Check out our interview with genderqueer author Jason June who recently released his new young adult gay rom-com, Jay’s Gay Agenda, which released June 1st—in honor of Pride Month. The book tells the story of the only out gay kid in a small town who witnesses his heterosexual friends in first-time relationships, so he compiles a romance to-do list of all the things he hopes to experience one day. It’s a moving and hilarious teen rom-com about the complexities of first loves, first hookups, and first heartbreaks—and how to stay true to yourself while embracing what you never saw coming
Follow Jason June @heyjasonjune
Hi Jason June, please tell us a little about you?
I’m Jason June (it’s a two-name first name, like Mary-Kate without the hyphen or the Olsen twin) and I describe myself as a genderqueer writer mermaid who loves to create kids books that mix the flamboyantly whacky with the slightly dark, and young adult contemporary rom-coms full of queer love and lust and hijinks. When not writing, I zip about Austin, Texas with my Pomeranian, Pom Brokaw.
Describe yourself in 3 words?
Zany, Determined, Colorful
Who is your role model?
How did you get started as an author?
I got my degree in journalism, and really didn’t like how no matter what type of news I was doing (entertainment news or hard news), the stories were all about finding the dirt in life. It felt too negative for my little rainbow unicorn heart. So I decided from there to start actually writing about unicorns in kids books, and gradually started to see that there is a magic to real life too, and that’s what I explore in my young adult books.
Tell us about your work and about your new young adult gay rom-com “Jay’s Gay Agenda”?
Jay’s Gay Agenda is all about Jay, our Type A Virgo listmaker, who is the only out queer kid at his rural eastern Washington high school. While he watches all his heterosexual classmates have relationship milestones, he makes a list of the things he one day hopes to do when he finally meets another boy-who-likes-boys (he calls it his Gay Agenda). It ranges from sweet hand-holdy first dates, to first hook-ups and losing his virginity. Then his mom gets a promotion that takes his family to Seattle, and Jay finally gets to start crossing items off his agenda. The book follows all the ups and downs that come with that and the extra layers that are added to your life when you’re finally seen as a romantic and sexual being for the first time.
Where we can buy “Jay’s Gay Agenda”?
You can buy it wherever books are sold: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, your favorite local indie bookstore, you name it!
What is the most rewarding part of your work?
It’s been really great to hear from people who say that they relate to Jay, that they flew through the book, that they love the sex-positivity. It’s so wild that people can actually pick this up at a bookstore now when I’ve been working on it for the past couple years, and to know that there are people out there who totally get what I was trying to do with Jay’s story really makes my heart soar.
What’s next for Jason June in 2021?
I have one more Mermicorn Island book (my fantasy chapter book series for 7-10 year-olds) coming out in October, then in summer of 2022 my next YA novel comes out. It’s called OUT OF THE BLUE, and it’s about a queer merperson who comes on land and starts fake-dating a human. I’m obsessed with merpeople and I’m so excited that I get to add to mer love.
What would you say are the greatest lessons you learned so far?
To not let the word “No” get you down. Writing—and art in general—is so subjective, so if one person doesn’t like what you’ve created, there’s bound to be someone out there who does.
What is your own definition of happiness?
To be able to create for the rest of my life.
How is a normal day in your life?
It’s a lot of pajamas/sweatpants and coffee as I sit in front of my computer and write, or pretend like I’m writing and peruse the internet.
If you could meet someone living or dead, who would it be and why?
I’m going to bring it back to Laura Dern so we could talk about her amazing performances in everything she’s ever been in ever.
Best advice ever given?
It wasn’t given to me personally, but when I read a Marie Claire interview with writer/producer/actress Natasha Rothwell where she talked about the quote “Be prolific, not perfect” I was like YES! That really resonated with me.
Do you support any charities?
The Thirst Project and BookSpring are two I give to regularly.
Name 3 things you can’t live without?
My husband, my dog, my books
Where do you see yourself and your career in 5 years from now?
I hope that I can have a handful of more novels out, that I’m repped for screenwriting, that I’ve had a TV series picked up, and that I’m a bestseller. That’s not too much to ask for, right? Lol!
Where can we follow you on social media?
Favorite Quote: “Bam! I’m gonna throw magic on you!” – Kim Richards
Favorite Book: There is no way I can pick one favorite! But some that I regularly come back to are Dhonielle Clayton’s THE BELLES, Jonny Garza Villa’s FIFTEEN HUNDRED MILES FROM THE SUN, and the Animorphs series by K. A. Applegate.
Favorite Song or Artist: I cannot get enough of Yola right now, and her album “Walk Through Fire” is on repeat over here!
Favorite Movie: Mean Girls
Favorite Travel Destination: Venice, Italy and the Bahamas
Favorite TV Show: Give me the Real Housewives in any city and I’m happy
Photo credit: Ryan Bilawsky