To promote the release of his young adult novel, Two Empty Thrones, C.H. MacLean is currently touring the blogosphere with Pump Up Your Book Promotion. He’s here on Blogcritics today to talk about his inspiration behind the book, his muse, and success. Let’s give him a warm welcome. You can find more about him by visiting his website.
Congratulations on the release of your latest book, Two Empty Thrones. When did you start writing and what got you into YA fantasy?
I started writing in high school, but not thinking I was really writing, just playing. I sing in the shower, but wouldn’t call that really singing. Not until well into my adult life did I realize who I was and really start writing. Getting past what I thought I should write to what I was willing to sweat blood to write, that took some time. During that time I never would have dreamed of going into YA fantasy. Sure, I’ve always loved to read it and still do, but it’s a small, tough niche. However the characters and stories in my head were YA fantasy, and absolutely refused to go away. Thank goodness for that, because after thinking about it, the genre is more than just pleasure reading. And more importantly, I realized pleasure reading is more valuable than most people tell you.
What was your inspiration for Two Empty Thrones?
I’m not sure what happened. Haylwen’s story, the whole series including Two Empty Thrones, exploded like a supernova in my head, sucking me in a black hole. I might rationalize that this is the book I would want to read, and knowing readers are going to love it means I had to share it. In truth, the story of this curly-haired girl who thinks she is less than average when she is actually powerful beyond her dreams inspires me still. I didn’t write it just for young women, though. (Her older brother Cadarn could easily have been the main character.) Some days, in fact, I think the story is just as moving for an adult audience as YA.
I really just hope readers enjoy it. I didn’t have a message, although Haylwen might disagree. I know she would like to think others will realize their own true selves and actual potential, but that has to start and come from inside the person. Like a spice, having a plot-twisting, engaging read gives flavor to life.
What do you do when your muse refuses to collaborate?
I have to confess I don’t have an issue with this. In fact, I have much more trouble in getting my muse to leave me alone long enough to capture all the vivid images and enticing stories down that are thrust upon me. Finishing a story, I get a moment of wonder, like the view from a mountain top. I just look around and inhale great lungfuls of cool air.
How do you define success?
Success is an excited reader. Hearing how great people thought the stories are, how they can’t wait for the next one or would like to read more, is absolute success. Writing is a hot and painful trek up to the top of a mountain. Being lucky enough to catch the view of the story is fun, but sharing the view and hearing the sounds of pleasure from others is what it is all about.
Do you have a website or blog where readers can find out more about your work?
My website, chmaclean.com, is where you can find out more about my work and read my blog. From there you can also sign up for my newsletter which keeps you up-to-date on new blog posts, book release information, and member-only unpublished content like cut scenes and short stories.
Anything else you’d like to tell my readers?
I really hope you enjoy the books. I’m really excited about my next one, Fire Above — outside of the Five in Circle series — about a young man who dares to dream and starts the first dragon-human war. It’s an exciting story about love and holding to your vision.
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