Author Spotlight – TJ Klune

Okay, so TJ Klune is not strictly speaking an indie author, since he’s over at Dreamspinner Press, but he is an LGBT+ writer, and also responded to a tweet of mine with a really cute gif . So he definitely deserves a profile.

TJ Klunes writes in several genres: Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Contemporary, and his books run the gamut from falling-down funny, to sentimental, to sweet, to dark and twisted. My first book from TJ Klune was Murmuration, which falls under the umbrella of speculative fiction and has an unconventional love story thrown in. I enjoyed it so much that I read a few more of his books after that, branching out into his contemporary novels such as How to be a Normal Person (which was one of the the first books I read after Jay Bell traumatized me with Something Like Autumn because I needed something with humor), John and Jackie, and the series starting with Bear, Otter, and the Kid. I read The Lightning-Struck Heart – which is Fantasy with a twist, and screamingly funny. I can’t even look at a picture of a unicorn without thinking about Gary.

Then there’s the Immemorial Year series, beginning with Withered & Sere and continuing with Crisped & Sere. The series is Science Fiction, of the post-apocalyptic variety, one of his darker works and twisted enough to be worthy of Stephen King. One of the things that makes this series so haunting is that the world is all too plausible. There are always some people who act in destructive and cruel ways, and when civilization and its rules and enforcers are gone, there won’t be much to stop them anymore. The two main characters are more than just a little flawed: they’re certifiably insane, and broken beyond repair. They are not really “good guys”, nor are they “bad guys”, but fall somewhere in between. Despite their flaws, I was still rooting for them, and their weird creepy romance.

And yet … despite the darkness, the author’s sense of humor is still there. Characters like Bad Dog and SIRS add some lightness, and Bad Dog is probably one of the most endearing characters I’ve read.

What I really like the most about TJ Klune is that he has a vivid and wild imagination, along with a unique sense of humor, and these things are very much reflected in his books.  His writing voice is unique, honest, and a lot of fun. Most of us censor our thoughts when we write them down, taking out anything that might seem too strange, too bizarre, too weird. TJ Klune lets these thoughts remain, and the result is wonderful — because it’s precisely the weirdest thoughts and ideas that make life more interesting. When I’m reading one of his books, I feel like I’m getting a glimpse of what goes on inside his head — and it’s definitely a fun place to spend a few hours.

 

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