TJ Klune

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TJ Klune
Klune at the 2023 National Book Festival
Klune at the 2023 National Book Festival
BornTravis John Klune
(1982-05-20) May 20, 1982 (age 42)
Roseburg, Oregon, U.S.
  • Novelist
  • insurance claims examiner
Literary movementLGBT literature
Website Edit this at Wikidata

Travis John Klune (born May 20, 1982) is an American author of fantasy and romantic fiction featuring gay and LGBTQ+ characters. His fantasy novel The House in the Cerulean Sea is a New York Times best seller and winner of the 2021 Alex and Mythopoeic Awards. Klune has spoken about how his asexuality influences his writing. His novel Into This River I Drown won the Lambda Literary Award for Best Gay Romance in 2014.

Personal life[edit]

Klune was born in Roseburg, Oregon.[1] He was eight years old when he first began to write fiction. His young works in poetry and short stories were the first to be published.[2] Klune's writing influences include Stephen King, Wilson Rawls, Patricia Nell Warren, Robert McCammon, and Terry Pratchett.[3]

Klune has been open about his lived experiences with asexuality, queerness and neurodiversity, and how they influence his writing. The historical absence of these communities in fiction has motivated choices in Klune's character development.[4][5]

In 2013, Klune proposed to author Eric Arvin at the GayRomLit Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. The two had met for the first time in person one year earlier at the 2012 GayRomLit Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico.[6] Arvin endured many years of health struggles and passed away on December 12, 2016.[7][8]


Klune's love of writing began when, as a child in the 1980s, he wrote fan fiction about his favorite action-adventure video game Metroid. Later in his childhood, he began writing original stories. His teachers encouraged his work, saying they looked forward to seeing his writing in bookstores one day.[2]

Klune's first book, Bear, Otter and the Kid, was published in 2011. Due to the prevalence of pen names in M/M romantic fiction, he wrote under the pseudonym TJ Klune.[9] His motivation for this first book came from a realization of the poor, often offensive stereotypes of queer characters within stories. He wanted to be able to write a novel that had an accurate representation of queer relationships, that were not stereotypical but relatable and positive.[2] Amazon noted Bear, Otter and the Kid as one of the top LGBTQ+ books of 2011.[10]

In 2013, Klune wrote a magical realist novel, Into This River I Drown, while processing the death of his father.[1] A supernatural tale about grief and love in a small town, it won the 2014 Lambda Literary Award for Best Gay Romance.[11] Other novels written by Klune include the queer werewolf series Green Creek, the queer superhero series The Extraordinaries, the contemporary romance How to Be a Normal Person and the comedic fantasy series Tales from Verania.

The House in the Cerulean Sea, Klune's first stand-alone novel published with the Macmillan Tor imprint, was partially inspired by the Sixties Scoop, in which the Canadian government removed Indigenous children from their homes and placed them with unrelated white, middle-class families. Seeing the similarities to events taking place in the current-day Southern United States, Klune felt a need to write a story celebrating children's differences and to show the positive effects of giving children a safe and supportive place to be themselves.[2] The book is about a man named Linus Baker who travels to Marsyas Island as a representative of the Department in Charge of Magical Youth. The island is home to six magical kids, including Lucifer aka "Lucy" - the son of the devil.

Klune is signed with the Macmillan Tor imprint, Tor Teen, for two more stand-alone Young Adult novels.[12]

Awards and critical reception[edit]

Year[a] Work Award Category Result Ref.
2013 Into This River I Drown Lambda Literary Award Gay Romance Won [11]
2020 The House in the Cerulean Sea Alex Award Novel[b] Won [14]
Mythopoeic Fantasy Award Adult Literature Won [15]
2021 Under the Whispering Door Locus Award Fantasy Novel Nominated [16]

Klune's Young Adult debut, The Extraordinaries, is praised by Kirkus for its use of superhero and fan fiction tropes, while Publishers Weekly compliments Klune on writing a teenaged character with ADHD in a positive and supportive light.[17][18]

His stand-alone fantasy novel, The House in the Cerulean Sea, is a New York Times Best Seller and has been named by The Washington Post as one of “2020’s Best Feel-Good Reads”.[19][20] Publishers Weekly calls it a “thought-provoking Orwellian fantasy” in its starred review.[21] Kirkus praises Klune for his art of creating enduring characters.[22] The novel was named one of Amazon's Best science fiction and fantasy books of 2020.[10]

Klune was nominated as an all-time favourite M/M author on the book review website Goodreads in 2017. He is also an advocate for better LGBTQ2+ representation in novels, wishing to see more asexual characters like himself reflected in books.[4]


