For my next Author Spotlight I’m joined by the wonderful Finn Dixon! We chatted about aiming to tell real, funny stories, having long lists of ideas, community support, and his love of working with animals.
Take it away Finn…
First things first, please introduce yourself!
Howdy! My name’s Finn Dixon. I grew up in Massachusetts and always wanted to work with animals. And now, I do. I was a zookeeper for 15 years – most of that was spent working with rhinos (my favorite) and hoofstock (a close second). A few months ago, I was promoted and am now the supervisor for rhinos and hoofstock. I was so happy to stay with the animals I love, and it’s been everything I thought it would be – which is a good thing.
I knew I was different as early as the 3rd grade – that’s when the teasing started anyway. Thus began my internal journey of self-discovery and reflection. What were they seeing in me that I hadn’t seen in myself? I finally knew what to call it – gay – in the sixth grade. This was 1995, a very different time. I didn’t come out until college and it wasn’t really until then that I found the freedom to read the books I wanted to, and watch the shows and movies I had been secretly pining after for years in the closet. I had a hidden bookshelf and everything!
Ugh… that probably was way too dark for an introduction… but it’s all come together to create the man I am today. I live in Florida with my boyfriend and my 2 cats (he’s allergic). He’s from Texas, so it’s thanks to him that I say things like “howdy” and “y’all” from time to time.
Tell us a little bit about your writing style.
My fiance loves to mention a meme about writing he found. It was a review of a book that said, “It was very clear the writer was just making it up as they go.” Ha! That’s mostly what all writers do, but it definitely describes how I write. I have some points to hit, but all the in-between is just made up as I sit there.
Sometimes if I get stuck, I think of something random, like a new character or something inappropriate to push me ahead. I’ve literally had a character that was supposed to stay straight, and at one point in the story, I was like, “No, you’re gay now,” just to move the story ahead. It certainly changed his outlook on life!
My goals are to be real and to be funny (I love making people laugh), so my stories (for now) will be light and, what I consider to be, low angst. I’m not a huge fan of internal couple drama like miscommunication, frustration over something that wasn’t voiced, or long drawn-out fake rules, so most conflicts in my books are external. I like to focus on how the couple reacts to situations and works together despite being two different people from different backgrounds and families. That’s what I find most interesting, both in real life and in stories.
Additionally, I love hyphens, ellipses, and parentheses. My friends and coworkers are always able to tell when I write anonymous notes because of my punctuative habits.
Describe your books in only three words.
Light. Funny. Real
What are you working on right now?
I am finishing up my first spinoff – I’m happy to announce the title publicly here. I did let the Beasties in Finn Dixon’s MMenagerie (my private Facebook group) know a little bit earlier.
It’s called Dickathlon. It involves goofy gymnast Ty and his bi-awakening for track-and-field hunk Declan, who happens to be a decathlete. Why could the book possibly be called Dickathlon? You’ll just have to find out! Ty and Declan met in my debut novel, Rings of Lust, at the Olympics in Brisbane and it stirred some feelings in Ty.
I started to write Rings Trilogy Book 3, but Ty just wouldn’t leave me alone. I really needed to get his story on paper before continuing with Cam and Luke. Also, there might be two more spinoffs that occur between Floored by Love (Book 2) and Rings Trilogy Books 3 that I needed to outline. My plan is to flesh out those stories a bit more, then get back to Book 3 and finish and release that before Dickathlon. So, I’m all out of order, but Ty was too good of a character to ignore.
Out of all your books, which one are you most proud of?
My first – Rings of Lust. From start to finish, it took me about a year, though there was a four-month hiatus where I didn’t write at all. To be honest, I wasn’t getting IRL support from where I needed it (shame, i.e. not wanting me to tell people about it was involved) and I got really down about the whole thing. I can’t even remember what sparked me to start up again, but it was probably the fact that I couldn’t stop thinking about Cam and Luke and the desire to finish their story. Well…to start their story really. It was always going to be a trilogy.
What or who (or both) has influenced you most as a writer?
I would like to acknowledge the entire field of gay romance writers because reading their stories is a constant source of inspiration for me. It’s the same with being part of their social media community. It’s been very welcoming and heart-warming and funny. All the feels, as some would say! So, generally, I see the community as an all-the-time influence.
If I’m going to get specific, the name that springs first to my mind with this question though is Eden Finley. Cut back to 2020. I had an idea in my head, but I had nowhere to start. Covid just became a thing and I had a whole lot of time on my hands. I plowed through her Fake Boyfriends series, the Fandom series, and had just started the CU series and randomly messaged her out of the blue one day. Over the next few months, she’d answer any question I sent her about writing, publishing, cover artists, editors, you name it, and sometimes we would just chat. All while she was still writing and publishing her own work!
I gained enough confidence and information from her that I was able to write a book and publish it. I know I have my own voice, but if I’m being honest, I’m trying to make my readers feel what I felt reading those books. They’ve stuck with me.
What inspired you to start writing?
I had read a few books where little things stuck with me. Impossibly weird sex positions, guys calling each other “baby” (I realize it happens, but I don’t do it lol). I didn’t see anyone like myself in what I was reading at the time. I would often talk about what I was reading at work. Eventually, a co-worker suggested maybe I should write a book, but it wasn’t until I read a book that had a dramatic event from the past featured heavily into the current story that I had my big idea moment. I thought to myself, what if I wrote a book about that moment in the past, as well as the present story… and then the future story too! The idea for the Rings Trilogy was born! Did I also mention I love exclamation points? Floored by Love is technically THE book, and Rings of Lust is kind of like a prequel. I just happened to release the prequel first. With the confidence gained from conversations with Eden, it all eventually happened.
