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.
His latest book is the YA fantasy, Two Empty Thrones.
For More Information
- Visit C.H. McLean’s website.
- Find out more about the Five in Circle series.
- Connect with C.H. McLean on Facebook and Twitter.
- Subscribe to the author’s newsletter.
- Contact C.H. McLean.
About the Book:
With her powers growing every day, fourteen-year-old Haylwen Rightad thinks she’s safe in the magical forest. And now that she finally has the friends she always wanted, what is there to be afraid of?
But she’s not out of the woods yet. Old enemies rip through her beloved forest, threatening to haul Haylwen and her newfound friends away. Their safety shattered, Haylwen and her friends are suddenly at each other’s throats. Is the friendship she worked so hard for already ruined, or is there another, unseen enemy at work?
Haylwen and her brother must unmask this mysterious enemy before they can fight it off. But even if all their enemies are destroyed, the King of the magic users will stop at nothing to ensure he’s still in power when the dragons take over the world. And he’s hidden an enemy where Haylwen would never think to look.
If no one is what they seem, who can she trust?
For More Information
- Two Empty Thrones is available at Amazon.
- Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble.
- Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.
- Read Chapter One here.
Q: Thank you for this interview. Can you tell us a little bit about your writing background?
My writing background is in technical, scientific and regulatory writing. I know, that fits with young adults and fantasy like a unicorn driving an ambulance. But concise, solid structure supports any writing. Now, instead of my creative and colorful ideas dying under the editor’s pen, they can run amok and entertain people.
Q: What fact about yourself would really surprise people?
Most people comment on my eclectic experiences. Previous lab technician, health care worker, body builder, department of defense contractor, I also worked in corrections for a time before realizing my true calling.
Q: What scares you the most?
Not knowing what will be left of the planet for our children. The arrogance of people with power is understandable, but deadly frightening to me. Keeps me up some nights.
Q: What makes you happiest?
Happiness is everywhere for me, in little flashes. I really believe being happy is just a habit of focusing on finding happiness. A shift of thought shows it in almost everything. But watching my kids play in nature, being able to join them and be fully present—that is the easiest happiness.
Q: What are you most proud of in your personal life?
Today’s pride is my choice to be an author. Honoring my truest self, despite the fears, naysayers and against the odds. Knowing that by being myself I can give something back and help others make their lives more fun, really inspires me.
Q: What is hardest – getting published, writing or marketing?
Getting published, hands down. Writing is fun, despite the long hours and times when I see I’ve deleted more than I’ve written. Marketing is time and money, but it’s interacting with fans, just talking about the books and characters I love and believe in. Traditional publishing, on the other hand, seems to involve similar skills to being able to run through a minefield in the dark while pushing a wheelbarrow.
Q: Every writer has their own idea of what a successful career in writing is, what does success in writing look like to you?
A young adult closing my book with a smile, holding it and looking off into space. Inspiring smiles and thought looks like success to me.
Q: Tell us about your new book? What’s it about and why did you write it?
Two Empty Thrones is the story of a fourteen year old girl’s struggle for freedom despite attempts to manipulate or outright imprison her. She’s just discovered her magical powers and they complicate more often than help. Her family, as entrenched as she is, is more of a hindrance than anything else. Struggling to save herself, she finally realizes how many others count on her. For now, she just ignores that the hurricane her life has become contains dragons. One thing at a time.
The story leaped out the first chance it had, begging to let me give back to readers. I love to read, always have. Not just for entertainment either. I know the power of story to inspire and motivate. Bringing happiness and hope to a person is water in the desert.
Q: When you are not writing, how do you relax?
Spending as much time as I can with my family, outdoors and active. A hike through deep, green woods and a picnic afterward recharges me.
Q: Please tell us why we should read your book?
We don’t spend enough time in our day-to-day lives dreaming, fantasizing and believing in the impossible. Read a fast-paced fantasy novel with lots of twists, and you escape reality. Life is fun, if you just let it.
From the lips of those, like you, who know the power of overcoming reality with a good book:
“Two Empty Thrones by C.H. MacLean is a captivating story about magic, power, control, secrets and betrayal.”
“I loved reading this adrenaline-pumping page-turner from the beginning to the very end.”
“Well written with a leading plot”
Q: What kind of advice would you give other authors just getting their feet wet?
Dive in. Write what you love, give all of your heart and mind to the readers, they deserve it.