If you're interested in LGBT mermaid stories, then check out "Out of the Blue" by Jason June.

What was your inspiration behind your most recent book?

I have always been ROBSESSED with merpeople, and love just about every bit of mer pop culture out there. So it's always been a goal of mine to make a fish-out-of-water mer story, and make it as gay as possible! I'm really honored to get to make contributions to mer lore with OUT OF THE BLUE!

What does "Reading with Pride" mean to you?

To me, Reading with Pride means reading about all facets of the gorgeous LGBTQIA+ rainbow we're a part of. We have so many commonalities as queer people, yet we have so many unique experiences based on ourselves as individuals and as folks with other intersectionalities that combine with our gender and sexuality. I want to read about all of it! I want to learn, I want to connect! I love it!

Why do you feel representation of a variety of people is so important when it comes to writing books?

Representation is important because I remember a time not too long ago when representation for so many communities could not be found. I can count on one hand the number of YA books I knew about that featured gay characters when I was a high schooler in the early 2000s. I hope that as time goes on, any reader can find themselves in many, many, many books, and I'm so happy to be a part of this generation of authors trying to make that happen.

Tell us a little more about the book and why you decided to write it.

OUT OF THE BLUE features Crest, a merperson who must undergo a mer tradition called the Journey. This is a month-long trip on land where a teen mer must help a human in need. For Crest, said human is Sean, who's recently been dumped by his boyfriend. Through some poolside shenanigans, Sean discovers that Crest is mer, and the two agree to a fake date to help Sean win his ex back. And we all know what happens with fake dating! Other than knowing I always wanted to write a merperson story, I wrote OOTB to explore the theme of whether or not love for a person is enough to override love from someone's family and physical home when you literally have to choose between one or the other. I think it's very common for queer people to move around a lot in their lives, and through that time, we fall in love with not just people, but places too. And so many times, you have to choose between one or the other. So I was really excited to explore that.

What can fans expect from your book?

They can expect all kinds of tropes, which I'm such a huge fan of. There will be fake dating, rom-com references, mer fin mishaps, LA sightseeing, kisses, sex-positivity, and a fast-paced romance. I love how quickly we can sometimes fall for someone, especially when traveling in new places, and think it's such a magical experience to write about.

What's up next for you in the bookish world?

I'm about to give one of those annoying publishing answers, but I actually can't name any specifics right now because none of the YA novels I'm working on due out in the next couple years have been announced yet. But I promise there will be multiple bits of good news very soon!


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