Jude Dunn One Thing Leads
I cannot express how excited I am to read this book! It sounds like One Thing Leads is going to be a little bit dark and sexy. Even if it’s not, since I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, I know I’ll enjoy it. I had the chance to sit down and interview Jude and we had some fun with it. After the interview be sure to read all about the book and the excerpt that will leave you wanting more! At the bottom enter for a chance to win one of five copies of the book. Jude wrote a little intro to the interview so I’ll let Jude take it away.
Up, Up, and Away!
How superheroes break through the darkness to overcome all.
Who hasn’t heard that—the title of this post, “Up, up, and away”? It’s got to be the most recognizable superhero catchphrase ever, right? That’s what Superman says. He’s quite a guy. Turns seventy-five this year, but he still looks thirty-something, plus he still puts on tights to fight crime, though the DC Comics reboot from a couple of years ago finally let him wear his underwear underneath them instead of on the outside. Now fill in your own joke about every gay man’s dream date here.
But real-life superheroes don’t wear costumes and capes, do they? Or if they do, their friends are likely to mention the names of good therapists in conversation over dinner. Real-life heroes usually look just like you and me. Sometimes they are you and me. We rise to the occasion when our loved ones are threatened, heedless of the dangers involved.
That describes Kenji Okamura, one of the main characters in One Thing Leads, to a tee. Dion, Kenji’s lover, falls under the influence of a power-hungry man intent on luring him into a forced prostitution ring. Kenji is separated from Dion and has to fight his way back, only to find him gone. How he finds Dion and saves him from a terrible fate is the story of how he becomes his lover’s superhero in every real sense of the term.
Amanda and I discuss this and other aspects of One Thing Leads. After we chat there’s a synopsis to get you oriented to the story, a short bio of yours truly and the requisite excerpt, freebies, and “buy me!” linkage. Click and enjoy.
Amanda C. Stone: Thank you for joining me today Jude! I haven’t had a chance to read the book yet so no spoilers. But from what I’ve read so far it seems like it’s kind of a dark book. Is it as dark as the blurb leads the reader to believe?
Jude Dunn: It is quite dark. Deciding to write about human trafficking wasn’t easy, that’s for sure, but there are some issues in One Thing Leads that I wanted to explore. What triggers the first step down such a terrible path as Dion travels? How do you extricate yourself from such a dangerous situation? How do you recover after the person you love finds out what’s happened to you? I don’t know how well I answered these questions, but I found it worth working through them.
The novel is three levels deep because of this. It’s a thrill ride as we see the power-hungry, oversexed Grayson split up Dion and Kenji, then begin seducing Dion. There’s a love story in the middle layer, with Kenji fighting to find Dion and then deciding how to declare his love for him no matter what’s happened. And there’s the foundation layer, which subtly examines what happens when we take seemingly small steps that add up to a trip down a road we wouldn’t have chosen if we’d seen the destination before we began.
ACS: I have to tell you the more I hear about it, the better the book sounds. Was it hard to write about some of the things that Dion goes through while under Grayson’s control?
JD: You want me to be honest?
JD: The truth is that it was both hard and easy. Putting myself inside Dion’s head and heart was heartbreaking at times. I cut short some writing sessions because what it took to reach for the realism I wanted was downright depressing. But there’s another aspect that actually made me look forward to evolving this dimension of the story.
I’m fascinated by what makes a person take another step, be a little more daring, go a little further. This applies to both Dion and Grayson. Watching Grayson pull Dion into his trap—it’s similar to the way we slow down to see a terrible car accident. We feel for the victims, and sometimes we feel bad about our curiosity, but we can’t stop staring. Does that make me sound… I don’t know, warped? I guess there’s a bit of the voyeur in me.
ACS: I think there’s a bit of a voyeur in everyone. We all have that innate need to turn and look at the tragedies around us. Again no spoilers! But is there a happy ending for Dion?
JD: Dion has a lot to work through at the end of One Thing Leads. His self-esteem is shattered, and he’s ashamed to face Kenji, who has to make some major decisions about his life together with Dion. I won’t say exactly what happens, but they face these challenges with courage. Watching them fight their way back to a normal life with each other is inspiring, and I’m not patting myself on the back by saying that. Making this part of the story real was a humbling experience for me.
