2018 has been a roller coaster.
In January, I found myself preparing for the final Sam of Wilds Book, dealing with the emotional fallout of The Consumption of Magic (“TJ HOW DARE YOU DO THIS TO US???!!”), and wondering just how out of my depth I was with trying to break into the YA market with a book about queer superheroes and the boy named Nick who writes fanfiction about them. I didn’t know what would come of it, if anything, and figured all I could do was hope for the best.
I’m glad I took the chance. The biggest thing that’s ever happened to my career took place in the first half of 2018. Chances are if you’re reading this, you know what I’m talking about so no need to brag about it more than I already have. I’m thrilled, terrified, and can’t wait for what the coming years will bring.
But that’ll come soon enough.
Here’s a quick recap of my 2018 releases (along with something you might not have known about each book):
A Wish Upon the Stars
I love this ending because it is an ending. I never imagined when writing The Lightning-Struck Heart that it’d grow into a four book series about family, friendships, and the depths this dude named Sam would go to in order to protect king and country. I’m pleased with his story and I was happy I was able to finish it without too much muss and fuss. It was a monstrous undertaking, but I learned a lot from it. I get a ton of questions about when I might go back to Verania for Justin’s book, but as I’ve said before, I need a good long break from this world before I consider going back. Keep in mind Wish was just released this year; it’ll be a couple more years before I do anything with Justin. I won’t forget him, though. Promise.
(In this book, a long with the addition of Gary’s twin brother Terry, we were also going to meet their parents. But as I got through their introduction, I realized that there were too many characters, so I made the decision to cut them and save them for later. We’ll meet them in Justin’s book.)
Ah, the wolves. Sort of the same story here. When I wrote Wolfsong, I had no idea it would grow into what it did, except by this I mean in terms of sales or the rabid fanbase around it. Who knew people liked angsty werewolves? Y’all are a bunch of masochists. I’ve talked previously how hard this book was to write given that I tried too much to make it sound like Wolfsong, and while frustrating, it taught me more about my style of writing than any other book I’ve written, especially when I was forced to start over to make it Gordo, not Gordo via Ox. It was a tough lesson, but I’m glad I figured it out when I did.
(Elijah was originally going to be saved for book 3. In part of the initial outline, I was going to make the Omega aspect of the book the complete main focus with only Mark having been changed and having Mark and Gordo go off on their own as Mark sunk further and further into madness. It would have been a much darker story, and I scrapped it because it would have meant the pack as a whole was barely in the book at all. And then Elijah’s history became twisted with Gordo’s own, and it wouldn’t have made sense to save it for later.)
The Bones Beneath My Skin
Please buy the audio. Please buy the audio. Please buy the audio.
Now that that’s out of the way, my first foray into self-publishing was a success, so thank you for that. Sci-fi is always a harder sell in MM romance, so I appreciate people coming along with me on this journey. I had a blast with this book, and Art and Nate and Alex are characters that I’ll look back on fondly. It was a long road for Bones, from when I first started writing it to when it was actually published, but I’m happy with how it turned out. It’s a different kind of love story, and I am so happy with how it came out. In addition, Greg Tremblay is a fucking master, and the audiobook is just fantastic (please buy it).
(There was a long moment when I started getting ready to write Bones that I considered making Artemis a boy. Since I already knew how it was going to end—”And I come in peace”—I worried that people were going to expect that he should get his own book too. He could be queer and fall in love with an earth dude! I didn’t want that. And it helped that the dynamic between Artemis as she was and Alex made the story feel more…authentic? So girl Artemis it was.)
And just this week, I released Blasphemy! which has no literary value and which I love to pieces. I will be writing more about Satan and God and Jimmy and teenage Jesus at some point. I think making it a free series that I visit every now and then seems doable. It was fun to write, and allowed me to clear my head.
2019 is right around the corner. Big, big things are coming, and I’ll tease a little below. If you want to go into everything blind, then feel free to skip this section.
February 12: How to Be a Move Star—This is literally the happiest book I’ve ever written. Me, a cynical pessimist, made the terrible decision to write the happiest, most optimistic character I’ve ever created. And goddamn if I didn’t love it. Josy is a fuckin delight, especially when he’s lamenting how hard it is to make friends as an adult.
June: Why We Fight—The last At First Sight book, and finally we’re getting Corey/Kori’s story. You will never look at eggs again without being scarred for life, and also there is a sex scene involving absolutely no touching, a door, and dirty, filthy talk from one Professor Jeremy Olsen.
September/December: Heartsong/Brothersong—Nothing will ever be the same. You won’t see the hits coming, and when they do, you won’t believe your eyes. The Green Creek series started out about a lonely boy named Ox. I thought it would stay that way, and it does, at least in part. However, the last two books are really about three Bennett brothers, and their love and faith in each other. I aim to answer a deceptively simple question: what happens when that faith is stretched to its limits?
And that’s it, for now. I need a break. I’ll be stepping back from most social media until the first or second week of January. I’ve worked my ass off this year, and need to take a breather. Nothing to worry about, it’s something I do almost every year. I think of it as my yearly retreat from being TJ Klune.
When I come back, it’ll be to kick off this crazy ride all over again. Thank you for making 2018 my biggest year yet. The trust you’ve put into me as an author is humbling, and something I won’t forget. I wish you and yours a very happy holiday season.