Dean Backus

Dean Backus is the best-selling and award-winning solo author or co-author of many works—over eleven plays and his debut novel, Darts and Flowers. One such play (Thus With A Kiss) was a runner-up for Best Play at the 1993 Seattle New Playwright’s festival, and another of which won Best Play at the 1996 San Fransisco Fringe Festival (Is This Seat Taken?). Other play titles produced in Seattle, Tacoma, Berkeley and San Francisco include HimJumping the Broom (co-scr., BATA winner), Alec in WonderlandThe VampersThe P.A. Cooley Show (co-scr.), You, You & You (co-scr.), Sexy Shorts (co-scr.), The Duboce Triangle: A Gay Soap Opera (But Isn’t That Redundant?) (co-scr.), and Pure. His work in San Francisco has been staged at the Alcazar, the Exit, the Shelton, Theater Rhinoceros, the New Conservatory, and Josie’s Cabaret. He has completed three screenplays currently in various stages of development in Hollywood: Darts and FlowersUnaccompanied, and Big Pimpin’. He is the author of numerous award-winning short stories, one of which appeared in Alyson’s 1998 anthology Wilma Loves Betty, and was featured in the book Gay Marriage Real Life (2006) by Michelle Bates Deakin. He has also worked as an award-winning essayist (Frontiers magazine), freelance journalist (The Oregonian, The Backlot.com), poet (“Just Like Matthew,” a tribute to Matthew Shepard), lyricist, and filmmaker. He resides outside of Portland, Oregon with his partner, Jonathan.

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Darts and Flowers Cover

"Funny and LGBTQ+ affirming, Darts and Flowers is a story about teenagers who are desperate to be loved, validated, and part of a community." —Foreword Reviews

When Josh Bradshaw returns to his childhood home and the house down the street from his childhood best friend, it seems like it could be a new beginning. After all, he's older now, and although his feelings haven't changed, he now has words to describe what he felt. He's gay, and he's had a crush on Brian Esau since they were eleven.

Zack Standish couldn't be happier that his best friend is back home, and although he's not sure how to respond to the fact that Josh is gay, there is one very clear silver lining: Missy, the girl of his dreams, is dating his best friend's crush.

The plan is simple:

1. Break up Brian and Missy.

2. Confess their love to their respective crushes.

3. Live happily ever after.

It's a win-win for everyone... or maybe not.

When the plan spirals out of control, Zack and Josh must choose what matters most—their childhood friendship or the romance just within reach.

Debut young adult author Dean Backus spins a fun and crafty tale of friendship, identity, secrets, and love in this LGBTQ romantic comedy set in the 1990s at a private Seattle high school. Darts and Flowers is inspired by Shakespeare’s comedies and iconic teen films of the 90s.

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Awards, Reviews, and Coverage

Amazon Bestseller booklife editors pick  Booklife by PW

Amazon Best Seller in LGBTQ+ Romance for Teens & Young Adults eBooks

"This is a well-written, laugh out loud (even during the painful scenes) epic that takes the best of high school, Twelfth Night-inspired dramedy and infuses it with current social sensibilities, wrapping it all in a warm, hopeful hug." —Booklife [Read the Full Review]

"Funny and LGBTQ+ affirming, Darts and Flowers is a story about teenagers who are desperate to be loved, validated, and part of a community." —Foreword Reviews [Read the Full Review]

 "The book has a big heart and should please fans of both high-school comedy films and YA fiction." — Kirkus Reviews [Read the Full Review]