KATHERINE RHODES has a tragic accident which sends her back in time. She wakes up as the 20 year old hippie she was back in 1967 in the Haight/Ashbury district of San Francisco. This was the period known globally as the “Summer of Love”. It’s all here, Hippies, Hells Angels, Black Panthers and the abhorrent war in Vietnam. “KATIE gets the chance to re-live this era with her friends FROG and MOONBEAM. This time she knows what to expect and tries to change things……….. Can she ?
“Thank you. That’s a great compliment coming from the MC, but what exactly are we discussing? I do lots of business dealings in the Haight, many different avenues. Which one are you referring to?”
“Drugs Frog. We’re referring to drugs.”
“There’s already lots of drugs in the Haight. Are you speaking of grass, uppers, downers, acid? We have it all.”
Sal and Dave looked at each other and laughed. “No man, not grass, not pills, and not acid,” Dave said. “You’re right, there’s lots of that in the Haight. There are too many dealers to contend with and not enough money to be made in those drugs. Hell, half the time, the Diggers are giving that shit away free at gatherings. What we’re proposing is much more than grass, and much more profitable. The Angels want to eventually control the drugs that are going in and out of the Haight and we want to destroy our competition in the process, but that’s a long way down the road. Right now, all we want to do is to get our foot in the door. We want to offer something that isn’t readily available. What we want to know is would you be interested in a marketing agreement with the MC? The market right now is small, but with a little help it will eventually replace all the other drugs in the Haight. What we’re talking about is heroin. Black tar heroin from Asia. We happen to have a connection that will never dry up.”
Tell us about your book, what inspired it?
OK, I have to admit here that I was born in the 60’s…… Thanks for squeezing that out of me so early in this interview! LOL
But seriously, I was and still am lucky enough to live within an hour of San Francisco, so when I was a very young child I can remember my parents driving me through the Haight/Ashbury district to look at what my Dad called “the freaks”. I remember driving through the “panhandle” and seeing the “Diggers” hand out free food at 4 O’Clock daily to the homeless kids wearing their “free frame of reference” around their necks. I now know them as the homeless hippie kids that flocked to San Francisco in the late 60’s.
I have always felt that I missed out on this very unique part of history (well, not the homeless part !) and I often wished I was just a bit older to have experienced it fully. My goal and inspiration in writing this story was to have my characters live in this period and have it be as accurate as possible. I want my readers to feel like they are living and breathing 1967 with my crazy characters.
What do you think about the period "Summer of Love"?
I’m still fascinated by the whole 60’s hippie phenomenon and I wish I could have lived it. I love the music and the clothing and the carefree way of life. I can remember being taught how to make daisy chains in the middle of Golden Gate Park by a young hippie girl. I didn’t really understand the political stuff but I knew of the war in Vietnam as it was on the news constantly, and I got to see some of the protest marches.
As I wrote this book I watched multiple YouTube videos of the subjects in my book – Hells Angels, Black Panthers and the Vietnam War. I read all the books and watched all the videos I could find on Janis Joplin. Other books include Sleeping Where I Fall by Peter Coyote – a founder of the Diggers in San Francisco.
It was an awesome period in time and I wrote this book to bring it back. It was so rewarding to do all the research to make it as accurate as possible for my readers.
Have you based any of your characters on someone you know, or real events in your own life?
So far I haven’t. My characters start off as strangers to me and nobody in SUMMER OF HAIGHT ‘67 is based on anyone in particular. As I develop them they become more and more familiar to me. Some of the events in the book are based on what I experienced, as that very young child.
I have a photographic memory so I can recall so much. I can see the hippies as I drove past them in the back of my Dad’s car and I can see my record collection and my stickers and my clothes; I had a lunch box with the Monkees on and my little dolls of Mickey Dolenz and the other Monkees. I think I still have them in an old trunk somewhere.
What is your favorite scene in the book?
