I first knew Scott Sakatch as a talented journalist for the Lethbridge Herald. Today he is a prolific author with quite a resume. I caught up with Scott this week to talk about his latest offering and his process of writing.
You come from a background of newspaper writing. Does that help or hurt when you go into writing a novel?
I think it helped a lot. The cardinal rule of journalistic writing is to be concise, and as far as I’m concerned, the best fiction is also written simply. Working at a newspaper also helps you get into the habit of writing, which is absolutely necessary if you want to make a living at it, and it teaches you to edit your own work. That said, I’ll be the first to admit that I have a really nasty tendency to edit while I’m writing. I have to consciously work at not doing that pretty much every day.
What gets you motivated to write a book?
Money. I know that sounds glib, but it’s true. This is the way I make my living now, so if I don’t produce, I don’t get paid. I think every writer has grand dreams about writing a masterpiece and being wooed by a literary agent, but banking on that is like basing your retirement plans on winning the lottery. It’s a different story if you’re writing for your own enjoyment; if that’s the case, you can muse and ponder and fiddle with your prose all you like. I don’t have time for that myself. I have to pump out the content and promote it all day, every day.
How do you choose the genre of book you want to write?
I sort of fell ass-backwards into writing in 2017 via a Facebook group for writers. I ended up ghostwriting novels for a publisher out of the UK for a flat fee per book, so I basically followed whatever genre I was assigned: romance, science fiction, post-apocalypse. I wrote something like 20 novels that way before I finally decided it was time to publish on my own under my own name. I landed on vigilante justice thrillers because I’ve always been a fan of stories about people who kick ass and walk away from explosions with a grim expression. They’re so much fun to write.
Funnily enough, the main character in my new series, Angel Morana, started out as a secondary character in a novella I wrote as my entry for a contest put on by James Patterson (I obviously didn’t win). My wife Janine loved the story, and years later when I told her I wanted to go on my own, she immediately said, “Are you going to write books about Angel?” I hadn’t even thought of that, but here I am, absolutely immersed in Angel’s world.
When you’re writing, do you feel you are writing like Scott Sakatch or do you feel that other writers are influencing you?
I definitely write as myself, even when I was ghostwriting. I’ve been influenced by others, for sure, but I don’t actively try to copy anyone’s style. That would be too much work.
It’s funny how many reviews there are of my romance novels where readers just assume I’m a young American woman instead of a middle-aged Canadian man. I even had a reviewer of one of my post-apocalypse novels say that it was obvious I’d spent a significant amount of time in the Colorado city in which the book is set. In reality, I’ve never even stepped foot in the state, let alone the city. Thank God for Google Street View.
Talk about this latest book.
It’s actually a series of books starring the same character, Angel Morana, a young Latina vigilante out for revenge. Here’s the blurb from Angel of Vengeance, the first book in the series:
“They thought she was dead. But Angel is back, and there’s hell to pay.
Angelica Morana is young, orphaned and undocumented, surviving on the mean streets of L.A. by avoiding conflict and authorities at all cost. But when she finds herself in the clutches of human traffickers, a twist of fate—or maybe an act of God—transforms her from helpless victim to apex predator, hungry for revenge against the untouchable power brokers who abused her and countless others. Can a lone woman survive against the most insidious criminal organization in America?
The better question is: can they survive against her?
If you like gritty action, unique characters and cheering for the underdogs, this series delivers. Take the first step into Angel Morana’s dark world today with Angel of Vengeance.”
There’s another book on sale now, a novella called Angel of Sonora, that I consider to be Book 1.5 in the series (because it takes place in the middle of the Book 1). Book 2, Angel of Death, is on pre-order and will be available at the end of October. Finally, I’m also finishing up a prequel story that happens before the events of Book 1 and should be out next week. It’s called The Devil’s Due.
I hope they’re all as much fun to read as they are to write. I’ve had a blast with it, especially some of the characters (a commando drag queen and a recovering alcoholic street preacher, to name a couple).
Is it possible to ever be completely satisfied with what you’ve written?
Nope. Like Da Vince said, art is never finished, only abandoned. I’d obsess over my stories all day, every day if I allowed myself to. I think a lot of writers do that instead of just accepting that what you write will never be perfect. Finish it and move on to the next story or you’ll drive yourself nuts.
How important is it for you to write?
That’s an interesting question. Writing is what I’ve wanted to do literally as long as I can remember. I wrote my first “book” in Grade 2 with a construction paper cover. I remember my teacher, Mrs. Van Orman, had it put in the George McKillop library. I ran into someone years later who said it was still there. Writing always came naturally to me, but I gave up on it after high school.
Then, in my mid-20s, I ran into Richard Powell, my Language Arts teacher at Wilson, at the northside Safeway. He asked what I did for a living and I told him I worked for the railroad. He nodded, but there was this look in his eyes, like he was disappointed in my answer. That stuck with me, and I remembered how much I loved writing, especially in his class and for the Wilson newspaper. A few months later, I got laid off from the railroad and that was it – I applied for the Comm Arts journalism program at LCC and I haven’t gone a day without writing since then.
Can you foresee your books turning into movies?
Realistically? No. But a guy can dream. I’ve had several people who’ve read Angel of Vengeance tell me that it was like “reading a movie.” I specifically write all my books to be page turners. There’s a function on Amazon (where my books are published) that allows you to see how many of your pages have been read by Kindle Unlimited readers in any given day. So far, everyone seems to be going through all 440 pages in one or two days, which absolutely astounds me. I myself couldn’t read that fast if you put a gun to my head.
Do you already have an idea for another book?
So many I can’t keep track of them all. There will be at least three more books in the Angel series, plus I have plans for two spin-off series for characters introduced in the Angel books. Plus I’m going to rewrite False Witness, the first novel I ever wrote back in 2014, to fold it into the Angelverse and re-release it as a standalone.
How do we get your books?
They’re currently only available as e-books on Amazon, though I have plans to make paperbacks available soon (assuming enough people by the ebooks that I can afford to do it). You can read them on any device (e-reader, tablet or phone) that will run the Kindle app.
Here’s the link to my Amazon author page with all my books, including the sci-fi detective novel Burnside’s Killer, which I co-wrote with Timothy Ellis: https://www.amazon.com/Scott-Sakatch/e/B06XTFC4QC?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_2&qid=1632260985&sr=1-2
I also invite anyone interested to like my Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/scottsakatchauthor