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C.H. MacLean: ‘Being published only inspires me to write more and write better.’

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C.H. MacLeanTo young C. H. MacLean, books were everything: mind-food, friends, and fun. They gave the shy middle child’s life color and energy. Amazingly, not everyone saw them that way. Seeing a laundry hamper full of books approach her, the librarian scolded C. H. for trying to check them all out. “You’ll never read that many before they expire!” C. H. was surprised, having shown great restraint only by keeping a list of books to check out next time. Thoroughly abashed, C. H. waited three whole days after finishing that lot before going back for more.

With an internal world more vivid than the real one, C. H. was chastised for reading in the library instead of going to class. “Neurotic, needs medical help,” the teacher diagnosed. C. H.’s father, a psychologist, just laughed when he heard. “She’s just upset because those books are more challenging than her class.” C. H. realized making up stories was just as fun as reading, and harder to get caught doing. So for a while, C. H. crafted stories and characters out of wisps and trinkets, with every toy growing an elaborate personality.

But toys were not mature, and stories weren’t respectable for a family of doctors. So C. H. grew up and learned to read serious books and study hard, shelving foolish fantasies for serious work.

Years passed in a black and white blur. Then, unpredictably falling in love all the way to a magical marriage rattled C. H.’s orderly world. A crazy idea slipped in a resulting crack and wouldn’t leave. “Write the book you want to read,” it said. “Write? As in, a fantasy novel? But I’m not creative,” C. H. protested. The idea, and C. H.’s spouse, rolled their eyes.

So one day, C. H. started writing. Just to try it, not that it would go anywhere. Big mistake. Decades of pent-up passion started pouring out, making a mess of an orderly life. It only got worse. Soon, stories popped up everywhere- in dreams, while exercising, or out of spite, in the middle of a work meeting. “But it’s not important work,” C. H. pleaded weakly. “They are not food, or friends, or…” But it was too late. C. H. had re-discovered that, like books, life should be fun too. Now, writing is a compulsion, and a calling.

C. H. lives in a Pacific Northwest forest with five cats, two kids, one spouse, and absolutely no dragons or elves, faeries, or demons… that are willing to be named, at least.

His latest book is One is Come.

Visit his website at www.chmaclean.com.

About the Book:

One is ComeHaylwen doesn’t care who actually blew up the wall of the school library. With a chance to finally have real friends, all she cares about is if her suspension will make her parents move again. Her parents, forced to keep their own magical past silent, are shocked to learn that she is indeed a magic user. She tested negative. Twice! Desperate to hide Haylwen from the King of magic users, they flee, but their efforts thrust them all into mortal danger.

Haylwen’s parents don’t know about the prophesy of “The One,” or that the only one who doesn’t know Haylwen is a powerful magic user is Haylwen herself. The King and the dragon clans’ plans to remake the world are already in motion. As Haylwen struggles with her feelings of loneliness and unworthiness due to her inability to make a friend, she is completely unaware that the fate of the entire world rests on her choices.

Q: Welcome to Beyond the Books, C. H.. Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?

One is Come is the only book I have published so far. It’s the first in the Five in Circle series, with the second in the series scheduled to be published in July 2014. My third book, about a young man who dares to dream and starts the first dragon-human war, should be published in the winter of 2014/15.

Q: When you were published for the first time, which route did you go – mainstream, small press, vanity published or self-published and why or how did you choose this route?

I self-published. After a few nibbles but no bites from mainstream press, I started researching self-publishing, which really challenged my previous biases against it. I decided to self-publish for several reasons but the two main reasons were the amount of control I have over my work and the ability to keep my book in print for as long as I want.

Q: How long did it take you to get published once you signed the contract?

Since I self-published, the only contract I signed was the one with myself to see it through. All the extra work that went into it, editing, formatting, cover art, and so on, took about six months.

Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

Seeing my book in the flesh was utterly amazing. When I saw it, my first reaction was, wow, that looks like an interesting book. Then the shock of, Hey, that’s my book!

Q: What was the first thing you did as far as promotion when you were published for the first time?

The first thing I did was send out requests for book reviews, which included Goodreads and LibraryThing giveaways. I really wanted to have readers tell their honest opinion of the book as my promotional foundation.

Q: Since you’ve been published, how have you grown as a writer and now a published author?

Being published, having a real book out there, only inspires me to write more and write better. The stories just tumble out now, and I can see where and when I’m really getting good material down more quickly.

Q: What has surprised or amazed you about the publishing industry as a whole?

I didn’t go the traditional route, but I must say it was humbling to me to realize how much work goes into publishing a book. There is this idea that it’s so easy to self-publish and all you have to do is write, upload a file and poof, you’re published. But there are so many things that have to get done; extensive editing, formatting, proofing, cover design, book blurbs, sales descriptions, etc.

Q: What is the most rewarding thing about being a published author?

I think it’s the idea that someone out there will get to enjoy reading the story. I love to read and know how much I enjoy a good book. Thinking someone else is going to have that same feeling from my book is the best.

Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

Write what you love. Pour your heart and soul out for the readers. When you get tired or stuck, remember them and just keep writing.

 

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