Meet Holly Rozner and discover her TRADE SECRETS with giveaway


Thank you, Holly, for taking the time to visit Manic Readers.

I understand you were there, on the floor, during the financial crash of October, 19, 1987.  Did you realize at the time that you were an active participant in history?

Absolutely not. I was so busy swallowing Advil to stop the headache I got every time I made a trade that I hardly had time to eat. Exhausted and crazed all the time. It’s almost impossible to know you will be part of history until you are many years past an event. Even those who lived through 9/11 weren’t thinking about how it would be viewed years later. They were just trying to save their lives or the lives of others in the moment. 

How difficult was it for you, personally, to have the position you held at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange?

It was both challenging and very difficult. I was in an all-male world and they hated me. I wasn’t a big position trader and the guys, many of whom were fifteen years younger than I, thought I belonged in the kitchen or shopping at Saks. It was also a very physical job, so my back caved and I would come home wiped. The experience, however, taught me how to think on my feet and how not to take no for an answer.  

Do you ever miss it?

I missed it a lot when I left. I resigned as a trader because the markets became institutional and it was not smart for me to stay. The reward was not worth the risk, something that has stayed with me. That’s an important lesson in life and it keeps people from making stupid decisions. 

With all the scandals & scams we’ve seen in the past few years, in your professional opinion, can accountability, transparency, and law/regulation abiding trading be established while working within a capitalistic free enterprise system?

No. But I am still an advocate of free enterprise.  



Why did you feel it necessary to write TRADE SECRETS?

I was fascinated with the world of trading. The rush of adrenaline trying to catch a winning trade is probably close to taking a Broadway bow. Well, maybe not quite that sexy. After the crash of 1987 I knew I had a story. When the Feds came on the trading floor masquerading as traders, there was a full-fledged Hollywood script. I felt compelled to write it even though I was rejected by just about every New York agent in business.  

Not hard to imagine why…

Being witness to these events certainly gives veracity to TRADE SECRETS, making it more interesting for readers.  How difficult was it to get the financial aspects to a point outsiders could relate to and understand?

This did take some hard work. One of my very smart friends read the book before it went to print and she was specific about what she did not understand, so I reworked a lot of it and had her read it again and then again until she felt that a general audience would get it. Most people can enjoy the story without understanding all of the nuances, but I do know that it can be frustrating to think you are in the dark when you should not be.  I hope that in the process of making everything clearer I didn’t become too redundant. Many times, it was just a question of saying the same thing in a slightly different way.  

TRADE SECRETS has been described as Fifty Shades with a financial angle.  Plenty of people think money is sexy but those characters aren’t generally sympathetically portrayed. Was it hard to portray these characters in this setting and keep them (most of them) sympathetic?

I think that Jason becomes sympathetic because he has been used and because he finally cracks under the strain. He is not an arrogant man. Just rich and very lucky for a while. Sarna, one of the two women who are the lead characters, becomes sympathetic when she reaches out to save the day for everyone else. She is my favorite because she is soooo sexy and totally not like me. And Joey begets sympathy because he was always an underdog and even though he is driven by the dream of money, there is nothing in him that is bad.  

How do you balance the intelligence with the sex?  Was it difficult?

Not really hard to do because Sarna was never stupid, just greedy; her segue into the temptress was as natural for her as it would have been impossible for Remy, who is the heady one.  

Did you intend for your women characters to use sex as a weapon and be “the power behind the throne” so to speak?

Not at all. This story originally had the two women practically at each other’s throats fighting overJason. The end of this story, as it is written, came much later. I have no idea where it came from because the possibility of Sarna seducing the person she has to seduce is off the charts, I would have to say that that scene wrote itself. (though I do remember rewriting it about 80 times.)  

You started writing TRADE SECRETS not long after the real life event.  Why did it take so long?

It took a long time because the book was immediately picked up by a New York agent who thought it would be a best-seller. Instead there were problems getting it published because the big houses thought it was too complicated for women and therefore not a candidate for paperback, and not strong enough for hardcover. There were also questions about how Remy could have fallen in love with someone as stupid as Jason. Once the book was rejected and that agent gave up on it, I was so distressed I did nothing with it for many years. When I finally went back to it years later, I could see it required a complete rewrite. It required changing the love angle and someone else suggested the Harry Saks back story that gave it a whole new dimension. I think that worked well because the narrative is driven by the mystery.  

Were your women characters always strong or was that one of the elements that evolved over the years?  What about the unlikely friendship between Remy and Sarna?

Remy was always strong and serious. Sarna was originally very greedy and vacuous. She didn’t change much. I think her evolution in this version is very important and the relationship between the two women becomes a story of solidarity. It offers an arena for women to find friendship and success in unlikely places and very unlikely situations.  

How does the “solitary nature” of writing compare to your career in the financial world?

I think they are both internal solitary professions. You cannot have lunch over a trade. You just make up your mind to do it or not. No one can really tell you if you are going to be wrong. And writing is, of course, an internal process. Absolutely no one can do it for you or it is a forgery. Both are authentic careers, though worlds apart.   

Do you have an all-time favorite book?

The Great Gatsby. It’s perfectly constructed. Do you know that the characters enter and exit in the same order? Fitzgerald was simply amazing. 

Read it years ago but that never registered.


Mildred Pierce. What an awful daughter. Can you imagine?

Would rather not, honestly…Sharper than a serpent’s tooth…

How do you relax?

I play an enormous amount of bridge and last week became a Life Master. I walk, even though I find it boring. I play occasional golf, but only in very good weather and only with people I really like. My favorite time is spent with my grandchildren. They are the best.  

Do you have a WIP and are you able to share any details?

It’s a story about mothers and daughters and is based on a Shakespearean tragedy. Wanna guess?  

Sounds promising….

Is there anything special we can look forward to from you in the near future?

Not so near. This will be a complex story. And the next book is not looking too sexy, but I guess I better add more of that because that seems to be the center of the universe right now. 

I hope so 

Thank you for taking the time to visit with Manic Readers,Holly.

Thank you!

Manic Readers is fortunate to have a print copy of TRADE SECRETS to give away to a lucky commenter.   Take a stab at guessing which Shakespeare tragedy Holly’s  WIP  is based on and you could be the lucky recipient. Giveaway ends @12am est 12-4-12. Winner randomly drawn & announced shortly thereafter.  Good luck!

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7 comments to Meet Holly Rozner and discover her TRADE SECRETS with giveaway

  • MacBeth, I hope :)Holly, congratulations on the release of Trade Secrets…now it’s in my tbr list.
    minadecaro (at) hotmail (dot) com

  • I think it might be “Romeo and Juliet”.
    Thanks for the contest.
    Good luck on your books.

  • Hmmm…could be Romeo & Juliet?? Juliet’s mother wanted her to marry Paris! Your release of Trade Secrets is quite an accomplishment; my tbr list is getting longer.
    Thank you for the contest!

  • Angela Sanders

    It very well could be another Rommeo and Juliet!! I can’t wait to read Trade Secrets,I think it is going to be a great read!! Thanks for the contest!!

  • Mary Preston

    TRADE SECRETS looks like a great read.

    I’m going to say that your WIP is based on KING LEAR.


  • Sally Riley

    I can’t believe all you went through to get your book published. The comment that alluded to it being too difficult for women to understand must have made your blood boil for a while. I’d choose “As You Like It” for your Shakespearean base. I look forward to reading Trade Secrets.

  • bn100

    Is it the Merchant of Venice? Nice interview.