Today Sage Whistler is on the hot seat. Hi Sage and welcome. It’s great to have you here because I have been an admirer of your writing since I read Torn, your story about twins Joshua and Jaime Trinovantes. Obviously your writing has progressed a lot since then and we’ll talk about that later on in the interview.
Hey Wave, thanks for having me and I’m totally psyched to do this interview.
Why don’t you give us a little bit of information about Sage, the person and the writer?
Wow, be prepared for a snooze fest. I kid, I hope. When faced with this question I totally came to realize how boring my life is at the moment. I think I became a writer because I needed to live dangerously and vicariously through my characters. They do all the things I wish I had half the courage to do. Not the twincest part. First off, I don’t have a twin. Secondly, I’ll leave the twincest to fiction. But I digress. In real life I am extremely introverted, which I hear, is quite common among authors. I’m not shy. That’s a total introverted myth. I’ve kind of gotten to the point where I will say what needs to be said even if my voice shakes. Writing for me started at about age nine. I really struggled with reading early on, but once I got the hang of it I absorbed any and everything I could get my hands on. I learned about sex extremely early, and raided my aunt’s book shelf. The first romance I ever picked up was Johanna Lindsey, but even though she was considered ‘racy’ back in the 1990’s I still knew that the purple prose was killing the hell out of me.
Funny story and this will be quick, I promise: During my first year of college I discovered e-books at New Concepts Publishing. Only, I didn’t know what e-books were so I was reading all these excerpts and writing down the names of the titles and authors. (I was in the college library. I did not have my own computer.) Like a criminal, I printed up excerpts from the stories against library policy and secreted them away to my house to reread them. Later, I went to a Walden’s bookstore with my list of authors and books. Remember, I had no idea what e-books were so I figured you could find them in the store. I went up to the cashier and had her look up about twenty different authors. She kept telling me that she couldn’t find anything. I left that day totally disappointed. Later on, when I learned that you could only buy this stuff online I was embarrassed but still excited I could get my hands on them. Then I realized I was going to need a debit card.
What can you tell us about yourself that few people know. (The fact that you like the movies is not a good answer)*g*
Okay, I’ll share three secrets…
1. I was going to be a veterinarian until I realized I don’t like spiders and snakes. I don’t like rabbits either. I suspect there is something going on behind those beady little eyes. When it comes to snakes and spiders I have an uncontrollable urge to defend myself. I don’t think I could explain to a client that I beat their tarantula to death with my shoe because he scared the beejeezus out of me. Vet’s are supposed to love all animals, yes? (Okay, so I had aspirations of being a vet when I was like five.)
2. I’m a virgin. There, I said it. Surprised? Told you I was pretty boring. I bet I just messed up like five of your questions with that statement. Yeah, when folks ask me why I write gay fiction I just tell them it wouldn’t be any different for me if I wrote heterosexual fiction. I’d still have to make things up. I pretty much picked up everything I know from reading and research. I’ve researched everything from the prostate to Brittle Bones disease—which, by the way, I have not yet used in a story, but may occur later on, in the distant future.
3. Until I was born the doctors thought I was going to be a boy. So, my mom named me Markese. Only after my birth did I get saddled with the name I have now, and no, it’s not Sage. I’m afraid to ask what they saw down there during the ultrasound so I couldn’t tell you about the mix up. To hear my mom tell it, for a number of years, the doctor was right.
Have you always wanted to write? Why?
Yes. I’ve always wanted to write because I’ve had stories in my head. Watching movies and reading other people’s work made me want to tell my own story. I’ve always wanted to write, but I haven’t always wanted to do so professionally. In fact, I was very hesitant to get published when Cacoethes made me an offer. For one thing, I didn’t think I was on par with other writers. I wrote for fun. I wrote mostly to amuse myself and my followers on the fanfiction site where I started. Then I thought about how bad I would feel if I never took up the courage to walk through the door that had been opened to me. I’ve had a few regrets with publishing, but actually getting my work out there has never been one of them.
