Interview with Chris MacLean

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
My first piece of writing was a poem, prompted by the end of the 1970s tv show M*A*S*H. I was really upset that M*A*S*H wouldn't have any new episodes!
What is your writing process?
I need to write. I am always writing, whether I'm walking down the street or at my computer. I imagine dialogues frequently throughout the day, think of how I might describe something, and even as I'm writing this I'm thinking in my head how I would describe writing this. I will remember and obsess a little over ideas I get until I write them down. Writing helps clear up my mind for new ideas.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
My parents forgot to teach me to read. I was the youngest child and it never occurred to them that I didn't know how to read. I even went to school for a few years without reading. Finally, my sister asked me what time it was one day, and I said I didn't know. She pointed out there was a clock right in front of me and she angrily asked me "Don't you know how to tell time?" I responded, "No, why would I know how to tell time?" That's when she got it and said, "You don't know how to read either, do you?" My response was nonchalant, "no, why would I know how to read?" It then became my dad's job every weekend during the rest of the summer to teach me to read. I was seven years old. I ended up being a voracious reader.
How do you approach cover design?
I'm fortunate in that my best friend is professional cartoonist Robin Crossman and he came up with the cover concept and did the design. He also does stand-up comedy and is really funny, so he had unique insights that helped get the cover to that "award-winning" level.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
My top 5 books might surprise you! Brigitte Jones' Diary made me laugh out loud many many times! I really identify with Brigitte's character. I have an old copy of Black Beauty that I've read many times and not just because it was the only kid's book at the cottage during the summer. Field of Dreams is a beautiful story. The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje is my favourite Canadian book. I met him in person once and was being all high and mighty with my friend that I wouldn't get flustered when talking to him then I totally lost my cool while getting my book signed. I love the writing style and brilliance of Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston. By the way, my list of favourites is subject to change based on my mood. I also love Stephen King and have read many of his books.
What do you read for pleasure?
Reading is always a pleasure. But a really good historical fiction about British Queens will make me set everything else aside for the whole weekend. And, of course, I try to read all the books on comedy.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
My own stand-up comedy performances are best for selling books and I always sell copies. Comedians and comedy fans know me from the blog I used to write that led to the book.
Describe your desk
My desk desk is messy. My real work gets done on the couch.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in and around Toronto. I always went to school in Toronto, but my school resume makes it look like I was a bad kid because my mother had me change schools a lot. I went to one school for just two weeks. I was switched in and out of the public school and Catholic school system. The public school I went to and spent the most time at was almost a school for kids of a single religion, so like many comedians, I grew up with that "outsider" experience. I started in comedy in Toronto, and learned what huge hub it is for comedy, and my blog was about Toronto comedy, so that has had a strong influence on the book. My first feeling of "being famous" was when a comedian from Alberta showed up and knew all about me from my blog and was a bit of a fan.
When did you first start writing?
I started writing almost from the time I could read. My uncle gave me a journal, and once I figured out that you were supposed to put words in it I did just that.
What's the story behind your latest book?
When I first started in comedy I was encouraged to have a blog. I found that I really enjoyed blogging, and it wasn't long before I had developed a strong following and was publishing every day. After a couple of years I was encouraged to write a book, and I realized that I had two years worth of material already started. Everything flowed from there.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I have always wanted to write a book, and know that when an opportunity comes along to achieve a dream, you should take it.
Published 2014-05-10.
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Books by This Author

How to Start in Stand-Up Comedy: A Guide to Becoming a Comedian in Toronto
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 29,650. Language: English. Published: May 10, 2014. Categories: Nonfiction » Career Guides » Entertainment
How to Start in Stand-Up Comedy: A Guide to Becoming a Comedian in Toronto is the first and only how-to book on stand-up comedy in Canada. This easy workbook gives inside information on writing your first jokes, getting stage time, and getting ahead fast in Canadian comedy. Winner of multiple international awards!