is to write books and have people read them…like everything in life,
far easier to say than to accomplish.A writer, an unrepentant
romanticist, an odd mixture of egocentricism and self-doubt with a
strong belief in happy endings and in trying to show people, through my
writing, that what unites us is far stronger than what divides us.
1. What made you decide to start writing?
That’s a bit like
trying to figure out when I decided to have brown eyes. I’ve been
“writing” since I was five. I dictated my first opus to my mother, who
wrote it down for me. It was a rousing epic of the old west, which ended
with the immortal line: “And the cowboys yelled ‘Whoopee’ and
2. Who is the real Dorien Grey?
Well, before Dorien emerged,
like Venus from the sea, as a full blown alter ego, there was (and is)
Roger Margason, a lifelong book and magazine editor who, despite his
tendency toward self-deprecation, has led a rather interesting, if
checkered, life which has provided him with a wealth of materials for
3. How did you come up with your book characters?
My protagonists generally tend to be people I could see myself as being
in an alternate universe. And just as my protagonists–most
specifically Dick Hardesty of my 14-book Dick Hardesty Mystery
series–are based, however loosely, on myself, I surround them with
characters either based on people I’ve known or encountered in real
life, or who I’d like to have met.
4. Are there any real life experiences you use in your books?
Direct experiences? I’m sure there have been several, but I can’t think
of any at the moment. But I do use them obliquely, or use them as a
stepping off point.
5. Where is the location most of your ideas come to you?
My ideas have a tendency to just show up without any advance notice,
and can come to me almost anywhere. However, I might say that perhaps
the majority come to me as I’m writing, popping in to show me where I
might go next, or what I might want to add/change.
6. What was your favorite book to write?
I’ve always said that asking a writer which book is his/her favorite is
like asking a parent which child he/she prefers. I like them all, and
of course whatever book I’m writing at the moment has to be the
favorite, in a way.
7. How do you like living in Chicago?
This is my second time of living in Chicago. I lived here for six years
after graduating from college before moving on to Los Angeles and then
to the relative isolation of the Great North Woods of northern
Wisconsin. (Talk about culture shock!) I’m so glad to be back in
Chicago, where there are far more cultural things to do than there is
time to do them.
8. Is there any difference between Rockford and Chicago?
LOL! Well, let’s see…there’s night, and then there’s day. When I grew
up in Rockford, it was about the epitome of an all-American, midwestern
city. A wonderful place to grow up. Now it is unrecognizable and the
area in which I last lived–which could have served for the model for a
Norman Rockwell painting–is now like a third-world country where it is
not safe to walk the streets.
9. Where do you go when you need to relax?
As I mentioned, Chicago provides any number of places to go to get away
from any pressures. Lately, I’ve been sort of lumping my relaxation
time into traveling. I was lucky enough to spend a month in Europe last
year, and will be taking a river cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam this
10. Do you like to read a lot?
always been one of my favorite things to do, and it is one of my
greatest regrets that I am so busy writing and trying to promote my
books that I have little if any time to read for pleasure.
11. What are your favorite types of books and favorite authors?
I’ve always had eclectic taste in reading. As a teenager I read every
science fiction book I could get my hands on. When I was in the Navy I
read mostly history and biographies. Now, when I do read, I tend to read
books by my writer friends; mostly gay themed.
12. Do you have any hobbies?
Alas, writing books, writing three blogs a week, trying to convince
people to read my books, keeping up with social networking (Facebook,
Twitter, MySpace, Open Salon, GoodReads and about a dozen other sites)
and maintaining my website (http://www.doriengrey.com/,
if anyone is interested) doesn’t leave much time for knitting or stamp
collecting or any of the many things I wish I had time to do.
13. If you could go anywhere in the world where would you go?
I love travel, and there is so very much of the world to which I’ve never been…I’d be delighted to go anywhere, anytime.
14. If you could spend one day with someone who would it be? (Dead or Alive)
An easy answer: my parents, relatives, and\close friends I’ve lost over
the years. Love to meet Peter Tchaikovsky, Eleanor Roosevelt, Walt
Whitman, Mark Twain…the list is endless.
15. What advice would you give to other people who want to become authors?
Sit down and write. Talk to the person you are writing to/for…never
talk AT them. Never use a $2.00 word when a five-cent word will do. Say
what YOU want to say rather than what you think you’re supposed to say.
Remember that the reader knows only what you tell him. Never assume that
he knows as much about your story and characters as you do. Keep in
mind that if a reader can be confused, he will be.