I had the honor of reviewing an ARC of Saje for Deborah Panger. So please grab your favorite coffee, sit down, relax, and listen in as I ask Deborah some questions about her book and life in general.
Thank you Deborah for taking the time to answer some of my questions. I have to say that I love the cover of Saje, the model is hot! Can you start off by telling the readers a little about Saje?
Hi, Danielle. Thanks for having me. I really appreciate it. Yep, that cover model is one yummy guy, and unfortunately, I have no idea who he is. Perhaps one day I will be lucky enough to meet him. Saje tells the story of a lonely woman who wakes up on May Day to find a naked male with wings standing in her dining room. Instead of fleeing for her life, she’s drawn to him and ends up making whoopee with him atop her table. She thinks it’s a one night stand, but afterward he will not leave.
When I read Saje one of the first things I noticed about him was how selfish he seemed. It was all about me, me, me. Eventually we get to see a different side of him but up to a certain point he is a little on the immature side as far as his emotional development goes. Did you expect him to be this selfish? Why or why not?
Not really. My characters tend to write themselves. They’re stubborn and have minds of their own. I’ll try to direct them but they seldom listen. When I began writing Saje, all I knew was that he would be a Woodland Fairy. After that, he took over and wrote himself.
Amanda is so sad in the beginning. I know for myself at least there has been a point in my life where my heart was broken, or at least felt broken. With this in mind, were you hoping your readers could connect to Amanda in an emotional bond?
Yes. Most women, including me, can relate to her from our own personal experiences. The sorrow and depression you go through when a relationship ends can be a very painful time. Amanda is a part of me. She has several of my personality characteristics. I’ve actually written parts of my life into this story. I’m originally from Cloquet, MN and recall as a very small child, playing in the woods behind my grandparent’s home. I was five years old when we moved away, yet I recall celebrating May Day like I describe in Amanda’s memories at the beginning of the story.
You used some very descriptive words to describe Amanda’s feelings as well as the places around her. Do you use any type of stimuli while writing?
I usually have a candle burning and my min pin, Gizmo Killer, lying at my feet. The only sound is from the TV that my husband is watching in another room. I normally don’t listen to music while writing because I find it distracts me. I end up listening to songs and not paying attention to anything else.
While reading Saje, I became aware of how in tuned Amanda is with nature. There is a feeling of discontent when she cannot hear the birds, the wind, or feel the sun on her face. Did you base these characteristics on anyone you know?
Me. I’m a lot like her. I love nature. We have a bird-feeder in our front yard and I enjoy watching them. We also have wild rabbits and a lot of turtles.
Saje cracked me up with his attitude. There is such an air of egotism about him, the type of man that women love to hate. Why a fairy? Any other fantasy characters you like to write about?
I love fairies and I collect them. You should see my house, figurines all over the place. I don’t know how my hubby puts up with it. I even have a Tinkerbell bathroom but he doesn’t use it. He has his own Miami Dolphins bathroom. I normally write about the fae, but I do have one story swirling through my brain about a witch that steals a young boy away and raises him in order to alter his destiny of becoming a warrior who will eventually slay her. Hopefully one day, I’ll get to working on it.
I do not want to give too much of this story away, but I have to ask this question. There is a certain “jerk” mentioned who Saje wants to beat up. I was all for that and if it makes me a bad person, oh well. LOL. I was really hoping there would be a confrontation between them. Why wasn’t there?
I wanted to keep it as whimsical as I could and I thought a confrontation would take away from the charm of my storyline. Also, I thought it would detract from the two main characters, so I chose not to have them meet.
I got a sense from Amanda that due to her ex’s unfaithfulness there was a feeling of unworthiness. Not that she was unworthy, just how she felt. Most women do feel less than perfect or feel like they cannot measure up. I don’t agree with this assessment but unfortunately when a woman is cheated on this usually runs through her mind. Did you plan on this emotional unhappiness to show to the readers?
To tell you the truth, not really. Here’s another example of characters writing themselves.
Let’s talk a little about your life. Your website www.deborahpanger.com mentions you are married and live in Mississippi. How long have you been married?
My husband, James, and I have been married for 10 years. I have one son from a previous marriage and four step-children, all grown.
You also sculpture fantasy dolls out of clay, which can be seen here: www.geocities.com/deborahmacklinpanger. What does it feel like when you have created a work of art not by a pen but by your two hands?
It feels wonderful and amazes me that I can create a doll out of my bare hands. I stumbled upon the art on eBay. I have no ability to draw, but for some reason I found I could shape clay. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to sculpt for quite a while due to pain in my hands. I hope to get back to it one day. The craft is very compelling and there are some amazing artists so much better than I could ever dream to be.
Your website also mentions your favorite music is Bon Jovi, which I have to say I love as well. Do you have a favorite song by him?
All of them, lol, but I’m especially fond of ‘’The Distance’, ‘In These Arms’, ‘Lie to Me’ and ‘Mystery Train’. I’ve loved them since the late 80’s and try to attend a show whenever they go on tour. You have wonderful taste, by the way.
Your novel Saje is fantasy. Do you have any other genres you have written in or would like to?
My first novel was a historical fiction, Punished Desire. I had never written anything in my life and decided one day to write a book. You can still find it on the net, but I have to warn you that it is full of mistakes and my writing wasn’t that great at the time. But still, I love its storyline and am proud that I was able to finish a story with no prior history of doing so.
I don’t want to make this interview depressing, but I wanted to say congratulations to being a breast cancer survivor. You have to take every day one day at a time and not take your time for granted, that is for sure. What helped you cope with your fight against the cancer?
My faith in God, family and friends. I had a wonderful support system that helped me through the initial diagnosis, mastectomy and chemotherapy. I really feel for those that have to go through it alone. I can’t even imagine. Breast cancer has really touched my immediate family. One of my sisters was diagnosed a year after I was and my mother is now going through a biopsy on a suspicious area. We are fighters, and we’re keeping a positive attitude. That’s the key to getting through treatment. One thing I’ve learned is that there is life after Breast Cancer. In fact, I worked on a lot of Saje while going through my chemo. I’m proud and blessed to say that I’m currently 10 months cancer free.
Now I am going to ask a couple of just for fun questions.
If you could be any type of character, whether you have written about it or not, what would it be and why? And your husband, what would you consider him?
Me? A fairy cause I love them. And my husband would be a police officer, detective or a sheriff. I have no earthly idea why. I just can picture him as one. He loves to watch all the CSI shows.
And one last question for you that I like to ask all of my interviewees. In keeping with the Coffee Time theme, if you were described as a flavor of coffee, what would it be and why?
Coffee with lots of French vanilla creamer, because me and my husband drink that every day.
And I’m a sucker for sweet things and am a bundle of energy most of the time.
You can also check out Deborah’s MySpace page and her blog. Saje will be available from The Wild Rose Press in April. Thank you so much Deborah for taking the time to answer my questions.
Thanks for having me. I’ve enjoyed it very much. Take care.