Our guest today is C.H. Maclean, author of the YA fantasy, One is Come. To 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.
Thank you for this interview, C. H.. Can you tell us a little about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?
Well, I’m an avid reader, love chocolate, have 5 cats (or 7 if you count the two strays that hang out on my porch) and, of course, I am writer. I’ve only been writing for about five years seriously. I dabbled for a number of years before that.
Can you tell us briefly what your book is about?
One is Come is about a fourteen year old girl unknowingly caught in the emergence of dragons in the modern world. She has to choose between slipping into her fears and letting life take her away, or risking her life to face the dangers and create her destiny based on who she really is.
Why did you choose your particular genre?
I like fantasy as it allows a real exploration of an unlimited set of potential conflicts. Similarly, young adulthood is the time when life’s decisions are the sharpest, at the cusp of first discovering who you are. But I didn’t set out to write in a particular category. I really just write the stories as they come to me.
What was your greatest challenge writing this book?
Finding the time to write it. I work full time and have two young children so I have to really focus and fit writing in whenever and wherever I can. Staying motivated to keep writing was quite the challenge.
Are you published by a traditional house, small press or are you self-published?
Was it the right choice for you?
Absolutely. After researching my options, my previous biases against self-publishing really took a beating. With all the tools and help available, I can produce a work of as good or better quality on my own timeline. I also like having the control over my work and being able to keep it in publication as long as I like.
How are you promoting your book thus far?
Since I wanted reader’s opinions to be the foundation, I started by asking for reviews. I have run several giveaways, and I'll have a few traditional media pushes soon, but am also inviting conversation on social media.
How is that going for you?
It’s going well. The giveaways work well to get reviews and to get your book on reader’s to-read lists. There is still a lot more to be done to get the word out there about One is Come and my other books. Writing the book truly is the easy part. Trying to get busy people to listen to my song in a noisy world takes more time.
Do you have another job besides writing?
Yes, I do. Although one day soon I will be able to answer that question differently.
If you could give one book promotion tip to new authors, what would that be?
Give away your book for free, such as to reviewers so you can get reviews on Amazon, Goodreads and similar sites. While I know we all need to make a living, it’s good karma to give some away, and letting reviewers give independent opinions of your book will help readers.
What’s next for you?
My editor just completed the final edit for Two Empty Thrones, the next book in the Five in Circle series. It is scheduled to be released in July. I am currently writing We the Three, the third book in the series. I also just finished writing a book entitled Fire Above, a story about a young man who dared to dream and started the first human-dragon war. It is currently going through the first round of edits.
Thank you for this interview, C. H.. Can you tell us where we can find you on the web?
Absolutely! I love feedback and talking about books and writing. Feel free to continue the conversation anytime on my blog, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Instagram or Pinterest.
One is Come is available at Amazon.