Meet TJ KluneMar 21, 2022 06:00AM ● By Lenora Kruk-Mullanaphy
With a robust list of books already out on the shelves, award-winning author T.J. Klune is keeping his readers happy with several upcoming releases and appearances. Klune’s books include the award-winning “Into This River I Drown,” as well as the “Green Creek” series, “The House in the Cerulean Sea” and “The Extraordinaries.”
Klune goes by the name T.J., because when he was starting on his author journey he thought “real authors” needed a pen name. He went from Travis John Klune to T.J. Klune.
“Knowing what I know now, I probably wouldn’t have made that same choice, but pretty much everyone—friends, family, the publishing world—calls me T.J. now,” he said.
With his first novel through an indie publisher in 2011, Klune has marked his 10th anniversary publishing books.
“I’ve published more than 25 novels, novellas and short stories,” said Klune. “I signed with Macmillan and Tor in 2018, and they’ve released my novels since.”
Asked if any of his books are his favorite, he said the answer changes daily depending on his mood. Klune said each book has a part of him in it, some bigger than others. The book he usually says is his favorite is “How to be a Normal Person,” a queer, romantic comedy about an autistic man named Gus and an asexual stoner who delights and irritates him in equal measure.
“I love the character of Gus dearly, and the book explores the topic of asexuality and how it pertains to romantic relationships,” he said.
With the amount of books he’s written, one has to wonder where the ideas come from. Klune said there’s no universal answer--some ideas just pop into his head. An upcoming book he’s written came to him after his dog did something endearingly ridiculous. Another novel was given life after he purchased a Roomba vacuum for his house, and he wondered what it’d be like if such machines were sentient (finely sensitive in perception or feeling). Klune thinks the best answer is that ideas come from life—in events both grand and those much more mundane.
Klune always wanted to write, and when he was just six years old, he began carrying a notebook around wherever he went, filling it with stories and ideas for stories.
“Once I filled up one notebook, I started another,” he said. “I still have a couple of these stored away, good for a laugh at what the kid-version of me wanted to write about. As I got older, I had some really great teachers who pushed me to continue writing.”
Life got in the way after high school, as it sometimes does, until about 2009. That’s when he decided he wanted to get back to it and wrote a terrible book, scrapped it and then started over.
“That book became my first published novel, and now, more than 10 years later, I’m a full-time writer and get to honestly say that I love my job,” said Klune.
Klune’s books include “Under the Whispering Door,” “The Seafare Chronicles,” “At First Sight,” “Tales from Verania,” “Immemorial Year,” “The Bones Beneath My Skin,” “Olive Juice,” and “John & Jackie.”
Fans will look forward to several new books in 2022. From “The Damning Stone Tales from Verania Book V” and “In the Lives of Puppets” to “The Extraordinaries #3” and a “work in progress” that’s centered on a dog who wants to be immortal, readers will be kept busy.
Readers can purchase merchandise from the “Green Creek” and the “Tales from Verania” series. Among the items for sale is framed artwork of works from the “Green Creek” series. Part of every sale goes to the Trevor Project, a charity that’s near and dear to Klune’s heart. The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning (LGBTQ) young people under 25.
For a complete list of Klune’s books, upcoming appearances, merchandise and more information, visit www.tjklunebooks.com.