Thank you for stopping by to tell us about your upcoming release, Button Down. It looks fantastic!
Thanks so much, Lane, for letting me post on your blog today.
We all make mistakes. No, that’s not a knock against my host, but an acknowledgement of the fact that no matter how hard we work on a story, there will always be some screw-up that leaps out at a reader.
I can name two of mine off the top of my head.
In my first novel Broken I got some of the sign language wrong. Yep. It’s integral to the story and though most readers wouldn’t notice, that’s not the point. I had studied sign language for a while, had even recently watched Four Weddings and a Funeral, a film that includes a deaf Englishman who signs, and I still got part of it wrong.
I can only conclude that I thought I knew what I needed to know and didn’t let what I was seeing seep deeply enough into my brain to affect my writing. I addressed it in the sequel, Home, but it doesn’t undo the previous time spent banging my head against a wall. I also got some of the UK/American English terms wrong.
You see, I used to be a copy editor at a daily newspaper with two deadlines a day, so accuracy was paramount. We all had a healthy fear of a typo in a headline making it to press, but I don’t think we ever came close to that happening… other things, yes, but not that. So when a mistake I made is captured forever in print, it rankles me.
The other instance I can think of was in a holiday short called Winter Rescue. Only one reader mentioned my mistake in a review, but that’s the one that sticks in my mind. Why is it that praise bounces off us, but the criticisms dig in like ticks sucking us dry? The mistake? I had it snowing when it was clearly too cold to snow. The reader said it ruined the story for them. Ouch.
These mistakes were especially painful because I had the knowledge in my head. It wasn’t something new I was trying to learn. It was already there and had been for years!
I handle these stumbles by telling myself I’ll do better next time. Next time it will be perfect. Next time I’ll do such in-depth research on how to, say, remove an appendix that I’ll actually be about to do it in a pinch and with a nail clipper.
For my novella Audible, a story about a news cameraman and a football player, I contacted a friend of a friend on Facebook, who had worked in mobile news gathering, and a local newscaster in my hometown. My process began with, “Here’s what I want to happen in this scene.” Then I contacted people who could tell me either “That would never happen,” “That’s not possible,” or “Yeah, you got that right,” tweaking accordingly where needed. Both contacts were immensely helpful. Thank you, gentlemen.
For my new novel Button Down, I needed to learn what was involved in renovating a property. I’m a big fan of HGTV, but I also contacted an old friend who is now an architect. He wanted to help but ultimately was too busy, so I did my own research online to learn about construction timelines and necessary documents and permits. Turns out very little of that is in the story, but it still helped me to craft it as accurately as I could. At least I think it did.
If not, I’m sure someone will let me know.
Button Down is available for pre-order at Dreamspinner Press and goes on sale Dec. 23.
Blurb: 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.
Bio: A native of West Virginia, Dawn 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.