Without giving too much of the storyline away, my favorite scene is the cocktail party hosted by Katie’s parents. It’s back in 1967 and Katie is being rebellious against her controlling father. Mark Rhodes is a young executive in her father’s firm and is being groomed as Katie’s eventual suitor – Well, in the first 1967 he does become Katie’s husband. But in the re-lived 1967 Katie is determined to stop that happening again. In this 1967 she has met Dylan, a Hells Angel from the San Francisco Chapter and she takes him to the cocktail party – but not in his motorcycle attire. Cut to the back yard and Dylan warns Mark to stay away from Katie. The ever arrogant Mark stands up to Dylan unaware of the biker’s lifestyle. Dylan casually removes his shirt to reveal a huge tattoo of the Hells Angels’ logo on his back. Needless to say, it scares the hell out of Mark………….. great scene and I loved writing it.
Do you listen to music when you're writing?
I ALWAYS listen to music when I’m writing, but writing the Summer of Haight ‘67 was so special because of the music. My husband even bought me a new record player just so I could play my LP’s. It took me 15 months to write the book and I immersed myself in the era. I bought more LP’s from a record store on Haight Street and even more from eBay. I wore hippie clothing and really got into the psychedelic hippie thing. I even caught myself saying words and phrases from the 60’s……….. I’m back to normal now, ALMOST !
What kind of music do you listen to?
I listen to a very wide variety of musical tastes. My iPod is categorized by decade or genre of music. As I said, when I was writing SUMMER OF HAIGHT ‘67, my whole thing was the 60’s. Since Janis Joplin plays a big part in my book, I bought her LP’s with Big Brother & the Holding Company. I also dug out my Grateful Dead, Moby Grape, Quicksilver & the Messenger Service, Country Joe & the Fish and the Charlatans….. to name a few.
I also write horror books under my other author name of D.S. Sager, but the psychedelic 60’s stuff would not be a good fit here! For example, when I am writing my zombie series called EVIL VEIN, I tend to go more punk rock or Emo style. During the writing of my Vampire story I drifted into the 20’s era. I love the 1920’s Jazz prohibition era. Billie Holiday and “Ma” Rainey stand out for me here.
I also love the 40’s and Frank Sinatra, Glen Miller and Duke Ellington will always make a guest appearance at my radiogram………… LOL
Have you started your next project?
I always have multiple projects going on in my head. I keep a pad by my bed and try to capture crazy dreams. I make notes all the time when I get book ideas. My current project is a horror anthology which I haven’t named yet. I have four short stories written and I’m working on the 5th.
I also have a Vampire novel being edited right now. It’s a re-write from my first full novel I wrote in 2000. I never got that one published and it sat in a box for years……..Vampires? Box ? Sorry about that …….Anyway, it’s better than before and I hope my readers enjoy it.
The rest of this year will see the final volume in my EVIL VEIN trilogy and I plan to have Katie and some of her friends from SUMMER OF HAIGHT ‘67 stick around in the past…….. but I can’t blow the whistle on that just yet……….
Anything else you might want to add?
I was a high school teacher of emotionally disturbed and high risk youth before I turned to full time writing about 5 years ago. I write my horror stories as D.S. Sager while this book and my other non-horror works will be as Diane Sager.
I have worn a POW bracelet since the beginning of the Iraq war and I vowed to keep it on until all our troops are withdrawn from Afghanistan. It bears the name William H Searfus who was tragically killed in Vietnam in 1967 and on MY birth date, November 25th.
All my published books have a character in them named Searfus as a tribute to this man and all the other brave souls who have paid the ultimate price for our freedom. This gentleman has son living in Southern California named Stanley Searfus. I hope to make contact with him some day and pay my respects. I have tried.
THANK YOU so much for including me in your busy schedule. I hope you read the SUMMER OF HAIGHT ‘67 and enjoy it as much as I did researching it and living it for 15 months.
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.
Diane will be awarding a $15 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour, and a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn host.