What’s your writing process like? Do you have a typical “writing day”?
I do not have a typical writing day. I try to write every day, or at the very least, re-read or edit something. With a demanding full-time job, I come home very tired at times. I get the most writing done on my weekend, but that’s also the most free time I have with my boyfriend. Factor in a new house and we’re very busy. If I’m being honest, I write my best late at night, but I’m usually tired and realize I need to go to bed – I get up at 6am for work every day. So… I can’t stay up late every night or I would be a zombie at work. It’s a struggle to balance it all sometimes.
Currently, I have a swivel desk “attached” to my couch and that is where I write. I start with an idea, blossom that into a storyboard, outline the main characters, and go! I feel like a pantser, and that’s probably accurate. My Google Docs tabs are always open though, and whenever I’m on the couch, my computer is in front of me or just to the side, waiting for me to add to my stories.
What comes first for you – the plot or the characters?
Definitely the plot. I think of a story first, the characters are secondary. I might have a character in mind, but realistically, I need what happens first. All my ideas are listed in one document and they are all plots. There are obviously characters in those plots, but they grow out of the story. If that makes sense lol.
To give you an idea of how I have plot before characters, I have Ideas documents titled Disney Fairytale, Tarzan, Space Slave, Greek Myth, Superhero, Prince, and then of course, the Rings Spinoffs.
What’s a book that you wish you’d written?
Giving Chase by Riley Hart – the whole Havenwood series really. Sweet, strong Kellan and confused, emotionally-stunted Chase. And then all the supporting cast that became the stars of their own books. Kind of like what I’m trying to do with my series… hint hint.
If you could only write one trope for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
Hmmm…friends to lovers. There’s nothing quite like a character that loves another character realizing they’re actually in love with them. It’s pretty much wish fulfillment. There was a guy in middle school – let’s call him Mike. He had the most gorgeous hair and we eventually became friends in high school, played soccer together, and hung out. Ugh…I wanted him so bad, but it wasn’t reciprocated.
I am definitely interested in the stories with clueless MCs – the whole everyone can see it but them. Fantastic! Add in some dramatic irony and a forced proximity, fake boyfriends (not realistic IMO but it makes for a good story!), or jealous ex trope and it’s gold! I haven’t quite gotten to that level yet in my writing… I feel like I’m at the basic boy-meets-boy and they fall in love – you know, simple stuff. I’m going to try to branch out and we’ll see what happens with that.
What would be your three desert island books?
Sphere by Michael Crichton, The Persian Boy by Mary Renault, Giving Chase by Riley Hart
If one of your books could be made into a movie/TV series, which would you choose and who would you cast?
Oh, I love these questions! Thinking about my guys in a series or a movie is the ultimate in fantasy. Rings of Lust is the obvious choice – it would be the first of a series, of course. Lately, I’ve been so happy to see so many queer stories hitting the streaming apps. Let’s assume all these guys can act. 🙂
Cam – Micah Plath
Luke – Diego Tinoco – though if I can have anyone I want, Marlon Teixeira from like 10 years ago
Tyler – Charlie Kennedy (this one was tough…I need a goofy spirit), maybe I could find an unknown to capture his grin
Graham/Grant – Grayson/Ethan Dolan (unless I can use porn stars)
Woodward (head US coach) – Kevin Costner
Noah (Cam’s personal coach) – Matt Bomer
Shane (Luke’s personal coach) – Chace Crawford
Maybe some basic gymnastics skills could be taught… otherwise, effects would have to be used. I do have some real gymnasts in mind, though in reality, that’s a stretch, because both are still focused on competing and wouldn’t do a movie. Shane Wiskus and Arthur (Nory) Mariano are their names.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Do you have a secret passion or hobby that we don’t know about?
When I’m not writing, I love watching television and movies. My favorite show is Keeping Up Appearances. My top gay films are Just a Question of Love (French made-for-tv movie), Trick (1999 US rom-com), and The Way He Looks (Brazilian coming-of-age movie). During Covid and while writing Rings of Lust, I played Animal Crossing: New Horizons daily for a year. Then, I kind of got over it lol. I used to run… a lot. I’ve run 3 marathons and 29 half marathons. I enjoy nature and hiking, but Florida is so flat (and conservative) that we’ve been looking to move elsewhere recently. My secret confession is that I have played Pokemon Go since its debut and I am currently a level 49 trainer. #teamInstinct
Finally, what’s your favourite dinosaur?
Parasauralophus. Hands down. I love my herbivores. Present day or past. And I just think their big, bony crests are adorable!
FINN DIXON is a full-time zookeeper in hot-as-balls Florida that writes hot-as-balls MM romance in his free time. A long-time fan of the genre, he is dipping his toe into the pool of sizzling and spicy writers already out there and hoping to score.
If you liked that opening paragraph, or the self-deprecating sense of humor that came with it, you’ll love his style of writing. When he isn’t being sarcastic or trying to make someone laugh, he spends the rest of his free time charming the pants off his boyfriend, snuggling with two kitties, and pretending to garden (it’s Florida – it’s too damn hot out).
Finn also likes watching gay films and shows with happy endings (giggity), playing Animal Crossing and Pokemon Go, re-watching Jurassic Park, and traveling when he can afford it.
And yes, I like jocks, but I promise all my books won’t be about them.
Or will they?
For more information on Finn and his work you can find him on his website, and follow him on Instagram, TikTok, Amazon, and BookBub. You can also join his Facebook Group, Finn Dixon’s MMenagerie, for more news and updates.