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The Today

SOCO Student Media from Colorado State University Pueblo

The Today

SOCO Student Media from Colorado State University Pueblo

The Today

Author Jason June talks identity, personal discovery and representation in literature

Photo+Courtesy+Ryan+Bilawsky+
Photo Courtesy Ryan Bilawsky

Jason’s writing agenda

By: Noelle Redmond

Questions by Kimmy Reinhardt

Love comes in all shapes and sizes, and author Jason June captures the rich and authentic feel of everyday LGBTQI+ people in his books. Being the writer of elementary-level reading books “Mermicorn Island” and “Whobert Whover” and young adult books “Jay’s Gay Agenda” and “Out Of The Blue” coming out May 31, June has been reaching out to young people through his words.

Growing up, June always had the passion for storytelling, re-writing scripts for movies like “The Labyrinth.” From there, the passion continued when deciding what to pursue as a degree. He chose journalism; however, found that it wasn’t the right environment for his writing and left it behind to follow the fictional and creative writing path.

We had the chance to ask June a few questions about his career, representation and the unexpected identity of “role model.” The following transcript has been edited for style and length.

Photo Courtesy Ryan Bilawsky

 

Reinhardt: What advice would you give to other queer writers who are new to the publishing industry?

June: I would say it’s very daunting right now to be facing so much backlash, where LGBTQIA+ and BIPOC books are being challenged or banned at schools. You should keep that in mind, but another thing you should keep in mind is the kids that need your books; they need to see themselves in those pages. They need to know there is a community out there and that there are other people out there like them, that they can have this commonality.

 

Redmond: What would you say to Queer readers that have found a safe space in your writing that are struggling to feel as though they can be themselves outside of the safety of fiction?

June: Prioritize your safety and don’t feel like you should come out just because it will make you quote-unquote “queer” or anything once you are out. What matters the most is your safety and you living your journey the way you know is best for you. 

I’m always sending you love, whether or not you’re out. I’m also always sending you love whether or not you like my books or my characters.

 There’s going to be a time where you can shape the world around you as you want it and you get to create the family around you that you want to create.

 

Reinhardt: What does being a role model for the readers who take in your content mean to you?

June: I am honored to any reader who reads my books and would give me that honorific of being a role model, and it’s not something that I really imagined. 

 

Redmond: How has writing picture books, children’s chapter books and now … young-adult fiction affected your view of writing and publishing?

June: What has been really amazing is that writing for the whole age range, that is like 17 and under, is to see the depth of emotion for every stage of life and every age range. And just because we express it in different words, doesn’t mean it makes it any less impactful or real. Writing for all age ranges has really been such a great experience to learn about the power of the word and the power of the emotions we put behind them.

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