Gay Book Reviews is thrilled to welcome T.J. Klune today, answering questions from our reviewer staff about his newest release Wolfsong.
1. When more than one of your characters' stories are taking shape in your mind at once,what helps you decide which you'll sit and write first?
It needs to be the story that speaks the loudest. When I first sat down down to figure out what I wanted to write after Lightning, Joe, one of the leads in Wolfsong, spoke to me louder than almost anyone else. I hadn’t been hit that hard with a character since the Kid.
2. Were there any songs that helped you write Wolfsong?
Florence + the Machine. I listened to all three of her albums while writing this book, especially the song ‘Howl’ (natch.)
The intense connection between Ox and Joe. I swear you could feel it in your heart and your gut as you’re reading..Belen's Review
3. How did you decide on Joe's name? For a 10-year- old, it was totally random and plain. Did Ox tell you?
Nah, it was Joe that decided on his own name. See, I wanted to write about something extraordinary, but have it be in a setting that the reader could believe was almost real. I like the idea of there being mysteries revealed out of the ordinary. Yeah, there’s werewolves, but come on! They’re realistic werewolves.
4. Why do you enjoy (so so enjoy) ripping the hearts out of your readers?
Ha! You know, I’ve always thought that if you don’t feel something while reading a book, then the author is doing something wrong. The worst thing in the world would be for readers to read a story of mine and decide it was boring. Also, I am an asshole who likes making my readers work for it.
5. If Gary were to meet these wolves…
He would hit on half of them, coo at the rest, and bitch at all of them for not treating him like the princess he is.
Author: T.J. Klune
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: June 20th 2016
Genre(s): M/M Contemporary/Shifter/Paranormal
Page Count: 400 pages
Reviewed by: Belen, Lili, Vallie, Renee
Ox was twelve when his daddy taught him a very valuable lesson. He said that Ox wasn’t worth anything and people would never understand him. Then he left.
Ox was sixteen when he met the boy on the road. The little boy who talked and talked and talked. Ox found out later the little boy hadn’t spoken in almost two years before that day, and that the little boy belonged to a family who had moved into the house at the end of the lane.
Ox was seventeen when he found out the little boy’s secret and it painted the world around him in colors of red and orange and violet, of Alpha and Beta and Omega.
Ox was twenty-three when murder came to town and tore a hole in his head and heart. The boy chased after the monster with revenge in his bloodred eyes, leaving Ox behind to pick up the pieces.
It’s been four years since that fateful day—and the boy is back. Except now he’s a man, and Ox can no longer ignore the song that howls between them.
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I walked down the road toward the house.
It was warm, so I took off my work shirt. I left the white tank top on. A breeze cooled my skin.
The keys to the shop were heavy in my pocket. I pulled them out and looked at them. I’d never had that many keys before. I felt responsible for something.
I put them back in my pocket. I didn’t want to take the chance of losing them.
And then he said, “Hey! Hey there! You! Hey, guy!”
Yeah. So expect to be floored, gutted, and finally put back together when reading this book. And oh, if you’re wondering about growly possessive alpha sex? YES! It’s there! I was so pleasantly surprised at that but you will not be left wanting.Lili's ReviewI looked up.
There was a boy standing in the dirt road, watching me. His nose was twitching and his eyes were wide. They were blue and bright. Short blond hair. Tanned skin, almost as much as mine. He was young and small and I wondered if I was dreaming again.
“Hello,” I said.
“Who are you?” he asked.
“Ox? Ox! Do you smell that?”
I sniffed the air. I didn’t smell anything other than the woods. “I smell trees,” I said.
He shook his head. “No, no, no. It’s something bigger.”
He walked toward me, his eyes going wider. Then he was running.
He wasn’t big. He couldn’t have been more than nine or ten. He collided with my legs, and I barely took a step back. He started climbing me, hooking his legs around my thighs and pulling himself up until his arms were around my neck and we were face to face. “It’s you!”
I didn’t know what was going on. “What’s me?”
He was in my arms now. I didn’t want him to fall. He took my face in his hands and squished my cheeks together. “Why do you smell like that?” he demanded. “Where did you come from? Do you live in the woods? What are you? We just got here. Finally. Where is your house?” He put his forehead against mine and inhaled deeply. “I don’t get it!” he exclaimed. “What is it?” And then he was crawling up and over my shoulders, feet pressed against my chest and neck until he clambered onto my back, arms around my neck, chin hooked on my shoulder. “We have to go see my mom and dad,” he said. “They’ll know what this is. They know everything.”
He was a tornado of fingers and feet and words. I was caught in the storm.
The intense connection between Ox and Joe. I swear you could feel it in your heart and your gut as you’re reading.Vallie's ReviewHis hands were in my hair, pulling my head back as he said he lived in the house at the end of the lane. That they had just arrived today. That he had moved from far away. He was sad to leave his friends behind. He was ten. He hoped to be big like me when he grew up. Did I like comic books? Did I like mashed potatoes? What was Gordo’s? Did I get to work on Ferraris? Did I ever blow up any cars? He wanted to be an astronaut. Or an archeologist. But he couldn’t be those things because one day he’d have to be a leader instead. He stopped talking for a little while after he said that.
His knees dug into my sides. His hands wrapped around my neck. The sheer weight of him was almost too much for me to take.
We came upon my house. He made me stop so he could look at it. He didn’t get down from my back. Instead, I hitched him up higher so he could see.
“Yes. It’s just me and my mom now.”
He was quiet. Then, “I’m sorry.”
We’d just met. He had nothing to apologize for. “For?”
“For whatever just made you sad.” Like he knew what I was thinking. Like he knew how I felt. Like he was here and real.
“I dream,” I said. “Sometimes it feels like I’m awake. And then I’m not.”
And he said, “You’re awake now. Ox, Ox, Ox. Don’t you see?”
He whispered, as if saying it any louder would make it untrue, “We live so close to each other.”
We turned toward the house at the end of the lane.
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 Super Metroid—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.)