Q&A with Fiction Writing Winner Tarek Saad
Tell us more about your work. What was the inspiration? What techniques did you draw on? What do you like about this work?
I was inspired by my love-hate relationship with phones over the years, feelings which I don’t hide, generating much amusement for people who know me. I didn’t consciously implement any techniques, but I liked this piece because it highlights a very real-life topic I frequently see impacting many people, in many different positive and negative ways.
How did you become interested in writing? What do you enjoy most about being a writer?
I started writing at a very young age, after I read practically every book in our small town library several times over. I love the freedom to dream about topics that inspire passionate thoughts, and the resulting energy that lets me create, seemingly without bounds. (Sounds like a damn writer, doesn’t it?)
Why did you become a lawyer? What do you enjoy most about the profession?
I wanted to put bad guys in jail. I have had enough opportunities to do that, and have done that, but mostly I’ve been a commercial litigator, and I have been fortunate to have a career filled with wide and deep diversity of legal issues, fact patterns, clients, industries, and personalities.
Art and lawyering seem to draw on very different skills and different parts of the brain. How do you think being a lawyer helps your art, or vice versa?
Being a (non-fiction) story-teller for my day job, I think writing fiction helps develop a lawyer’s ability to make seemingly dry cases pop with relevance. I think practicing law helps write fiction because it gives you a wealth of material that you can (and usually should) change to make an even more powerful impact. I love that fiction allows me to do something I can’t do as a lawyer… use one of my favorite sayings: “Never let the facts get in the way of a good story.”
Tell us briefly about your background as a writer and as an attorney.
I have been practicing law since 1992, mostly with large firms. Outside the practice of law, I have been writing only for myself and from time to time for a select few people whom I felt might enjoy a particular piece or two. This is the first contest I have ever entered.