Shudder's Adrian Turner on coming out later in life and importance of diversity in children's books – exclusive

The author takes inspiration from Goosebumps

Many of us did a multitude of things during the lockdowns, whether it be pick up a new language, or crack that perfect banana bread recipe, but for Welsh author Adrian Turner he completed his debut novel in the Shudders series.

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The book series is aimed at children and takes heavy inspiration from R. L. Stine's iconic Goosebumps series, and speaking exclusively to HELLO! for Pride Month, Adrian revealed that the idea came from the lack of "inclusive books aimed at my children's age". Even though the author is an out and proud gay man, he came out later on in life after having fathered twin daughters with his ex-partner.

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Speaking about his coming out journey, he explained: "I thought I would have a difficult time, especially having the children and really been established in the straight world. However, when I came out, it was really accepting. I joined groups, sports teams, that are inclusive to all aspects, and it's just been really welcoming."

He added that he wanted to smash the stereotype that the valleys in South Wales weren't an accepting place.

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He was also happy to share that even though it came "out of the blue" for his family, they were also quick to offer their support to the best-selling author.

His biggest supporters ended up being his daughters, as he shared: "They kind of love it, which is like the strangest thing because I try and explain to them it's not just about that aspect. They even asked me, 'How did you tell us you were gay?' I told them, 'I didn't really tell you, it just developed and you worked out and knew'."

Adrian was full of pride as he spoke about how "accepting" the younger generation were of diverse people, feeling the change from when he was a child going off to school compared to what their experiences will be.

Adrian's daughters were a key motivation for him to write the series

Inclusivity is a hot topic for the author, as he revealed his disappointment that the children's literature world was lagging behind other forms of media when it came to reflecting the diverse world that we live in, whether that be someone identifying as LGBTQ+ or someone with a disability or on the autism spectrum.

"We've got a huge drive now for inclusivity, in schools, in life, in jobs, and everything we do, it's reflected on TV and most of the media, it's just the written word doesn't seem to be coming across to that generation," he said.

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"In the younger children, you do see them coming up in the picture books, but then as soon as they go into full literature novels, they start to blend into the background, rather than be the main upfront character of whatever inclusivity it is, without it being about the inclusivity subject itself."

He added: "For example, if you've got a main character about someone with autism, it's generally a book about autism, rather than a story that just happens to have an autistic child in there. It was just about making inclusivity be apparent across all media."

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