Meet Juno Dawson; the award winning author and journalist that has been captivating her teen audience with hard hitting, humorous and sensitive novels; covering everything from the paranormal and sinister goings on, to touching relationships and the daily struggles of teen life. Having undergone a gender transition in 2015, Juno is also a passionate activist for equality and has become an inspiration for many people around the world. Her honest and open account of her journey has lead to many television appearances discussing identity, sexuality as well as education and literature. We were lucky enough to catch up with Juno, and got to find out a little more about her own inspirations and what she has planned for the future!
What did you want to do growing up, did you ever imagine you’d be a full time writer?
Not at all! I wanted to be an actor or air stewardess! I didn't think that normal people from normal families could write books professionally.
Your previous novels have been for teens, was it a conscious decision to write for young people?
Yeah - I love YA fiction. It can be anything and go anywhere. I love that I'm not tied in to one particular genre.
You're a role model for many people, do you ever find this difficult to deal with, is there a lot of pressure?
It's a weird pressure, especially as my fans tend to be teens or young adults. The problem with being a role model is that you can't fuck up. Sooner or later, you're bound to, so it's difficult. I think that role models are allowed to make mistakes and learn from them - that's a better lesson that being perfect all the time.
What inspires you when writing new novels? Do you always have a clear plan, or can you suddenly get some inspiration and change the direction?
Each books appeals to something different in my personality. Like, with Margot & Me, I wanted to make the reader melancholy and ultimately uplifted. With Say Her Name, I just wanted to scare the shit out of them!
You have covered some hard hitting topics, including mental health, and growing up as a young person in the LGBT community. Do you feel like a pioneer, and have you found more of these important topics are now being covered in fiction and the wider media?
It's just about opening up a conversation. If we shy away from difficult topics, the stigma won't ever go away.
You contribute to some fantastic publications such as, Attitude and Glamour mag. Do you have a preference, journalism or author?
Novels will always be my true love, but magazines are my sexy side-chick.
And finally, what are your plans for the future? Have you got more exciting novels in the pipeline?
Yes! CLEAN is out next April and it's my most controversial novel yet! It's about a hotel heiress who wakes up in rehab after an overdose. The main character is a real piece of work, but I hope readers will love to hate her!
Describe yourself in 3 words - ambitious, loyal, reliable
Favourite Pride Festival? - Brighton by a mile!
Heels or flats - Heels if I don't have to move all night
Vacation or Staycation? - Staycation with friends
Favourite quote? - Amongst the monsters, I am well hidden; who looks for a leaf in a forest? Angela Carter, Nights at the Circus.
You can find Juno's books here or follow her on social media at @junodawson