From Libor to interest rate swaps, the bond market rarely sounds all that sexy. But now a former star trader has captured its steaminess in writing.
Valerie Thompson, a former syndicate manager at Salomon Brothers, was famously described as an “alley cat” in Michael Lewis’ "Liar's Poker." Now she has written her own literary opus, which her publisher calls a “racy tale … about debt and dysfunction, deception, lust, and old fashioned love.”
"Laws of Contrition," published in March, is the story of bond trader and mother Tanya Pryce, who works for a testosterone-filled American investment bank in London alongside a cast of foul-mouthed bankers. Tanya juggles family obligations, a backstabbing coworker and an office crush, all as the 2008 financial crisis unfolds.
Thompson says that the bodice-ripper isn’t autobiographical, although she borrowed from her own life in creating the tough-as-nails Tanya.
“There are some emotional similarities, but Tanya’s a lot more brazen and confident than I am. I did think ‘Yes! Go for it, girl,’ a fair few times when I was writing, so maybe she’s the woman I wanted to be,” she told American Banker in an email on Monday.
Thompson left Salomon Brothers, now owned by Citigroup (NYSE: C), in 1987. She works as a life coach and consultant on the south coast of England, where she moved to start writing the novel in the summer of 2004.
The book has “obviously had lots of re-writes, a major one after the debt crisis, and along the way I wrote a self-help book and became a coach to earn some money, but I came to the coast to write this novel,” she wrote.
She added that she’s wanted to be a writer since childhood: “My creative yearnings had always been there.”
So far, the book has sold “hundreds” of copies, according to Thompson.
The novel and its author were also featured earlier this month in International Financing Review.