Q&A with Dawn Kimberly Johnson

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  • By Dawn Kimberly Johnson
  • Editions: ebook, paperback
  • Published: December 22rd 2013 by Dreamspinner Press
  • Genre: Adult MxM Contemporary / Romance
  • 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.
    ~ Goodreads

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    1. If you were to describe your e-book/book in only one word, what would it be?
    A: Growth…growth for my characters and for me, I hope, as a writer. Coming from two very different backgrounds, my main characters each have to grow toward each other, meet in the middle, so to speak.

    2. What would you say inspired you to write it?
    A: I had some stuff to say, and these characters allowed me to spout off creatively. There was a time, not too long ago, that I spent too much energy arguing on Facebook with bigots and homophobes. I think my time is better spent writing the way I want the world to be.

    3. What was the source of inspiration for your protagonist? What about your antagonist?
    A: Hmm, inspiration? I don’t personally know anyone like my protagonist Ford Reilly, no one who comes to mind, anyway. He’s closeted, African American, thirty years old, but he knows who he is, knows his God loves him, and isn’t trying to fight his sexuality. The only thing he’s fighting is his fear of losing his family or hurting them in any way. So I’m thinking he’s facing several antagonists: his fear of the unknown, Gus, because he has upset Ford’s world, his father’s expectations, and, on a more concrete level, the head of an antigay organization.

    4. Have you ever been hit by the infamous “writer’s block”? What did you do to escape it?
    A: Not for any great length of time, not long enough to worry me. I’ve only been doing this since 2009, but if I get stuck on a WIP, I set it aside for a couple days, come back to it and read it from the beginning, and usually I can move forward from there.

    5. Your all time favorite book?
    A: Wow! That’s a tall order. Hmm, let me see. Almost Like Being in Love by Steve Kluger was a delight. Woke Up In a Strange Place by Eric Arvin mesmerized me. The Return by Joseph Conrad was…reading that was like succumbing to a spell. A Solid Core of Alpha by Amy Lane was brutal in a great way. Wool by Hugh Howey terrified me. And Bear, Otter, and the Kid by T.J. Klune slapped me, made me laugh, broke my heart, hugged me, and slapped me again. So yeah, picking a favorite among them isn’t going to happen. Hell, as I pondered this question I began to tearing up again. Sheesh!

    6. What made you pick that one above all others?
    A: Couldn’t choose, but “The Shadow of the Templar” series by M. Chandler was my first read in the m/m genre, so it holds a special place in my heart.

    7. What’s the longest time you’ve spent working on a project?
    A: I think it was my first novel Broken. Once I decided I was really and truly going to finish it and try to have it published, I nursed that one along for, I think, more than a year.

    8. Would you say becoming an author has changed you? In what way?
    A: Yes. I think I’m more open to taking risks. Before this, I wouldn’t have thought it possible for me to write something and get published, but I took a risk, kept working, gave it a try, and it paid off. The process of writing becomes more fun each time I start a new project, and I look forward to that. I guess I’m more aware of possibilities than I used to be.

    9. Was there ever a time, during your work on the e-book/book, when you felt like giving up? What made you change your mind?
    A: Yes, briefly. I changed my mind because I don’t like to give up, especially beyond a certain point in the manuscript, where the characters are living, breathing people to me. It’s hard to quit on them.

    10. What does your day-to-day life consist of? What else do you do, aside writing?
    A: Very little aside from imagining other places and people into being. My health keeps me at home, so the Internet is my window to the outside world.

    11. How do you deal with bad reviews or acid criticism? What would you advise other authors to that effect?
    A: They’re disappointing, of course, but if they have proper criticism and can point to problems with the story or structure or mistakes, then I respect them and try to do better next time. Otherwise I dismiss them. I think it’s important for people to remind themselves that if they’re going to take the bad comments so deeply to heart, they must do the same with the praise.

    12. Is this title part of a series? Without giving us spoilers, of course, what can we expect from the next e-books/books in the series?
    A: I’m thinking it will be. I hadn’t planned on it when I began writing, but I really fell for these characters and their little fictional town. There are two avenues I can pursue with a series, but that’s all I’ll say.

    13. What do you have in store for us in the future? What are you working on/planning on next, aside this title/series?
    A: Sometime around May-June of 2014, my time travel novel Right on Time will be out. It’s a sequel to my short story One Constant, which came out in June of 2012 and I thought was fairly well received. The ending caused such an uproar, I thought I should give Barnaby and Charleston more of my time. I have a short called Come Clean set for release in February, and I have another short I recently submitted for consideration in an upcoming collection. As far as what I’m currently writing? I’m fiddling with a sequel to my novella Good Question. And there’s this novel I wrote a long time ago that I’m thinking of reworking for Dreamspinner Press to consider, but that’s always on the back burner, and I never seem to find time to tackle it.

    Fun facts:

    1. If you could wish for any one thing, and it would immediately come true, what would you wish for?
    A: My mind went immediately to money, but then I decided being fit and fierce would serve me better. So I’d wish for good health.

    2. If you were stranded on an isolated island, what’s the one book you’d absolutely wish to have with you?
    A: Monty Python’s Life of Brian, the script. I remember laughing myself into tears with that book.

    3. Name your favorite fruit.
    A: Red apples. I remember once being sick as a little girl and my great-grandfather bringing me what seemed like a giant red apple to cheer me up. It was practically the size of my head. My tummy couldn’t possibly have had room for it, but I tried my best to eat it all. If I recall, I think I fell asleep with it in my hands. It was a bit more brown when I woke up. The memory still makes me smile.

    4. Coffee or tea?
    A: Coffee, though I don’t drink it anymore. I do love the smell.

    5. Favorite season?
    A: Autumn

    6. How about fav time of 24 hours?
    A: 2 a.m. when everyone else is asleep.

    7. Were you a boyscout/girlscout?
    A: Nope, but I did do 4-H briefly. They helped me get piano lessons. Unfortunately, one of the other girls didn’t like me knowing all the answers and sort of bullied me after one of the meetings. I wasn’t a fighter, but I shoved her into a rose bush and ran home.

    8. Favorite food for breakfast?
    A: Egg whites, green peppers, and sharp cheddar in a pita shell.

    9. Latest book you’ve bought and read?
    A: Andrew Grey’s Chemistry series. Loved them both. Eager for more.

    10. Do you collect things, like stamps, or key chains, or shoes?
    A: Nope. There was a time many years ago that I tried to start a pewter dragon collection, but that fizzled.

    11. Favorite color, you know you want to tell us!
    A: That color red that some maple trees turn.

    12. Drama or comedy?
    A: Comedy

    13. Have a fav quote or personal motto?
    A: “Yes: I am a dreamer. For a dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.” ~ Oscar Wilde

    14. Cats or dogs?
    A: Cats

    15. Dinner by candlelight or a night out clubbing?
    A: Clubbing

    About the Author & Links:

    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.

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