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Interview with Sage Doyle

Tell us about your latest book.
Currently I’m in the submission stage of publication.  The book that’s out there is The Opera and it’s about Jack Mariano, an A-list actor, the hero type who genuinely exhibits an image of perfection.  He gets caught up in a relationship that could destroy his career.  The genre is literary/mainstream fiction and it is character centered with a focus on realism.  My stories are all about the psychology of a character.  I try to make whole characters and then challenge them to make difficult choices or react to often traumatic scenarios.  I like humor so there is a little relief, but mostly my stories have a blatant darkness to them, or a dangerous aspect that is a threat to the main character’s potential outcome.  I often don’t know how the books will end, so I can’t imagine that the outcomes would be predictable by any foreshadowing within the contexts.  In The Opera, Jack worked hard for his status; he earned it with effort and because his natural persona is amiable, charming, and sincere.  He begins to make choices as a result of not only this new relationship, but also personal matters in his recent past that concern him as a celebrity.  These choices could destroy his career and his integrity.  He is challenged because he is finding that he is being less true to himself, and his own moral judgments in the situation gradually become less clear to him.  He only wants to do what is right, but he has no idea what that is.  I know the description is vague, but I don’t want to give away too much in terms of plot since it hasn’t yet been accepted for publication.

What advice do you have for other writers?
I’m in the midst of what advice I would give.  In other words, I learned that agents and publishers most often won’t pay much attention to your work unless they can find your name online.  Basically that means you need to create an online presence, a platform.  Also, I’m using a penname, and all of my professional social media is under that name.  It makes no sense to get known under one name only to try and publish under another.  Get out there and blog and use whatever social and professional media sites you’re willing to get involved with.  I find blogging to be the most rewarding experience so far in my life as a writer.  The community is supportive and dedicated.  My satisfaction with blogging is immense enough that if I’m never published, it won’t jeopardize the rewards I get from being a part of that community.  I’m writing and people who don’t even know me personally are reading my work and commenting on it.  That’s amazing to me.  I write to share what I have to say, and I have readers.  That’s the biggest part of being a writer.

What’s the best thing about being a writer?
Apart from how I answered the last question, I like being in that world of writers, because I think we really do exist in a different realm.  I enjoy experiencing life, all the good and bad in it, and being able to translate that into words.  An artist might look at a beautiful landscape and see a display of colors and shapes unique to him/her, and I see that too, then transform it into language.  Everything can become the written word.  I’m fascinated by words and wordplay.

Where can people find out more about you and your writing?
I have two blogs, Facebook, a Facebook Author Page, & Twitter.
Sage Doyle Fiction & Poetry blog http://www.sagedoyle.wordpress.com I write a lot of poetry.  The archives go far back, so I plan to create a page that chronicles them in a more accessible manner.  I also post random pieces of fiction, short fiction, excerpts from novels, and I do various things on the blog that involve interaction with the blogging community.

“The Journal of Wall Grimm” a fictional journal blog http://www.wallgrimm.wordpress.com I’m going to talk a little bit about this story and the blog below when I answer another question.

Twitter @sagedoyle

Gravatar pic for Sage Doyle
Who is your favorite character in your book and why?
My favorite character in The Opera is Sable partly because he came to be out of my all-time favorite character that I ever created.  Amon-Re was the original character.  I had given up writing while I was going to grad school, only because I didn’t have the time for it.  My last semester before graduating, I began thinking about Amon-Re, wanting to get back to writing and doing something with his story.  As I envisioned alternative scenarios and incorporating new people for him to interact with, he evolved into a completely different character and Sable was born.  I like Sable because he amuses me and he’s kind of irritating in an innocent way.  He embodies survival, though the survival is of the most extreme circumstances.

Why do you think readers are going to enjoy your book?
I think part of what might interest readers is the depiction of a celebrity as a real person and his constant struggle to avoid having his personal life exploited publicly.  Jack is a character that, even though he is a celebrity, he’s very identifiable, and readers will be able to understand his choices, whether or not they agree with them, since he does make mistakes.

How do you research your books?
Most of my themes come from my own personal experiences, whether I went through the situations directly or indirectly.  I’ve traveled a lot and met countless people from various degrees of life and with extremely diverse histories.  My stories are about real life, though they usually focus on a dark side of reality that is less mainstream.  The research comes in when I want to verify facts.  I do that through internet sources, books, and phone calls to question professionals.  Regarding the internet, you can’t just use one source, because some information is unreliable.  You have to be able to filter through the misinformation.

What is your work in progress?  Tell us about it.
Wall Grimm is a 24 year old guy who has various crazy experiences, is in love with a girl he’s afraid he’ll never get, has had a problem with drugs and alcohol, struggles with trying to be responsible but is fighting against himself.  He’s just a regular person, a normal 23/24 year old guy going through the motions in a humorous and sometimes painful way.  His story is written in journal format and therefore it’s written as if no one else would ever read it.  As a result, he’s honest, self-absorbed, intense, and vulgar.  This blog is rated R. 

Wall Grimm began on the first blog, but it’s been an ongoing series that was taking over so I just started a blog for him.  I’m in the process of transferring all the old stuff over there by way of two or three posts per day.  I’m still writing new posts, less often, on the Sage Doyle blog.  Once I catch up with the current, it will solely exist on the Wall Grimm blog.  Then I will begin my next novel, which is already outlined, but I don’t want to give the premise away yet.

What books or authors have most influenced your life?
John Fowles, Dickens, and Shelley have been the most influential for me, especially The Magus by John Fowles.  I have a B.A. in Literature and I enjoy the classics.  I’m fascinated by the brilliance and skill of Neil Gaiman and I want to tap into his brain.  Philosophers and existentialists have been a huge part of my analytical and symbolic part of writing.  I got interested in psychology very early on, so I’ve read a lot of psychological works and I have a Master’s degree in psychology.  I think it’s important to understand human nature and the human psyche if you want to create whole characters.  I believe if a character isn’t real, then the story isn’t plausible.

When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?
When I’m not writing, I like to read, people watch, hike, and go camping.  Hiking is my favorite pastime.  Otherwise, I’m a homebody.  I used to travel and have all sorts of crazy adventures, but I don’t do that anymore.  I still like to travel but on a lesser scale.  My past is always with me, inspiring many stories, and I haven’t yet fully utilized the resources of my own history.

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