Is the thrill of writing still as great now that you have been writing for a while? Is it as fun as you thought it would be?
Writing is still as fun as it was when I started. The only part that kills me is ‘staying power’ I am so easily bored, even with my own work, that I might abandon a project for weeks and then come back to it with a fresh eye. I’m working on what my beta partner calls ‘grinding’. (I wonder if Sage knows that “grinding” means something different to some people?*g*) Even when your brain skips to something you think is more interesting—which mine often does—you’ve got to stick with what you’ve started. If I had more ‘staying power’ or self-discipline as some of you might call it, I dare say I’d have about twenty books out right now. My computer and notebooks are bursting at the seams with potentials.
Of all your books, which is your personal favorite and why?
My personal favorite is Broken, which has not been released yet. Well, actually, it probably will be today. It’s my favorite because I think it reflects how far I’ve come as a writer. There are a lot of things I would have changed in Torn if I knew then what I know now. Broken is a redemption of sorts. It’s what my first twin book could have been.
Aside from the redemption of my twin novels, I like Broken best because I absolutely adore Tristan and Gabriel. I think they are pretty hot, and I challenged myself to give the boys bigger problems than just the fact that they are twins.
What do you love most about writing?
Creation. Without a doubt. I have always balked at being boxed in. I’ve never wanted to be like everyone else. I can remember being the only child, and I grew up with my sister and two stepsisters, that wouldn’t wear the same outfit. Everyone would be wearing stripes and I’d put on a plain shirt and stick out. So, naturally, when folks said, “Wow, I could never read or write about twins.” I said, “Why not?” It’s fiction. Twincest is severely underrated. It’s the elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about ‘first’, but if that elephant suddenly got recognition and you could pay for rides, everyone would be lining up to buy tickets. By doing what I love I hope to encourage others to write outside the box.
Is there a particular reason that you write about men in love with each other, including some pretty explicit sex in the books? Personally I think that two guys are hot and three are even hotter.:)
I agree. And in the future I will be writing several threesomes. I write what I think is sexy. About five years ago, and that would have made me eighteen, I was writing purple prose, because I thought that was how it was done. A year after that I discovered erotica and I was instantly hooked. Two and a half years ago gay fiction roared onto the scene in the ebook world at least. My first book was Jet Mykles’ Heaven Sent. I quickly gobbled up everything there was to be had with the word ‘gay’ in it. I even bought m/m/f in my desperate attempt to get my fix. Ignore the part where I sound like a junkie. When there was nothing left to read I wrote my own. My first gay fiction story was called “Swan”. I didn’t even finish it. I might dust it off some day and make some changes. For right now, I’ve got a full load of characters waiting in line.
I’d also like to add that I think I identify with men more than women. It’s not that I think I’m a man, I just don’t think like a lot of the women I know. I’ve always been the only girl in an all boy crowd, whether it was at school or on the basketball court. Yes, I played ball with the boys and I was probably the most aggressive player. So naturally, I wrote what I think I handled best.
Tell us about your new release by Total-e-bound – Broken.
Broken is rated Taboo at TEB because it centers around the loss and love of identical twin brothers Tristan and Gabriel. I find the dynamic of having someone that looks just like you but is your complete opposite fascinating. Also, built into a twinship, (and it doesn’t have to turn into a sexual relationship) is having someone who understands you and perhaps knows you better than anyone else. Twins have a built in companion, someone their age that knows what it’s like to go through life in that exact frame of time. I wanted to explore in Broken what happens when that bond is suddenly fractured. How much uncertainty and fear do brothers who have never known life without each other face? In Torn the brothers were almost so much alike that they blended together, but Tristan and Gabriel are different from the start. The lines blur a little toward the end where they almost switch roles, but I thought that would be interesting too.
Your futuristic/sci fi book G-Strain has a totally different concept than a lot of sci fi books. What can you tell us about it?
