What would you like to tell readers about yourself?
* Author Diane Sager was raised and resides in the San Francisco Bay Area with her awesome husband Russ, three dogs, two cats and an African grey parrot named Storm. She holds a fascination for all things macabre and has developed a deep knowledge of serial killers, vampires, zombies, the Tarot, world religions, witchcraft, horror and the occult.
* However, her latest indie release, SUMMER OF HAIGHT ‘67 is none of the above albeit a little supernatural……..This story is nestled between her zombie series “EVIL VEIN” published by Permuted Press and penned under her “apocalyptic” name of D.S.Sager
* A former high school teacher of emotionally disturbed and high-risk youth, Diane is now dedicated to full time writing.
How do you handle balancing life and writing?
* Hi Casey, great question and the first time I’ve been asked this! But, I’m still fairly new to being a published author so I don’t get interviewed a lot.
* I guess I’m very lucky as I can concentrate on my writing every day. My husband goes off to work and I have my daily routines……I eat breakfast, feed the dogs and cats and my African Grey parrot. I also feed about 6 more stray cats (not the band) that live on a vacant lot next door. I know !! But I feel sorry for them so I throw some cat food over the fence twice a day. It makes me feel good :)
* Dr. Phil makes an appearance and then I get down to work. I can put a good six hours into my writing each day. I have a few projects going on right now; volume 2 in my EVIL VEIN series is up next. It’s called Divide & Multiply and it carries on where volume one left off. A crazed scientist created a serum to try and cure his beloved, cancer stricken wife. It all went wrong and he unleashed his genetics altering drug on marine life. A mutated crab/scorpion , dubbed a “scrabion” can turn humans into zombies. It’s a struggle for survival by various eclectic characters. Some you will love and some…… not so. This will publish next week….yay.
* Volume 3 will complete the EVIL VEIN series by fall of this year.
* I finally found the time to re-write my vampire novel from 2000. I never published it and it sat in a box for many years……vampire? box? Really? ………
* It doesn’t have a title yet but my awesome editor Felicia A Sullivan has it in her busy schedule, and we hope to have it published before summer. I’m also writing an anthology of short horror stories. I have 4 out of 5 written and the 5th is under way.
* As for balance, if there is any…….I try to do my housework and laundry before my husband gets home and we spend our evenings catching up on our TV shows. We also like to go out with friends for dinner and drinks. We love hockey and football. I don’t like baseball or basketball and golf is like watching paint dry……..
* Oh, and I try, I really do try to walk on my treadmill every day!
How did you become a writer and what inspired you in regard to the story you're promoting.
* I have made up stories in my head ever since I was a small child and I wrote sporadically throughout high school and university. I wrote a vampire novel in 2000, which I mentioned earlier, but I never seriously tried to get it published.
* As a busy high school teacher of emotionally disturbed and high risk youth, it didn’t leave me much time to write but then I made the move to full time writing about 5 years ago. My husband is a great support to me as I follow this dream. He reads my rough chapters and has to endure endless conversations about my characters and plots.
* Regarding SUMMER OF HAIGHT ’67, it took me 15 months to complete, and research was a way of life during that time. It’s the most intense and yet the most rewarding research I have ever done. I think of it as one huge history lesson. Thank the Gods for Google and YouTube!
* It’s a supernatural time-travel book of sorts which involves a 66 year old KATHERINE RHODES getting into a tragic accident that hurls her back in time to 1967. She wakes up back in her 20 year old hippie body in the Haight/Ashbury district of San Francisco. As many of you know, 1967 in the Haight/Ashbury became known around the world as “The Summer of Love” She gets to re-live this era of hippies, free love, drugs, music, politics and protests, with a wealth of knowledge and the opportunity to right some wrongs.
* It’s all fiction but I wanted the setting to be 100% authentic. I immersed myself in the 60’s hippie culture and spent hours and hours on research. The book is factually correct. I listened to music from the late 60’s constantly, particularly the psychedelic era. I even bought a record player (remember those?) I got my old LP’s out and bought even more from eBay…….. Grateful Dead, Big Brother & the Holding Company, Jimi Hendrix, The Charlatans, Country Joe and the Fish, to name but a few. There are Hells Angels, Black Panthers, political unrest and a horrific war in Vietnam. I wrote and researched constantly during the 15 months it took me to complete it. I wore hippie clothes and I even found myself saying 60’s words. I stopped at the drug scene though. It’s just not my bag!
* I also have some first-hand experience to back up my research. As a very small child my parents drove me through the Haight district to look at the “freaks” as my Dad called them. I saw them dance around adorned with flowers and beads, obviously high as a kite but I didn’t know that at the time!
* Janis Joplin is in my book a lot and I watched as much video footage of her and her band as I could find. There is some awesome footage on YouTube of her singing at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967. My husband and I even visited the fairgrounds in Monterey to get the feel of the place. I read every book I could find on Janis and even Peter Coyote’s “Sleeping where I fall” based on the same period in time. Peter helped found “The Diggers” who fed the homeless hordes of hippie drop-outs in San Francisco in 1967.
* I’m also lucky enough to still live less than an hour away from San Francisco, so my husband and I would go there and see where Janis Joplin or Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead lived. We drank in the Dogpatch saloon near the Hells Angels HQ. On another occasion my daughter and I rode the bus from the top of Haight Street to the Hells Angels house, all in the cause of authenticity. KATIE and her friends FROG and MOONBEAM travel this route in my book to attend a Hells Angels party.
* I wanted to take my readers back nearly 50 years and be sure it was authentic, especially those that are too young to have been there. Even the weather is accurate in the book – I checked.
* There’s a saying, “if you can remember the 60’s you weren’t really there” I think it was quoted by Paul Kantner of Jefferson Airplane. I take my readers back to the real deal so they WILL remember it.
* Soooooooooo, it was fun to research, fun to write and so far it’s fun seeing people enjoy it and tell me about it. Summer is coming, PLEASE take the time to read this book. I know you will love it.
A look into the story
* A brown chenille bedspread covered the couch. There was a basic wooden coffee table, several antique lamps, one in the corner and another on an old table by a beveled window. The hardwood floor of the room was covered by an imitation Persian carpet.
* The walls and even the ceilings were filled with posters; old bands like the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Big Brother and the Holding Company, the Yardbirds, and even the Monkees. Some were drug related, promoting marijuana, mushrooms and LSD. Others were political, protesting the Vietnam War, even including a caricature of Lyndon B. Johnson dressed as John Wayne.
* On the ceiling directly above her was a poster of Clint Eastwood draped in a poncho, cigar resting on his lip. A pose from For a Few Dollars More. She knew the film well. Beside it were several blacklight posters, psychedelic peace symbols, a hookah smoking caterpillar, and an assortment of twirling colorful designs.
* The television, an old tube model from yesteryear, was in a wooden cabinet covered by stickers: STP; two local radio stations, KLIV and KFRC; Champion spark plugs; bare feet and peace symbols of various colors. Beside that was a flower painted guitar case that leaned against the wall. Everything in the room was familiar. She knew this house. She had been here many, many times, so why couldn’t she remember whose house she was in?
Buy Summer of Haight 67 here...
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Thank you for joining us here today, Diane Sager! It was a pleasure getting to know you and your story.
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