In Character: A chat with Sage Crandall

Greetings, dear readers!

My name is Andi Marquette, for those of you who don’t know me or my work. I write New Mexico-based mysteries (as well as science fiction). If you’d like to find out more about my work, you can go to the “Books” page at my website and read excerpts and find links to purchase and all that good stuff. Here’s the direct link. I also offer some free stories on my “Stories” page.

Currently, there are three books available in the NM series. Here they are, in order:

As you can see, K.C. Fontero stars in odd-numbered books and Chris Gutierrez, K.C’s best friend, in even-numbered. But the other characters put in appearances in all of them. As some of you may know, K.C. stopped by Women and Words in April last year. Chris is currently busy with Book 4, and didn’t have time to swing by, but I’m fortunate enough to say that Sage Crandall, K.C.’s honey, stopped by Women and Words to hang out with me for a bit. And for those of you who know the series, Sage is something of her own woman.

For those of you who have followed the series, Sage garners a lot of interest. Among the many comments I get about her are “enigmatic,” “fun,” “intriguing,” “exquisitely human,” “free spirit,” “crazy, but in a good way,” and just downright “cool.” Oh, and “sexy.” K.C. wholeheartedly agrees, but then, she’s biased. 🙂

Sage, as those of you who read these books know, is from northern Wyoming. She grew up in a cabin outside Sheridan as kind of a “hippie” child. She has an eye for landscapes and people, and ended up in New Mexico pursuing a fine arts degree in photography. That’s what she still does — photography. You also know a bit about her family life growing up, and the troubled relationship she and her younger brother, River, had with their father. K.C. describes Sage as “a force of nature,” and in many ways, she is.

I like to think of her as “real”–someone who knows who she is, knows when she needs to explore and acknowledge her limitations, who grew up in the western outdoors and thus seems to be in tune with things that many people aren’t. She’s an interesting combo of western woo-woo and libertarian, with an intuitive streak a mile wide. She has issues, just like we all do, and sometimes she deals with them and sometimes she puts that stuff aside for a bit (again, as we all do). But she’s often brutally honest, whether it’s about her own feelings or her thoughts on something or someone else trying to dodge an issue. She accepts the things life throws at her, because she knows that’s how life is, but no, she doesn’t always like the hand she’s dealt.

Anyway. She said she’d stop by tonight, but Sage invariably has her own timetable, so I’m just going to do some cleaning. Still not quite organized after the Hootenanny…oh, and lookie here! An unopened bottle of wine…and is that the door I hear?

Read on…

ANDI: Why, Ms. Crandall! So glad you came by!

SAGE: Where there’s wine, there’s a way. C’mere. [hug, exaggerated air-kisses] Dahling. However have you been? I saw you had my girlfriend in here last year. Why did it take you so long to invite me over? Hmm? You know I find you immensely fascinating and oh, so fun.

ANDI: [laughs, opens bottle, pours two glasses and sets them on the coffee table] Why, thank you. And you’ve been on the road, Missie. [hands glass to Sage, who plops down on the couch, kicks her sandals off, and brushes her hair out of her eyes] And how was the road? [sits down next to Sage]

SAGE: Tiring. I have my next trip lined up. But not for a couple of months, so K.C. won’t have to be a bachelor for a while, yet. [grins mischievously] I think you should write Chris a vacation so she and Dayna can take K.C. to San Diego while I’m out taking pictures.

ANDI: Not a bad idea, actually. Do you want one, too?

SAGE: Yes. But with K.C. How about Book 5?

ANDI: I like it. Let me think on that and I’ll let you know. [sips wine] Not bad.

SAGE: I agree. Nice choice.

ANDI: Just luck. Left over from the Hootenanny.

SAGE: I’ve heard various theories about luck.

ANDI: You mean along the lines of “the harder I work the luckier I get”? And “luck is what results from what you put out into the world”?

SAGE: Yep. Which of those do you subscribe to? [offers one of her mysterious smiles]

ANDI: [shrugs] I don’t. Luck is…it’s what happens. I guess there might be a cause/effect thing–if you put certain energies out, you get certain things back. I also think that the more in tune you are with yourself and your surroundings, the more you tend to see and, hence, the “luckier” you get because you’re not passing things by or missing out on opportunities. Regardless, I’m glad for the bottle of wine and the company. Cheers.