I can tell you that G-Strain came into existence after I read another heterosexual sci fi book where a woman was taken from Earth and needed to breed for some alien race. Now, I’m not coming down on authors that write such works. I’ve enjoyed my share, but as I said before, I like to break out of the box. I thought to myself, why does the alien race always need a woman? There were no such stories about men. I wanted to write one, so I had to start brainstorming about ‘why’ a man would be taken. Obviously, he can’t add to the population unless he were taken by women. I found the answer in the g-strain. There are no rules that say a man or woman from Earth had to have started there. Jared and Kenano are the offspring of the very race that comes to claim them later, and because they carry the g-strain they are prime candidates for mating on Lykur. I also didn’t want to make this a damsel in distress/swooning-maiden story. Jared and Kenano are no wilting flowers. They fight back. They fight alongside their men.
I’m a big Sci Fi fanatic. G-Strain can make readers squeamish when it comes to the ukaii. I was going for the shock factor for that one. The ukaii look like tiny metal octopuses, for lack of a better description. What would have been tentacles on an octopus are called spindles on the ukaii and they go under the skin attaching themselves to pleasure centers and nerves. It’s the equivalent of a control or ownership collar. The Lykurgans own what is called the head, while the ‘tykhanni’ — what is known as the mate of a Lykurgan– host the body and tail, which answer to the head. Have I lost anyone yet? I don’t think this has been done in erotica/romance before, and I don’t think you’ll see it again. I do have plans for a long and hopefully fruitful series just as soon as my rights get reverted back to me.
When you write a story, what do you think are the most important elements to include?
When writing about the story I think there needs to be an element of suspense. Nothing big, but something that makes you sit a little closer to the edge of your seat. A lot of the time suspense is subtle. In 99% of books you’re wondering when the characters are finally going to fall all over each other or when the other shoe is going to drop and screw things up for a while.
Since its all about the characters, I think it’s important to establish the main players up front and stick with them. As a reader I get frustrated by sidetracking for minor plots and characters. When the main character isn’t in the picture and a minor character gets a major role I often scroll through the story looking for the MCs. I always want to know what is going on with the MCs, so when I write I try not to leave them out. They never take a backseat to a secondary character.
How has your writing evolved since you were first published?
Long story short: I’ve gotten better at pacing, plot, character development, and grammar…wait that’s everything, eh?
What I will say I need to work on more is description. I tend to gloss over the particulars, because I figure it will bore the pants off of people. For instance, I probably won’t describe the way a garden looks in detail. Folks already know what flowers look like. See, I need work? *g*
What book releases are coming up for you within the next 3 – 6 months?
I have so much planned and hopefully my first BDSM story will be available in that time frame. It’s called The Liar, and you can pretty much guess what the guy is in denial about.
Also, I hope to have my shapeshifting/werewolf novel finished and off to submissions by December.
I’m also working on a ménage at trois, western, steampunk, historical, gay fiction novel. What a mouthful? No pun intended. Okay, maybe just a little pun…
What’s next for Sage?
One of those apple turnovers from KFC. Agh, I’m supposed to be eating healthy. No, but seriously, more barrier breaking novels. I have one more twin book planned and then I’m hanging up my twincest hat. I’m not quite sure why I’ve limited myself. I guess I don’t want to be known as the biggest perv that has ever lived. I’d like to say, “Hey, I’ve only written three twincest novels. Not twenty.”
Also, after the debacle with Cacoethes is over I hope to have The Phirst Hunger, which is the sequel to G-Strain published, and G-Strain will be resubbed elsewhere.
You can look for me to spring up under more publishers as I am trying to spread out. I’ll probably always write gay fiction as Sage Whistler. If, and that is a tiny ‘if’ I go back to writing het it won’t be as Sage.