Series Title Year Ref.
Seafare Series Bear, Otter and the Kid 2011 [6]
Who We Are 2012 [6]
The Art of Breathing 2014 [23]
The Long and Winding Road 2017 [24]
Tales from Verania The Lightning-Struck Heart 2015 [1]
A Destiny of Dragons 2017 [1]
The Consumption of Magic 2017 [1]
A Wish Upon the Stars 2018 [1]
Fairytales from Verania (collection) 2021 [1]
The Damning Stone 2022 [25]
How to Be How to Be a Normal Person 2015 [26]
How to Be a Movie Star 2019 [26]
Immemorial Year Withered + Sere 2016 [1]
Crisped + Sere 2016 [1]
Green Creek Wolfsong 2016 [1]
Ravensong 2018 [1]
Heartsong 2020 [1]
Brothersong 2020 [1]
The Extraordinaries The Extraordinaries 2020 [1]
Flash Fire 2021 [1]
Heat Wave 2022 [26]
Standalone novels Burn 2012 [1]
Into This River I Drown 2013 [6]
Murmuration 2016 [1]
The Bones Beneath My Skin 2018 [1]
The House in the Cerulean Sea 2020 [1]
Under the Whispering Door 2021 [27]
In the Lives of Puppets 2023 [1]

Explanatory notes[edit]

  1. ^ Year of publication.
  2. ^ The Alex Awards are given to books written for adults that have special appeal to young adults.[13]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t "TJ Klune: The Idea of Kindness". Locus Magazine. Vol. 87, no. 2. August 2021.
  2. ^ a b c d Uphaus, Adele (March 18, 2020). "Local author TJ Klune's new book is 'a slice of happiness'". The Free Lance-Star. Gale. Retrieved February 19, 2021.
  3. ^ "Interview With an Author: TJ Klune". Los Angeles Public Library. Retrieved February 19, 2021.
  4. ^ a b Carter, Ellen (August 18, 2020). "Asexual Romance in an Allosexual World: How Ace-Spectrum Characters (and Authors) Create Space for Romantic Love". Journal of Popular Romance Studies. 9: 1–19.
  5. ^ Jaroudi, Iman. "Queer Joy and the Politics of Storytelling: An Interview with author TJ Klune". Retrieved February 19, 2021.
  6. ^ a b c d "Romance Writers Engaged!". Lambda Literary Foundation. November 26, 2013. Retrieved February 19, 2021.
  7. ^ Klune, TJ (December 9, 2016). "Eric Arvin". Goodreads. Retrieved June 12, 2021.
  8. ^ "Obituary for Eric Anthony Arvin at Madison Chapel". Retrieved February 19, 2021.
  9. ^ Klune, TJ (January 31, 2017). "Men in Romance: What's In a Name?". Open Ink Press. Archived from the original on April 21, 2017.
  10. ^ a b "Best science fiction and fantasy of 2020". Retrieved January 15, 2021.
  11. ^ a b "Winners of the 26th Annual Lambda Literary Awards Announced". Lambda Literary Foundation. June 3, 2014. Retrieved February 19, 2021.
  12. ^ "Book Deals: Week of June 18, 2018". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved February 19, 2021.
  13. ^ "Alex Awards". American Library Association. February 27, 2012. Retrieved August 16, 2021.
  14. ^ "An Interview with Alex Award Winner TJ Klune, author of The House in the Cerulean Sea". The Hub. Young Adult Library Services Association. May 7, 2021.
  15. ^ "Mythopoeic Awards — 2021". The Mythopoeic Society. Retrieved October 17, 2021.
  16. ^ "2022 Locus Awards Top Ten Finalists". Locus Magazine. May 10, 2022. Retrieved May 10, 2022.
  17. ^ "The Extraordinaries". Kirkus Reviews. February 26, 2020.
  18. ^ "The Extraordinaries (The Extraordinaries #1)". Publishers Weekly. March 20, 2020. Retrieved February 19, 2021.
  19. ^ Haupt, Angela (October 20, 2020). "15 feel-good books guaranteed to lift your spirits". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved February 19, 2021.
  20. ^ "Paperback Trade Fiction Books - Best Sellers - Books - Week of January 31, 2021". The New York Times. January 31, 2021. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on April 25, 2021.
  21. ^ "The House in the Cerulean Sea". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved February 19, 2021.
  22. ^ "The House in the Cerulean Sea". Kirkus Reviews. November 11, 2019.
  23. ^ Klune, TJ (2014). The Art of Breathing. Dreamspinner Press. ISBN 978-1-62798-925-1. OCLC 892707353.
  24. ^ Klune, TJ (2017). The Long and Winding Road. ISBN 978-1-39329-716-1. OCLC 1150884652.
  25. ^ Klune, TJ (2022). The Damning Stone. ISBN 979-8-20150-482-3. OCLC 1312288785.
  26. ^ a b c "TJ Klune Books". Retrieved June 20, 2023.
  27. ^ Goldschlager, Amy (February 9, 2022). "Amy Goldschlager Reviews Under the Whispering Door and Empire of the Vampires". Locus Magazine.

External links[edit]