Dixon, a dynamic thriller writer, gives readers a view of her
-The SCBC, Inc.
What is my
My second novel, “Behind Closed Doors... In My Father’s House” was
recently released. It is the second in the “Simon Says” trilogy, and I
call it the Black “Sopranos.” It is a unique book, about a Washington,
D.C. based Black Mafia family. It is replete with lust, suspense, drama,
deceit, lust and murder. It has been met with really great reviews.
Where are you from?
I was born and raised in the Washington Metropolitan Area. Chocolate
City and the Vanilla Suburbs.
When and why did you begin writing?
I actually wrote a book in high school, and always showed an interest in
writing. My guidance counselors persuaded me to pursue a career in math
and sciences, though. I didn’t pick back up on writing until after I had
worked in corporate America for a number of years, and had become quite
How has your environment/upbringing colored
I grew up in a very diverse environment. I had exposure to a lot of
different stimuli. I have experienced things from busing to the “New
Jack City”-style drug epidemic of the 1980’s and ‘90s. But, growing up
around DC instilled a great sense of pride as a Black person. I wasn’t
called the “n” word until I went to school in Norfolk, Virginia. I
really wasn’t exposed to the racial divisions in our culture. Black was
black, it didn’t matter if you were light or dark. So, I always grew up
thinking that Black folks were large and in charge. That’s my
foundation. From that perspective, it is my goal to write stories that
show our pride and diversity. Stories that are atypical... what we as
Black folks do that is not quite the norm. Things we have always done,
but things that don’t get recognized on a larger scale. Things that
don’t get trumpeted to the general public. But, to take that basis and
create an interesting, thrilling storyline.
What inspired you to pen your first novel?
It was John Grisham’s “The Firm.” I was captivated by the thriller
genre, and wondered why no one at the time was writing books like that
with African American characters. So I decided to try my hand. But what
I discovered was just because I was an avid reader, it didn’t mean that
I could write. It took me a while to really understand the craft. And
I’m still learning.
What genre are you most comfortable writing?
Thrillers and suspense novels, definitely. You can take poetic license
with any work of fiction, but with thrillers, you can really stretch
your imagination. Given the world that we live in, anything is possible,
and I think people like the complexities of thrillers and suspense
novels. Especially when the characters are ones that they can relate to.
They can envision themselves as everyday people, getting caught up in
similar situations. Then, suddenly we realize, our lives aren’t so bad.
How do you feel overall about self-publishing?
I totally support it. It’s not the easiest thing in the world to do, but
it can be extremely rewarding. Especially if an author is seriously
dedicated to writing, and wants to see their work in print. It is a
wonderful opportunity, but self-publishers should also be committed to
putting out a quality product. They should completely comprehend the
requirements of self-publishing which can include a considerable
investment of resources: time, energy and money. Authors should hire a
good editor, invest in a reputable printer and contract with a good book
designer/graphic artist. And they should understand how to market the
book, once it is printed. That’s when the fun really begins.
What are you current projects?
I am currently working on a short story for a compilation Zane is
putting together. She’s my friend and she’s given me an opportunity to
work with her, so I’m definitely looking forward to that. I’m also
working on my third book, “Every Shut Eye...”, which is being published
by Random House. They are re-releasing “Simon Says” this fall, and I’m
very excited about that.
Do you feel that the boom in African American
writers is a fad or another renaissance?
I think that it is definitely another renaissance. Some of the work may
be a little faddish, but I think that like any situation, the cream is
going to rise to the top. There are a number of really good writers out
here, that may or may not be recognized as such, but we have to be
committed to the craft, no matter how long it takes. Some of the best
writers never reach the level of acclaim that they deserve until much
later in their careers. So, if you’re faint of heart, or in a serious
rush, writing may not be for you. You have to love what you do, and be
satisfied with what you do. And if others agree and like what you do,
then you’ve found your niche. We as African Americans have to expand our
horizons to include other genres such as Sci-Fi and suspense. Show us
some love, too!
Do you see writing as a long or short term
Long term, no doubt. Some writers experience rapid success, and I’m
really happy for them. I realized that my genre and my target audience
is a harder sell than some of the more popular venues, so I had to
calibrate my expectations accordingly. I use fire to symbolize my
writing goals. I don’t want to be a flash fire, one that catches on
quickly and burns intensely, but only for a few moments. I want to be a
slow burn. One that takes more effort to ignite, but once it does, it
burns for a really long time.
Name one entity that you feel supported you
outside of family members.
The book clubs. They have been so great. Their support has been
unquestionable, and I really thank them for motivating me. They give me
great feedback and encouragement, and they challenge me to keep writing
and developing my skills as a writer. I can’t thank them enough!
Is there a message in your novel that you want
readers to grasp?
Yes. I want readers to see that we as African Americans are very
diverse, compelling, and multi-faceted. I want readers to embrace the
concept that we do different things, and want to read about them. As
part of the “Black Experience,” we all have distinctly different
branches in our family trees, and whereas sometimes we tend to lean
toward the dramatic, sometimes that’s not the most compelling.
How would you like readers to best remember
As the author that wants to entertain, intrigue and challenge you. I’d
also like to be known as “the sister that writes for the brothers.” I
know that Black men usually read non-fiction, so I try to reinforce my
fiction with very strong non-fiction elements. So, although I want to
get more Black men reading fiction, it’s not that I don’t write for the
sisters. That’s a given. I am a sister, so I’m sure that the sisters
will continue to read and enjoy my works, too. Black women are avid
readers and have been wonderfully supportive in the past.