December 17, 2013

Dawn Kimberly Johnson: Button Down

Please help me welcome fellow DsP author Dawn Kimberly Johnson, who is here to talk about her new release "Button Down".

(available on December 23rd)

When he finds himself captivated by a movie-star handsome stranger he meets in a bar, lawyer Ford Reilly watches a simple one-night stand develop into a taste of what living honestly might bring him.
Out and proud Gus Hansen has built a small architectural firm from nothing, but could lose it all as he tries to break a contract he signed before knowing about the project’s antigay ties.
After Ford discovers he spent a passionate night with the man on the other side of the dispute he’s handling, he finds himself in more than one quandary. He can either maintain the status quo, enforcing the contract to the letter, or he can defy his overbearing father and break free of the closeted life he's built for himself in order to be with Gus.
Gus has his own choices to make. He knows the sting of loving a man who hides himself, but the longer he lingers in Ford's presence, the more difficult it becomes to deny their attraction

What do I want to say? Well, writers are often asked how they come up with their ideas. I believe the most frequent and accurate answer is: we can pluck them from anywhere. It depends on what catches our eye or piques our interest. A photo, a news story, a weird family member, a song, a memory from childhood, each or several of these could spark and get those writer wheels turning.
We’re all influenced by the world around us, so even if the genre of our story is science fiction or fantasy, our daily lives will feed it, shape it. It can be revealed by what our characters say and do or by addressing some injustice we’ve set up in our fantasy world that we struggle with in our contemporary reality. Or maybe we write because we have something to say, something to mouth off about.
My novel Button Down is set in a fictional southern town called Timothy, Georgia. It’s a small, safe, picturesque community where people don’t always lock their doors and everyone knows, or knows about, everyone else…or they think they do. Into this tiny town I introduce Gus Hansen, an out and proud architect based in Atlanta, who has had to work hard and struggle for everything he has. He’s white, a bit of a slob, and heartbroken. He falls for Ford Reilly, a lawyer, who is closeted and the youngest member of a prominent black family in Timothy. He’s a man who, though three years older than Gus, is locked up tight in who he thinks people expect him to be.
I may be an African American lesbian, but it’s Gus who lets me say most of the stuff I want to say in addressing the lingering conflict between the gay community and the African American community. At first anyway, because ultimately, it’s Ford who, caught between the macho “real man” myth of the black community and his faith, also gets the chance to speak up for me.
There’s a wee bit of me in every character, my thoughts, my hopes, my desires, and whatever speck of wisdom I’ve retained over the years. But I don’t want to get too heavy. After all, this is a romance, so there’s plenty of humor, heartache, and hope. Also I must mention the hot sex and sensuality, the attraction between these two fine men.
Mention accomplished.
In building this novel, I surrounded my main characters with those who loved them first, who supported them, and who knocked them upside the head when necessary. I constructed obstacles, usually in the form of homophobes and opportunists, but even among those folks who love my MCs, there is growth to be had. And we all need the opportunity to grow and do better, treat each other better.
That’s what I wanted to say.


Bio: A native of West Virginia, Dawn Kimberly Johnson earned a BA from the Marshall University W. Page Pitt School of Journalism and Mass Communications and worked as a copy editor at The Charleston Daily Mail for eight years.
Twitter: @Dawn_KJ |

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a book filled with dilemmas.