Cover Artist: Ray Jean-Gilles
Updated January 20
I was head over heels when I came across the cover photo of one of my favorite fiction authors, Frederick Smith, “One and Done,” the soon-to-be-released book.
To date the Writer and Educator has written six books including Busy Ain’t The Half Of It (novel with Chaz Lamar Cruz, August 2021); In Case You Forgot (novel with Chaz Lamar Cruz, June 2019); The Politics of Ethnic Studies, Cultural Centers, and Student Activism: Voices of Black Women at the Academic Borderlands (dissertation, May 2018); Play It Forward (novel, January 2015); Right Side of the Wrong Bed (novel, December 2008); and Down For Whatever (novel, July 2005).
“One and Done” follows a chance encounter, a one-night stand between Dr. Taylor James and Dustin McMillan. Dr. Taylor James, an accomplished university administrator in San Francisco, is determined to get his campus successfully through an upcoming accreditation process. The process could set him up for his ultimate career goal–to be one of the only Black and openly queer university presidents in the U.S. Taylor gives himself just one day a week to have fun and let loose with friends–a one-and-done Sunday Funday brunch in the Castro District.
Dustin McMillan is a consultant and project manager who reluctantly returns to the Bay Area, his hometown, for an assignment. The first in his family to finish college, earn a healthy six-figure income, and have choice and agency in his life’s direction, Dustin is fearful that returning home could mean falling back into roles that he’d thought he’d resolved by moving miles away…and equally fearful of falling back into bed with one sexy and toxic ex-boyfriend who still lingers in his memories.
I contacted Frederick Smith to get the skinny on “One and Done.” Here’s what he shared via email on his soon-to-be-released next successful Black Gay Rom-Com.
PrideIndex (PI): Where did you find the inspiration for this book?
Frederick Smith (FS): With “One and Done,” I wanted to write a traditional romance novel using the romance novel format that romance readers know and love, including all the beats, tropes, twists, turns, and happy-ever-after that come with a romance novel. I wanted to write a Black & Queer romance novel because those are the types of characters, I have written in all my books. I was inspired to write something positive and loving because our world, and the Black & Queer community, needs more love. I wanted the world to see Black & Queer men fall in love – from the meet-cute moment to the happy-ever-after ending.
What inspired me also was the city of San Francisco, the Castro District (the gay neighborhood in S.F.), and a new group of friends that I never imagined would be part of my life – bartenders, drag performers, happy hour regulars, etc.… After I moved to San Francisco, and after “outside” opened up after shelter-in-place, I met a Black bartender who works in Castro Jonathan. I was fascinated with how he has a group of loyal Black followers who memorize his schedule, know which bar or club he’ll work at, and go out on his nights. One of the prominent supporting characters is a Black bartender in Castro who works at a Sunday Funday drag brunch day party, much like my friend Jonathan. That is the setting of the “meet cute” of the two main characters in “One and Done,” Taylor and Dustin.
PI: How long did it take to write this book from start to finish?
FS: I got a solid first draft done in about a year. Then, after submitting to Bold Strokes Books, a few rounds of edits and revisions were done in collaboration with the editor there. My friend Chaz and his partner Hari let me borrow their apartment in L.A. in the summer of 2023 while they were on vacation so that I could write quietly without distractions. Chaz, you may recall, and I co-wrote a couple novels together – “In Case You Forgot” and “Busy Ain’t The Half Of It,” both centering on Black & Queer characters. Without Chaz and Hari loaning me their apartment, I would not have made the writing progress I did.
PI: This book has the potential to become a favorite Black Gay Rom-Com and could make for a perfect movie. What do you have to say about it?
FS: I love that you say and see that. I appreciate that. Thanks for putting that out into the universe – maybe it’ll happen with “One and Done.” I love Rom-Coms. I’m constantly tuning into those types of movies on streaming apps and romance movie networks. They’re always fun, you know what you’re going to get, and there’s always the happy-ever-after, which is very fulfilling. I think to have a Black and Male-Male Rom-Com out there would be groundbreaking and fun for the world to see. I’ve seen many interracial queer Rom-Coms out there. I’d love to see a Black and Queer Male-Male Rom-Com on a mainstream platform.
PI: Do you believe turning a one-night stand/hook-up into a meaningful relationship is realistic? Why or why?
FS: Anything and everything is possible when people come together, whether they intend for it to be a “one and done” situation or they decide they want more after the “one and done.” I think it all depends on the people involved, their intentions, and if there’s communication about what they want and don’t want in the future. But the consent and the communication always have to be there so that people can move forward with what works for them.
PI: How can I get this book? When and where do you plan on promoting it?
FS: I’m very excited that “One and Done” comes out in June 2024, June 11 to be exact. So that means I’ll be doing lots of Pride Month-related events – festivals that host books and authors, podcast interviews, bookstores, community organizations, and schools. I’ll be at a conference for romance novelists and romance readers – Steamy Lit Con – in Anaheim in August 2024, and I will be adding more events as we get closer to the book release date. I keep all my past, current, and future events updated on my website: https://fredericklsmith.com/events/
People can pick up “One and Done” at their favorite bookstore – I encourage people to support local, independent bookstores in their areas. Or they can order online at the following:
Bold Strokes Books: https://www.boldstrokesbooks.com/books/one-and-done-by-frederick-smith-4470-b