ACS: From the reviews I’ve read so far you’ve done a great job of writing that fight. Any plans for a sequel to this book?
JD: I really don’t think so, Amanda. I leave Dion and Kenji in a place that seems… well, not settled, exactly, but hopeful. They see a way to put this chapter of their lives behind them, and I’m content to wish them well. Although, I’ve written sequels to stories I thought were finished before, so who knows? You can call me a tease if you want, I don’t mind.
ACS: I haven’t even read the book yet and I know I’ll want a sequel. So YES! You are definitely a tease. Last question and it’s got to be a fun one. Wouldn’t be me if I didn’t have one fun question in here somewhere. You are a super hero! What’s your super hero name and secret talent?
JD: Ah, I know the answer to this one! It’s really two answers though. I’ve joked with friends and family for years that I should wear a tee shirt with a bright yellow circle smack in the middle of the chest that encloses the letters DB in bold black type. DB stands for Disclaimer Boy, because I rarely say anything at all without three run-on sentences full of disclaimers in front of it. At least it seems that way to everyone I know.
The serious answer is that if I could have the superhero fantasy come true for a day—I wouldn’t want this for any longer, trust me—I’d be Il Grande Comico. That’s Italian for The Great Comedian, of course. My super power would be never bombing as a jokester, and I’d get world leaders together for a show that would get them all laughing. When you laugh with someone, things happen. You begin to see eye to eye, and the possibility of working together seems more realistic. Hey, it’s a ridiculous idea, but this is fantasy, right? And that one’s mine.
ACS: A great fantasy to have though. Having people come together to laugh and solve problems at the same time? I’d definitely come to see the one night only showing of Il Grande Comico. Thank you so much for joining me today Jude. I loved having you.
JD: Thanks tons for asking me to chat with you, Amanda. I’ve had a blast. Now tell all your lovely followers they need to buy my marvelous book. ^__^
What makes a young man go further than he ever thought he would?
Dion Bellamy is twenty-seven and studying social work at the University of Chicago. He has lived with Kenji Okamura, a construction worker, for a year and a half. Dion loves Kenji and passionately hopes Kenji feels the same, but he has never said the three big words. Then Grayson Sinclair, Dion’s schoolmate and a vivacious, oversexed playboy, comes between them.
One step at a time, barely aware where his steps are leading, Dion descends the slippery slope into a life of depravity. First, Grayson ensures Kenji is out of the way. Then he entices Dion to go clubbing with him, gets Dion drunk and high, and then takes him to a sex club, where he films Dion giving blow jobs to multiple men. He threatens to put the video online unless Dion signs a contract to work as a prostitute. Though he hardly understands how he reached this point, Dion must now figure out how to escape his fate and save himself.
“God,” Dion screamed, throwing his hands in the air in disgust. He and Kenji glared like dogs circling each other before attacking. Finally Dion broke the tension. “I need some air,” he said, then spun on a heel and strode to the bedroom. Kenji sat still as stone, listening to Dion slamming drawers as he found clothes suitable for going out.
How did this happen? I wanted to come clean. I thought if we talked about it—
After quickly dressing, Dion stormed to the front door.
“Where are you going?”
“Out,” Dion said without looking at Kenji. “Does that meet with your approval?”
“Dion, don’t be—”
The sound of the door slamming rang in Kenji’s ears. Footsteps fell hard and fast down the stairs. When they stopped, he looked away from the door. He closed his eyes at the muffled sound of another door slamming hard two floors below. When he opened his eyes a few minutes later, he looked down, surprised to see dots of blood on the seat of the recliner. He opened his hands and saw that his fingernails had broken the skin of his palms.
I’m a southern boy who lives in Chicago and enjoys fine wine, dark chocolate, and plays jazz piano from time to time. Most of all, I love writing gay romance and erotica that will touch your heart and make you laugh.
More info about One Thing Leads: http://www.
Read a chapter for free: http://www.
Author Site: http://www.judedunn.com/
Pick up a free PDF or two of my unpublished stories: http://www.judedunn.
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