ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Candace Winters Johnson is a newlywed wife to husband, Mike and the mom to three grown sons. She always dreamed of becoming an author and took courses in high school that focused on writing. Her writing interests include memoirs, comedy and fiction. Her path to becoming an actual published author came to fruition once her youngest son, Damien, was diagnosed with gender dysphoria at age 14. He was assigned female at birth then later began the long journey of transitioning to live as male after his dysphoria diagnosis. Walking this journey with her child, showed her how little information there was available for her own feelings of mourning, relief and uncertainty. This is how Particular Peyton, Daring Damien came to fruition; as well as, her becoming an ally and outspoken activist for the LGBTQI+ community. In the beginning of Damien’s transition, she began attending a support group at PFLAG in Nashville, TN. This is where she met her now husband, Mike. He had been assigned female at birth (AFAB) and had recently began his own transition path. He was at PFLAG to offer guidance for parents and other trans folks, if needed. They began dating shortly after and married 3 years later. Her oldest son is adopted and together, they are currently working on his memoirs of his childhood, and time in foster care prior to coming to live with her at age 14. He is a newlywed as well and married his girlfriend of 10 years, at a ceremony in New Orleans. While her middle son had a less dramatic childhood than his two brothers, he continues to inspire Damien to want to work in law enforcement with him, after Damien turns 21. She also enjoys cooking for others. She feels there is truly something magical that happens when you feed someone food made with love, and offer them a place to forget the world for a little while. Her boys call it her “black magic cooking”. Her other interests include feeding songbirds in her backyard, wrangling dust bunnies from the family pets and trying to grow plants, with the handicap of a black thumb. They reside in middle Tennessee.
Damien Ryan Connor is not your typical twenty year old, young man. He isn’t a partier, but more of a homebody. He likes to plan for his future. You could also say he was born at the age of fourteen. That is when he carefully chose and began life as Damien; and oh yes, he was assigned female at birth. He lived most of his young life as a girl that just resigned herself to rarely experiencing happiness. He often states, he just assumed that was how life felt for everyone, dark and sad. This all began to change with something as simple as a masculine haircut at the age of 14. Something magical seemed to happen that day. One simple change in appearance started to reveal how much better he could feel on the inside. Thus began the journey for him and his mom to try to discover why it mattered that much. He never really had dreams of being a writer but the story needed to be told and Particular Peyton, Daring Damien was born. He continues to be surprised people want to hear about his life but also has realizes how much being visible and sharing their journey, matters.
He is a recent graduate from a high school in middle Tennessee. It was during high school, he discovered his passion for law enforcement and the military. He joined groups such as a local Police Explorers program and JROTC. By the time he graduated high school, he had worked hard and was promoted to Captain of his JROTC team. He was also awarded the Veterans Purple Heart Award for leadership. He has dreams to become a police officer and hopefully one day get to work along side his brother. He is close to both his brothers and is grateful for how much they both love and support him. Together his brothers, mom and stepdad helped to make his journey to becoming Damien a pretty simple and nondramatic event.
They reside in middle Tennessee.