SAGE: [smiling, clinks her glass against Andi’s] I’ve noticed something about you.

ANDI: Of course you have. And that would be…?

SAGE: It came up when K.C. talked with you in April. She said that you  might be a little more open-minded about inexplicable things because of your anthro background. I think it’s true.

ANDI: High compliment, from you. But I think anthro just helped my obsessive, natural curiosity. Plus, I’ve always been kind of a spec fic gal, in that I like to imagine other worlds and possibilities. After all, just because I haven’t seen a unicorn doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

SAGE: I like that about you. [shrugs] You’re an interesting mix, Andi. Sort of “Anal researcher goes crystal-hunting in the New Mexico desert.” While you’re out there having your mystical experience, you point out different features of the landscape, correctly name the types of pot sherds you find, and study a flake from a stone tool — and like every good archaeologist/historian type, you put it all right back where you found it. Then you’ll watch the sky at night, and think about other worlds and other life forms, and wish that you had your own starship. [winks at me–dammit, how’d she know I do that?]

ANDI: And I’ll have one some day, dammit. [takes another sip of wine] And back to K.C., I think  you’re good for her.

SAGE: [laughs] Same here. I’m a test for her. But then again, she’s a test for me. People sometimes come into our lives not necessarily because we ask them to, but rather because we need to learn something from them.

ANDI: And what have you learned from our little uptight scholar?

SAGE: [quirks an eyebrow and hides another smile behind her wine glass as she sips]

ANDI: I see.

SAGE: [leans back and smooths her skirt] I’ve learned trust on levels I didn’t think I still had. She showed me parts of herself in “Ties” that I didn’t realize she had. She tried new approaches, and she owned her shit — which is something I appreciate and love very much about her. Even in the face of all the stuff that happened in that book — no thanks to you. [she sticks her tongue out at me]

ANDI: Hey, I just follow the muses. And you could very well be one of them.

SAGE: [giggles] There are muses all around us. But most people choose not to see them.

ANDI: [gets up for the wine bottle, pours a bit more into the glasses, and sets it on the coffee table] I had a comment about you a while back. You’re immensely popular with readers, by the way. At any rate, the comment was that you’re “exquisitely human.”

SAGE: I like that. It’s something everyone should work toward. Being human is a great journey. It’s fucked up — oops — you know I swear when I’m worked up about things —

ANDI: [grins] Carry on.

SAGE: At any rate, it’s a f–um, messed up journey  but so profoundly amazing. Even the bad things that happen are part of that journey, part of what makes us each who we are and how we travel. [reaches for her wine glass] That should definitely be on a T-shirt. Exquisitely human. And thank you, readers. I’m flattered.

ANDI: [innocent] Another recent comment was that you’re “hot.”

SAGE: [laughs again] Well, thank you, reader. I appreciate that.

ANDI: [cell phone vibrates, she looks at it] It’s your girlfriend. Hold on. Hey, Kase. What’s up?

K.C.: Dang right Sage is hot! Thanks, readers, for noticing! [Sage gestures for my phone, I hand it to her]

SAGE: Hi, honey. Does it freak you out that readers say that? [pause, grin, laugh] Okay. I’ll tell her. See you later tonight, okay? Bye, sweets. [hands phone back to me] No, it doesn’t freak her out. She thinks it’s great. And she would like a vacation. Someplace warm, with a beach. With just me.

ANDI: And margaritas, I’m sure. But what have you two been doing while Chris and I have been working on Book 4? [puts her hand up] Wait. Don’t answer that. We’ll talk about it later.

SAGE: I’ll make sure we do.

ANDI: I know. How’s River?

SAGE: [sighs] My brother remains the stoic, repressed mountain man he’s been for years. I keep trying to get him out of Montana and into a more populated area, but he’s stubborn.

ANDI: Really. How strange. Wonder where he got that.  Hmm.

SAGE: [shoots me an “and what’s your point” look]

ANDI: Maybe I’ll drop him a line. See what shakes out.

SAGE: You do have a way with strong, silent types. They end up telling you everything.

ANDI: Not true. They end up telling YOU everything. The difference is that he’s related to you, and knows you too well. Plus, he doesn’t want to dump more stuff on you. It’s a guy thing. And especially when it comes to you. He’s very protective, and doesn’t want to give up that role, maybe. I’m an outside person. So he might tell me things that he wouldn’t tell you.

