Today I am so pleased to welcome T.J. Klune to Joyfully Jay. T.J. has come to talk to us about his latest release, Until You (which I reviewed here and loved). Please join me in giving him a big welcome!
Okay, so, look: Until You should not exist.
Honestly. There should be no novella featuring the wedding of Paul Auster and Vince Taylor.
The plan I had for the series was treating the books in the At First Sight series as a trilogy: Tell Me It’s Real, followed by The Queen & the Homo Jock King. The third book was going to be Kori/Corey’s book, of which the careful reader would have picked out the small sentence or two I put into Queen that showed the direction I was going to go with it.
I swear. That was supposed to be it.
Why does Until You exist at all, then?
There I was, neck deep in Verania, writing the trilogy of books that I spent most of 2016 working on. Those books are huge in scope, an epic, cracky adventure spread out over three books. I was a wannabe Tolkien on heroin. JK Rowling by way of mushrooms. Wizards and knights and dragons and an evil villain set on bending all of Verania to his malicious whims in order to—
Yeah. Sure. Enough on those books. I mean, you don’t want to hear anything about that, right?
So there I was! In Verania!
Until I had a strange thought cross my mind.
Who was Sexy Paul? I wondered to myself.
Sexy Paul is Paul Auster, I replied.
Yeah, I get that. But why is it capitalized to make it true? Why is Sexy Paul sexy Paul?
(Yes, I often have conversation with myself. Most writers do. If they tell you they don’t, they’re most likely lying.)
It hit me almost immediately. Sexy Paul was Paul Auster after he’d had too much Jager.
(Don’t ask why my mind works the way it does. I don’t even know.)
Well, I knew I was going to show Paul and Vince’s wedding. The plan, though, was to roll it into Kori/Corey’s book, and have it from their perspective.
But the more I thought about it, the more I thought about Sexy Paul and all he was capable of, I realized I wanted to write it from Paul’s perspective. Because who else would know more about Sexy Paul but Paul himself?
And that moment sucked. It sucked because I was in the middle of writing the Destiny Fuck Yeah! Trilogy (unfortunately, DSP won’t allow me to keep that title—boo). I didn’t have time to stop and write another novel about it.
Okay, I thought. But what if it’s not a full length novel?
I am the absolute worst enabler. To myself.
When I told my editor that I was going to write a novella on the wedding, she and I made a bet. Since I am somewhat known for my love of any and all words, could I actually keep it novella length? Say, under fifty thousand words?
“Oh yes,” I said.
Oh, probably not, I thought.
It took my less than two weeks to write. And it felt so good to be able to be back with Paul again, writing from his POV. Tell Me It’s Real came out almost four years ago. I had written it in 2012. Yes, Paul was a huge player in Queen, but it wasn’t quite the same. There’s a certain…meanness (???) to Sandy/Helena. She’s a little more sarcastic and jaded. And Darren Mayne is certainly no Vince. While both are comedies, there’s a sweetness to Paul and Vince that Sandy and Darren’s characters just didn’t allow. Oh, sure, everyone is still a snarky asshole, but it’s different.
Surprisingly, I was able to keep it under 50K words, though when you read the final product, it’s just under that mark. And Sexy Paul does get the words he deserves, and is probably my favorite part of the whole story. In addition, I was able to introduce someone new for Daddy Charlie, and give a glimpse as to what’s ahead for Kori/Corey. Those two things are going to be more related than most people might expect (like, literally related).
Yes, Until You is mostly self-indulgent. It’s fluffy crack that I’ll mainline straight into your veins. When I was writing it, I wanted something simply happy to give to people. The Verania stories, while still being comedies, are a little heavier than the initial book. They have more weight, more substance. The stakes are raised.
So Until You is my simply happy. There are no fights, no angst, no misunderstandings. The only tears will be happy tears. Nana is still Nana, god love her. Johnny Depp is still aggressively homophobic for a parrot. Mattie and Larry are still unsure if Paul’s a pony or not. Sandy and Darren still snipe at each other, and Daddy Charlie gets to introduce his new boo to the Tucson crew.
And Paul and Vince get married.
But not before Sexy Paul makes an appearance to change the very fabric of our reality.
I hope you all enjoy it as much as I did writing it.
I hope it’s your simply happy.
Together with their families and friends
request the honor of your company at the celebration of their marriage.
Until You Order Links:
When TJ Klune was eight, he picked up a pen and paper and began to write his first story (which turned out to be his own sweeping epic version of the video game <em>Super Metroid</em>—he didn’t think the game ended very well and wanted to offer his own take on it. He never heard back from the video game company, much to his chagrin). Now, over two decades later, the cast of characters in his head have only gotten louder, wondering why he has to go to work as a claims examiner for an insurance company during the day when he could just stay home and write.
Since being published, TJ has won the Lambda Literary Award for Best Gay Romance, fought off three lions that threatened to attack him and his village, and was chosen by Amazon as having written one of the best GLBT books of 2011.
And one of those things isn’t true.
(It’s the lion thing. The lion thing isn’t true.)