Roger, I’m so glad to have this opportunity to talk with you. I’m a big fan of your Inuit saga series, which includes Inuit Child, One Who Walks Alone and The Long Trail Home.
What inspired you to write these very unique novels?
Roger: I wanted to show how these unique people lived and how special their lives were and what they thought of their world and themselves. .
DSW: How long have you been writing?
Roger: I wrote my first story when I was in the 7th grade in school in Winter, Wisconsin. The story was short and we were required to produce one for the class and we had to read our stories out loud. It was an enjoyable experience. I wrote my next book in the early ‘70s. It was by pen and paper while I was living camped out in the Rocky Mountains. It wasn’t until years later when the computer made it possible for me to write so that another person could actually read what it was I had written.
DSW: How do your ideas for stories typically come to you?
Roger: The air and the world around me are full of stories. I just sit down and start typing.
DSW: Do you know the entire story when you begin or do you begin with a grain of an idea and allow the story to tell itself as you write?
Roger: If a scene comes to my mind, I start to write, and the story and those in it come into a life of their own and pass through the story on their own.
DSW: Do you use an outline?
Roger: No. I am not a learned man; I thought at one time these types of methods might help me so I bought a writing program. Working with that was worse than typing a story. It might even be under my desk collecting dust right now. A dear friend gave me a book on writing. Oh well, what can I say?
DSW: What is your purpose in writing?
Roger: I like to show that no matter what circumstances a person or peoples are in, they are able to rise up to the challenge. This is something I have noticed as I have lived my life.
I follow the flow as the story comes to me and I will introduce severe situations and the characters must then do what they must. But I never know how they will react to any give situation.
DSW: That explains why your stories are so personal and touching, even though they happen to a different people in a different time. Do you feel it to be a calling or are you satisfying some psychological, spiritual or social imperative?
Roger: A calling, that would be far too lofty for me but self-satisfying and some social imperative - those two suggestions would be closer. I tend to write strong female characters. My mother taught me to be respectful and thoughtful of those around me. My Father taught me to stand up for the right to live and die for what I believe, and to step in and do what you must even if it was going to hurt.
DSW: Do you write to inform or to entertain, or for some other reason?
Roger: I write because it is in me to do so.
DSW: Do you write to yourself or do you keep a reading audience in your mind's eye?
Roger: One could write for one’s self and be quite happy, and there is nothing wrong with that but a story that is sent out to the world must quickly take hold of the reader and like the subtle shade of evening, you must let the reader see enough to follow the path you yourself are traveling on; you must not rush on ahead and leave them in the dark but occasionally you must brush their fingertips to help guide them to your sight.
DSW: Another example of why I find your work filled with poetry. I like that. What is the most satisfying aspect of writing for you?
Roger: An imaginary story or any factual book no matter the content is built from within the mind of the writer, and to bring the fruit of the story out of one’s mind and place it there for the reader to see, and then to find out that the reader understands what you are really trying to show is for me, the self-satisfying aspect of writing.
DSW: What is the most difficult aspect of it?
Roger: Sitting down and doing.
DSW: Do you write on a fairly regular basis or do you wait for your muse to whisper in your ear?
Roger: Hardly ever but when I do, I am like a lamb being eaten by the lion. I am consumed. I have written for over 24 hours at a sitting and once bitten, I strive to drive the story on to completion.
DSW: What do you do when you face the dreaded nemesis – Writer’s Block?
Roger: When the thought has entered my mind I ask out loud to myself, “How will I keep this story interesting?” Then I let my fingers move across the keyboard, and a character sticks their head from between the keys on the keyboard and says to me, “Here, this is where I belong.” Or sometimes they say, “You have come too far too fast, and must go back and find out why I am here and why I am doing thusly.”
DSW: Is there a better time of day for you to write?
Roger: No, the story never stops flowing to me. When I write, I write until I need to stop.
DSW: Where do you like to practice your craft? Is there any particular room?
Roger: I can write anywhere I can get to a computer. I know nothing of structure of sentences and I cannot spell. Vowels and verbs are strange countries made of gooey smelly mud; a hanging participial might as well be a new planet off in deep space.
DSW: Do you need quiet or do you like noise when you are writing?
Roger: I sometimes put on headphones and listen to old-timey blues. Or quiet works also.
DSW: What does your typical writing day look like?
Roger: When I was in the Antarctic, I wrote at night until midnight. When I write at home, I close the door of the room. I do not like stopping or being bothered.
DSW: Do you have to struggle for ideas for stories or do they come to you easily?
Roger: My mind is not a void that is empty but rather a new world waiting to be investigated.
DSW: What do you consider the most important quality in writing: character development, plot, etc?
Roger: I waste very little time describing the characters. I give the reader the bare necessity. I leave them to be molded by the reader. I offer them a sip of warm mulled wine and let their inner glow flesh out what they themselves want to see. Perhaps this is a mistake. I’ll let the reader decide.
The plot’s main course is on its own. If I do something about it, I sure don’t know it when I do. If something is really wrong and I sense it, I look at my direction to see what has happened.
DSW: Can we look forward to other books by you in the future?
Roger: Will the sun rise in the realm of our minds, and will not the rain fall and call the salmon from the sea?
DSW: There you go again, Roger! I love the way your mind works. Would you care to share some of those ideas with us now to whet our appetites?
Roger: An Inuit woman listens to the sounds of the northern lights in which she hears the words of the spirit children that are there in the night’s sky, and they tell her of a strange man who has come to the shore of her land. She wakes up from her dream and comes out from the hole in the snow where the night before she had sheltered herself and she seeks him out. She is guided by the voices of the children; she finds him. Carefully, she approaches him and he is covered with fine snow. He has blond hair and a metal hat with horns on top….
More Info on Roger Sagert