SAGE: I’ve thought about that. So I just put it out there that he can show up any time. He knows. He just needs to come to a place where he realizes that he should or he moves beyond his baggage. Something we all have to do. And something that yes, I’m doing now. [takes a sip of wine] And  you, it seems. [she raises an eyebrow at me]

ANDI: It’s that time, I guess. Baggage exchange. We all — exquisite humans –go through it.

SAGE: Only those of us who are willing to take responsibility for our shit. Not everyone is. But yes, that still makes you exquisitely human, because only  humans allow baggage to accumulate until it crushes us.

ANDI: Not everyone travels light. We should, but we don’t.

SAGE: It’s a matter of acknowledging your role in packing it, then moving to acceptance, and letting go. And if that fails, shoot it and bury the fucker on the prairie. [giggles, and grins]

ANDI: [laughs] Sick!

SAGE: It’s one of the things you like about me.

ANDI: So true. Okay, so I don’t want to talk too much in-depth about what’s been happening in the series because there are folks that haven’t read the books, and I don’t want to be the ol’ spoiler queen. But give me your impressions of how you think all this crazy stuff in New Mexico is unfolding.

SAGE: It’s not really about “crazy.” It’s about life. What I like is that you address life in addition to events. Because as we all know, life still happens even when we’re dealing with the big stuff. We still have to go grocery shopping and pay the bills and deal with car trouble and work and whatever the hell else that comes up in addition to the big things. And you have put us all through some big stuff thus far. [flashes me a grin] I know you have to take some creative license — Chris and I talked about that, because especially when it comes to her police work, you do have to sacrifice a time scale for pacing, but you try to make it a reasonably realistic timeline, and she knows that and appreciates it. I like, too, that you reveal our flaws — I’m all about showing the warts, too — but it’s all within the context of life. Plus, as you know, New Mexico isn’t like other places. [looks at me over the rim of her wine glass with and expression like we’re sharing a joke]

ANDI: No, it’s not. Which is a damn good thing.

SAGE: It is.

ANDI: I’ve gotten a few comments about you that request more about you. That maybe you should have your own book.

SAGE: [sets wine glass down, studies me for a moment] As flattered as I am by that, I’m not sure it would work. And not because I’d be freaked if you were completely in my head. [offers an absolutely wicked grin] Just that it might end up throwing off the cool dynamic we’ve got going on.

ANDI: I worry about that, too.

SAGE: Not to suggest I’m not open to possibility, but right now, I’m not feeling that it would work. Though it sounds sort of interesting, I’m a force of nature, as you know, and would probably wear you out.

ANDI: [gives her an “excuse me?” look]

SAGE: [laughs] Oh, my God. You looked just like K.C. with that expression! You guys are so cute when I tease you!

ANDI: I do concede that you’re a force of something. As to the other matter…[grins] All right. We’ll keep this suggestion on the back burner. The really way back one, behind the stove.

SAGE: For now. Winds can shift. And as much as I adore getting to hang out with you, I’ve got to run along.

ANDI: I know. You’ve got a workshop to get ready for, but thanks for stopping by. Say hi to K.C. and I’ll be better about keeping in touch.

SAGE: Yes. You will. [stands, puts her sandals back on, gives me a big hug] It was good to catch up a little with you. Take care.

ANDI: You, too.

SAGE: [stops at the door, turns to look at me] Sometimes we don’t always see where the road’s going, but staying on it is the best course.

ANDI: Thanks.

SAGE: [smiles and leaves]

All right, friends. Thanks for spending a little time with me and Sage. She’ll be back. I have a feeling. 😉

And yes, even though Book 4 stars Chris, Sage (and K.C.) will make appearances in it. It’s the NM posse, after all.

Happy Friday and hope your weekend rocks!



  1. OMG, that was terrific Andi! Since I’ve read all three, it was really like listening to a conversation with real characters. Or should I say “Real characters” –you were just as real as Sage
    I remember the interview with K.C.–you’ve topped it here. Can’t wait for book 4 and congrats on your recent publication.
    Keep em coming!


  2. Great fun, Andi! I love Sage and marvel at how you interview your characters. Go, Sage! Go, Andi!


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