Play The Game (released 12/1, Dafina Books) is the latest novel from Doug Dixon and certainly not his last. Characters Tangie Jackson, Mya LeVeaux and Stephanie Hall are schoolteachers in Atlanta, Georgia. They find lasting bonds of friendship while shopping for a pair of boots in Nordstrom’s. Dixon keeps it real, displaying their flaws in finding the perfect match. Twice-divorced, Tangie has decided that love is all about having a good time, even if it means being “the other woman” with a married man. Mya, devastated by a faithless fiancé, hides herself in books and intellectualism to combat her loneliness. Meanwhile, Stephanie throws herself and her young son into the church while her unemployed man makes excuses for why he can’t do right.
In a genre dominated by women, Dixon stands out in contemporary romance. His characters speak like sisters you’ve known for years; the story lines make the reader question if they, too, have “played the game” to get where they wanted to be.
When asked about the inspiration for Play the Game, Dixon stated the characters were loosely based on three real female friends he’d known in Mobile, Alabama. “You talk about relationship drama, they each had it. Over the years I had a first hand look at how they stood by one another no matter the circumstances, “ he replied.
Dixon has definite opinions on relationships, which shows in his prose: “I think women and men have to realize that a person isn’t going to be everything you want them to be. Don’t put too much emphasis on the status quo [such as degree, social network, etc.], and definitely keep other folks out of your relationships. It only compounds the problem.”
After having been a member of the Naval Reserves and a career in IT, Doug Dixon came to the writing craft while contemplating a past relationship. “I started writing events that led up to us meeting, the first date, the kiss, on up to the intimacy,” he told Parlé. He described the fitfulness of the literary process, stating that, at one point, he stopped altogether. But eventually, it evened itself out: “Before I knew it, I had over five hundred pages. I enjoyed the process so much I started writing another one, then another.”
During the interview, he gave a shout out to the up and coming writing talent, encouraging them to pursue their dreams: “Anything you really want in life, don’t give up. Do your research on what you’re writing about. Don’t let others discourage you and most of all have a thick skin. You must realize that you work will be viewed by [many] people who will not like everything about your work. Just shake it off and keep writing. Also, stayed prayed up!” He also didn’t overlook his fan base, thanking them for the support on his other novel, The Jump Off, and for the constant stream of emails and attendance venue appearances.
This reviewer hopes Dixon continues delivering his skill to the writing marketplace. As Tangie said on page 238, “It’s the real deal.” Only with Dixon, his literary soup hits the mind and stays there with pleasure read after read.
Written by Rhonda Torgersen
Play The Game receives a PARL