I hate fake/pretend relationships. Honestly, in books, in movies, anytime the focal point of the plot is a pretend relationship between the main characters, it’s usually a turn off. And the reason for the fakeness is typically ludicrous, and I tend to roll my eyes at it.
I hate enemies to lovers stories too, because of that first word enemies. I don’t like reading books where the MC’s and love interests are mean to each other. There’s a line between snark and vitriol, and I tend to not gravitate toward the actual meanness. I like it when people actually like each other, you know?
I hate miscommunication in books. Sure, if done well, it can add a layer to the plot, but most of the time, I just want to punch the characters in the face and demand that they talk to each other like adults and to cut that shit out. They are adults, right?
I don’t care if a book has detailed sex scenes or not. If it did, I tend to skip over the sex scene because it’s something I’ve read before. Sex is sex is sex. I’ve had it. I know how it works. Given that I’m asexual, I’m not titillated by erotica, nor do I really even care for it. Sex scenes aren’t important to me. Great, it shows one man can put his dick in another man’s butt, but come on. Show me the connection in other ways.
Why am I telling you all this?
Because I am a fucking tangle of contradictions.
The sequel to Tell Me It’s Real comes out on February 29th, 2016. It’s called The Queen & the Homo Jock King.
It’s also a book that’s about enemies who enter into a pretend relationship for ludicrous reasons whose attraction to each other is hampered by miscommunication until they eventually become lovers and have the raunchiest sex out of any book I’d ever written.
I know, I know.
Tj, you’re saying. Oh, Tj. You’re just a big ol’ mess, aren’t you?
Mostly. But that’s okay.
Let’s be honest here. Tell Me It’s Real was never going to be high literature. I never intended it to be. The reason TMIR existed at all was because I was tired of the shirtless torso covered books where everyone had a fucking ten inch dick and could come buckets in assholes and with their manpain and their gay for you, blah blah blah.
I wanted to write about normal people. People who might not be the smartest or the coolest or the most attractive. Where were the overweight dudes and why didn’t they get the jocks? Where were the drag queens and why didn’t they get Twu Wuv?
That’s the big reason for TMIR. To have gay people who could be real fall in love with each other.
That’s not meant to be an admonition against anyone or any other author. That is also not me thinking I’m better than any other author out there. I’m not. By far. But TMIR was born out of frustration that maybe gay dudes were getting lost in the romantic fantasy.
And so TMIR came out. And blew up, both with the good and the bad. It sold a lot. Thanks. It brought up a lot of discussion. Thanks for that too. I liked that book quite a bit. Still do, in fact. I might even love it, a little.
Which is partly why it took so long to write the sequel, even though one was practically handed to me on a silver platter because of Sandy and Darren. Even though they only had a few scenes together, they just sparked for me, and I knew there was a story there, about why they hated each other like they did. But when one book is a success like TMIR is, it can be intimidating to write a follow up. What if it’s not as good? What if people don’t like it as much? What if they hate it and it lessens their enjoyment of the first book?
If you think about it, and it may seem surprising, I’ve only ever published two sequels. And it’s for the same series, the Bear, Otter and the Kid books.
And it was while in the third book, The Art of Breathing, that Kori/Corey appeared, and suddenly we were in Tucson and Paul and Vince and Sandy and Darren were there and I was overjoyed, because that wasn’t planned. At least not initially. But I thought Kori/Corey would fit in with the Tucson crew, and wouldn’t that just be neat?
And I knew then, what they story would be, once I finished Breathing. But then life went to hell for a long time, and when I got back to writing again, I wrote new stuff instead of focusing on the told. And honestly, that’s really the reason BOATK4 hasn’t been finished yet, because I’ve wanted to expand my horizons, test the limits of my capabilities.
Until I sat down one day and thought, I’m ready to write about some motherfucking drag queens.
And then proceeded to write in tropes that I usually avoid like the plague. Why? Because it was fucking fun. God, I had so much fun writing this book. First and foremost, just being back with Paul and Sandy was one of the greatest joys I’ve had writing. Their friendship is what I think a perfect friendship should be: they give each other shit, they love each other fiercely, and they are always there to scratch someone’s eyes for the other if need be. So while the book is the romance between Sandy and Darren, Paul and Sandy’s friendship is a major part of it too. And Vince, of course, sweet and lovable Vince who I want to put in my pocket and keep safe forever. And then there’s the added dynamic of Corey/Kori, the bi-gendered queer who was like a missing piece in the puzzle of the dynamic between these people. Seriously, Kori/Corey fit so well that even I was surprised. I didn’t have to make any real changes to the character seen in Breathing, even if that book had a much angstier setting.
So I faked the relationship between these enemies to lovers. I had them misunderstand each other, because are they really the enemies they think they are? (Hint: no, they’re not.)
That just left the sex.
Sandy is an experienced gay man. Darren is an experienced gay man.
They both like to fuck.
So I wrote the longest, most involved sex scene I’ve ever written, because I thought it felt right for the characters. I won’t do this for every book. I may never do it again for another book. The only reason this one is as explicit as it is, is because it adds to the dynamic of who these two are. It’s meant to progress the story forward, to show them finally coming together after all this time. And there is a scene in here in which they don’t have sex that I consider to be the most erotic thing I’ve ever written. You’ll know it when you get to it.
And, as you probably can tell, I love drag queens. I love them for their spirit, their originality, their fierce determination, their drive to get up in front of crowds and perform their fucking hearts out. Some of the greatest people I know are queens, and you’ll see in the dedication that this book is for two very specials queens in my life.
Is there Wookie Cry Face?
Maybe. If there is, it won’t be as much as any of my other books.
What level of crack is this?
More than Normal Person, less than Lightning Struck Heart. About the same as TMIR.
How long is it?
160K words, a bit longer than TMIR.
Do Tyson or Bear or anyone from BOATK make an appearance?
By name only. I had a small scene with the Kid but it was cut during edits, because it didn’t do anything for the book, and ended up being more fan service than anything. I might release it later on as a freebie.
Is there going to be another book in the series?
Yes. Kori/Corey will be the lead character, which, having a transgendered main character in a romantic comedy is something I am so excited to be writing about.
TJ KLUNE. WHERE IS BOATK4 AND BURN2, OMFG!!!
I’m sorry it’s taken this long to get here. I know three years can be a long time to wait between books. I don’t plan on it taking that long again, but things happen. There are times books just can’t wait to be written (100K words on Lightning 2, WTF), and other times I’m just not ready. If I haven’t written a follow up yet it’s because I’m not ready. I would rather wait until I am ready rather than force out a shitty book and publish it. You deserve me giving you the best to my ability. Will you always like it? No, of course not. That’s not possible. But I thank you for reading it anyway.
I can’t wait for you to read about a Queen finally getting her King.