Sunday, June 15, 2014

Book Publishing Secrets: C.H. MacLean, author of 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.
His latest book is One is Come.

Visit his website at

Thank you for your time in answering our questions, C. H..  Let’s begin by having you explain to us why you decided to write a book?

I’ve always loved to write and just decided to sit down one day to see if I could do it. The stories and images came flooding into my head and haven’t stopped since. Remembering
how important books were to me when I was growing up, and still are to me now, I realized I had a really great story. With time and effort, I could write it down and give back to those great stories I loved. Writing is a way to add my stores and share them with the world.

Is this your first book?

Yes, it is. But it is the first in a series so only the first part of the complete story.

Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?

After the standard lackluster response from traditional publishing, I did a lot of research on traditional publishing and self-publishing. It really crushed my previous biases and opened a lot of avenues for me. With what it could offer, I decided to go the indie route.

What lessons do you feel you learned about the publishing industry?

Don’t let anyone fool you into thinking self-publishing is easy or cheap. There is a lot of work do be done and people to hire to help you make your book the best it can be. But I feel it’s worth it for the control and flexibility I have over my work.

If you had the chance to change something regarding how you got published, what would you change?

I don’t think I’d change anything at this point. If something changes in the future, I’ll let you know.

Did you credit any person or organization with helping you get published?

When I decided to go indie, I asked my wife if she’d be willing to apply her skills to my project. She agreed (thank you sweetie) and has been working night and day as my manager. She’s great, and I couldn’t have done it without her.

What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?

I don’t know if it’s advice, but I keep reminding myself of two things. One, reading as much as you can reminds yourself what makes a story enjoyable from a readers’ perspective. And two, just keep writing. Find the time however you can, and pour your heart and soul into it. They both help me remember, especially in the tough times, that readers deserve the best.

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