10 Questions for Mike Sager, Author


Mike Sager is a bestselling author and award-winning reporter. For more than a decade, he has worked as a writer-at-large for Esquire magazine.

Sager’s career in journalism began in 1978 when he quit law school after three weeks to take a job on the graveyard shift as a copy boy at The Washington Post. Eleven months later, he was promoted to staff writer by metro editor Bob Woodward, of Watergate fame. Sager left the Post after six years to pursue a career in magazines. His first collection of articles, “Scary Monsters and Super Freaks,” published in 2003, was a Los Angeles Times bestseller, as was his second, “Revenge of the Donut Boys,” published in 2007. His first novel, “Deviant Behavior,” was published in April 2008. A third collection, “Wounded Warriors,” is due out this month.

A former contributing editor of Rolling Stone and writer-at-large for GQ, Sager has also written for Vibe, Spy, Interview, Playboy, Washingtonian and Regardie’s.

Sager is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Emory University. He lives with his wife and son in La Jolla. He is a past recipient of La Jolla Youth Soccer’s “Manager of the Year” award.

Q: What brought you to La Jolla?

Prior to La Jolla, we lived in Washington, D.C., 10 blocks from the White House in a chic, developing neighborhood where you could buy crack on many corners. We wanted a clean, healthy place to raise our son. We wanted to be near the ocean and be able to see the sun set. We wanted to be warm year round. I like to think that good weather makes you feel 5 percent better on any given day. Sometimes, that’s all you need to get over the hump. It is easy to be happy here.

Q: What makes La Jolla special to you?

My family is originally from small towns in Virginia. I like the small town atmosphere in La Jolla. The way the kids grow up going to the same beaches and knowing each other, no matter which school they attend. The way that the people around are generally familiar - you might not know them but you’ve seen them around so you smile and nod. I like the sense that we live in a village (and that the strip malls and the super stores are close by but not a daily presence).

Q: Who or what inspires you?

My son inspires me. As a father and a coach, I learned early on the power of modeling. Your children do what you do, not what you say. My son inspires me to reach new heights, to go the extra distance. My wife inspires me to be a good and understanding man. At 52, I am still a work in progress.

Q: If you could snap your fingers and have it done, what might you add, subtract or improve in La Jolla?

I would make Allen Field bigger and add lights. I would crank up the taste volume a bit on our restaurants - to tell the truth, guys, some of you rest on your laurels. For these prices, tastes should pop. I would make reading required for all residents. I would make community service mandatory for all of our children.

Q: If you hosted a dinner party for eight, whom (living or deceased) would you invite?

This is a tough one. One of my daydreams is having a party with all my favorite subjects. Sleeper the crack dealer from the Venice gang; the 650 pound man; Jack Nicholson; Angelina Jolie; Brad Pitt (for my wife’s enjoyment); Marlon Brando (he’d have to return from the other side); the 17-year-old I went to high school with in Orange County and his best friend and girlfriend (actually, they are college grads now and we are still in touch); the Teen Tycoon… is that eight yet? I would rather have a huge tent party and host everyone! May I do that? We could also invite Al Sharpton, Ice Cube, the members of the band Slayer, Rush Limbaugh, Kobe Bryant and Phil Jackson, and the guy who voices Homer Simpson.

Q: What are you currently reading?

“Tree of Smoke” by Denis Johnson, “Something to Tell You” by Hanif Kureishi, and my own second novel.

Q: What are your most prized possessions?

Our house. The shelf in my library that holds all the books I wrote or to which I contributed.

Q: What do you do for fun?

The beach, movies, hoops with my son, hanging out and talking smack with my beautiful wife, visits with friends, long walks up and down the hills, riding my bike along the ocean. What I spend the most time doing, and love the most, is sitting at my desk and writing.

Q: Describe your greatest accomplishments.

My son, my marriage of more than 16 years, my four books, winning the Pizza Bowl.

Q: What is your motto or philosophy of life?

Less is more.

Mike Sager will be signing copies of his new book, “Wounded Warriors,” at Warwick’s at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 6. More information: