the last pages of Sultana’s Circle it seems finally a difference will be made. And looking at the web links provided in the book it seems there are efforts being made. I was happy to read an update on your blog about some of the triumphs recently for women in Saudi Arabia. Long has my desire been to serve in the nonprofit sector specifically with underprivileged women and children. Maybe your books will further lead me in my search to help. If you have any insight for me, any way I could further get involved beyond just reading and sharing your books with others, I’m open. I think it is our duty as women born free in America to use our privilege to help women who are not free.
    Thank you for your efforts to bring to light the sufferings of so many.

    • jeansasson says:

      Thank you for your note. I am doing all right and I wish you the same. I’m really pleased that the books I wrote about the life of Princess Sultana has impacted you, and other women. Have you read MORE TEARS TO CRY yet? I’d love to know. And, you are SO RIGHT when you say that living in the dark about heinous crimes is how offenders thrive. SO TRUE! The princess has really worked hard to help as many girls/women as possible. I’m not sure where you live, but I’m sure there are many places of need, and many people who could use a gentle hand of assistance. Write to me at jeansasson@msn.com and tell me where you are living, etc. I look forward to hearing from you. Warm regards, Jean

  5. Annie says:

    Hi Jean,
    I just want to thank you for creating Princess and bringing it forth to the world! As a young Muslim girl who was born and raised in the West, I cannot believe that I never knew about the life of the Arabs. It was a complete shock to me, and I read all 3 books in 3 days! I was hooked and couldn’t put them down, and jusy wanted to thank you for humbling me and making md thankful for what I have. You are a strength to us women and I greatly appreciate your efforts. I wanted to send some fanmail to Princess Sultana to thank her for changing my life and my perspective of life in general, she has moved me in ways I didn’t think possible.
    Thank you for your brilliant writing

  6. sharon mirer says:

    Hi Jean,
    It seems as if Jews and Christians have a risky life if they live in a Middle East country. The Quran supposedly teaches hatred of the infidels and says that Jews are descendants of the apes and pigs although they share the same descendants as the Arabs, that being Abraham is also their father. Jews and Christians lived all over the Middle East landscape although in such scant numbers today due to the dangers of Islamic fundamentalism. The Saudi government pays for the education in hatred by setting up madrasas in middleeastern countries and using the platform to teach fundamentalist religion. I recollect that a member of the Saudi royalty had a Jewish surgeon as he was the best in the field and she said to him that she hoped for peace between Nations. How do you see it and how does the Princess see the need of the Muslim religion for tolerance and respect for other religions and with women and gay issues as well as other issues.. .

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