This is the part of the interview where we have a bit of fun and you can say whatever you like because it has nothing to do with writing (well, very little).:) By the way Sage, I totally appreciate all the pictures of hot guys that you keep sending me but I can’t post them on the Friday Guys because they have no clothes on and some of them are doing naughty things to each other. Do you think you could do better and send me clean pics of guys in the future? *g*
Clean pictures? Where is the fun in that? Can’t you get one of those ‘black boxy things’ and put them over the guy’s privates? :O)
So, what is it about twins that fascinates you? Do you have a thing for a threesome with twins?:)
I plead the fifth…for at least twenty seconds. Twins are HAWT! Whew, got that off my chest. My sells have pretty much proved that lots of folks agree. Twins are the forbidden fruit, and seriously, who doesn’t want to take a bite?
As for threesomes: Twin book number three might be a threesome. (I hope that means 3 guys, Sage, not two guys and a woman. Oh noes!) I’m still debating. However, when I first wrote Torn I said to myself, if I’m going to write twins I’m not going to water it down by pretending they are interested in the other guy. I’d read about three twin stories before I wrote my own. They were all threesomes. I kept thinking: This is great, but that other guy really needs to go.
I asked Treva Harte this question but she totally copped out. Would you like a guy with a guiche piercing? If so, when would you pull it? (the piercing, I mean) *g*
For a moment I confused guiche with the Prince Albert thing and I was about to run from the room screaming, but then I wiki’d guiche, I saw the picture and calmed down. Hell yes, and I would pull it with my teeth whenever his pants were off. Just because I’m a virgin doesn’t mean I’m innocent. : )
What kind of man (or woman) turns you on?
Djimon Honsou. Viggo Mortensen. Oded Fehr. Idris Alba. I like the quiet, intense guys. I like the men who seem thoughtful, confident, and seriously intelligent. As you can see I also like older men. I’m not attracted to pretty men. I like a man’s face to be lined with what I call experience: laugh lines around the mouth, tiny crow’s feet at the sides of the eyes. If a man can give me that intense, self-assured look I’ll roll over to get my tummy scratched. And the accent doesn’t hurt either. As you will notice three out of the four I mentioned have accents. Viggo sort of does too. I’m telling you they better never let me loose in Australia or Britain…Africa for that matter.
If you had the opportunity, which one of your characters would you like to have a fling with? Why?
I’d like a fling with Nurak from G-Strain. He’s an alien. *g* I like his intensity, his assurance, his impatience. Nothing is hotter to me than a man who is impatient to get his hands on…*cough*
Have you ever had sex in a public place and if so, were you caught? (Of course when I asked this question I had no idea that our little lassie here was a virgin):)
No. The closest I’ve come to a public flashing is when I walked out of a McDonald’s bathroom with my dress tucked into my underwear flashing all the customers for like two minutes until my cousin noticed and pulled it down. I was mortified.
When you write all of those hot sex scenes in your books do you get turned on? (Don’t lie!)
Honest, I don’t get turned on while I’m writing it. I think I must be thinking too hard. I’m not coming at it at from the point of view of sexy. However, when I go back and read it without the stress of deciding what happens next, I find it muy caliente. Then I know its perfecto.
Does your family know that you write smutty books?*g* What would the churchlady say?
My family knows. My mom was the hardest to tell. I told her for the longest time that I was writing romance but not that it was gay romance. She was totally cool with it. Momzell—my nickname for my mom—IS the churchlady and she won’t read my books. Although, she will show others the way if its their cup of tea.
When you’re not writing or working, what do you do for fun?
I have no free time right now. Bummer. But I’ll swing by the local Barnes and Nobles to get the rare paperback book—mostly horror or science fiction. I also like to hang out with friends and family. Normal stuff. I’m not a shopper in case ya’ll are wondering. I despise clothes shopping. I go into the store with the same mindset each time: Fifteen minutes is all I’m giving yah.
Thank you Sage
Thanks for having me, Wave. It’s been fun.
Sage is donating a copy of her new ebook Broken by random draw to a reader who comments on her interview.
Sage Whistler’s Contact Information