Glee star Chris Colfer, 23, stopped by to chat with Parade about his latest book, The Land of Stories: The Enchantress Returns. He shared his favorite book growing up, his most memorable high school jobs, and what life is like behind the scenes at Glee. Colfer also talked about the loss of friend and costar Cory Monteith, who passed away in July after a drug overdose.
On his new novel.
“The Land of Stories the Enchantress Returns is the sequel to my first novel, The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell. The series is about a pair of twins, Alex and Conner, who go back and forth between this world and the fairytale world. In the sequel, the evil Enchantress that cursed Sleeping Beauty many, many years ago has come back from the dead and is wreaking havoc on the fairytale world and they have to stop her. The stakes get really high because the Enchantress has kidnapped their mother.”
On what inspired him to write the series.
“When I was a little kid, I was in love with fairytales and kind of as a therapy, I imagined myself in the fairytale world and all the magical adventures that I wanted to have. I decided that I should take all that and put it into a book, and when I got older and got an opportunity, I made the book.”
On reading as a kid.
“I was not a big reader as a kid. Occasionally, I would become a bookworm, but it took a lot to capture my attention as a kid. I think maybe that’s why kids like Land of Stories so much because I kind of have their same attention span! I know how long to focus on one thing before moving on to the next thing that will excite them.”
On his favorite book growing up.
“My favorite book growing up was the Harry Potter series for sure. It was one of the first times I remember being excited about reading. Waiting in line at midnight for the releases of those books were some of the best memories of my childhood.”
On his inspiration: His cat, Brian.
“My cat — he’s a trip. He’s huge, he’s overweight, he’s overwhelming, he’s overbearing, he’s over a lot of things! In the book, I wrote about a huge, giant cat and it was kind of inspired by him, so I thought I’d give him a bit of a shot out in the back of the book, which he doesn’t care about, but oh well, I did it anyway!”
Actor, writer, singer: Any other titles you’d like to add to your resume?
“Trapeze artist would be fun! I would love to learn trapeze. I’m dead serious. But I’m good with those titles, unless there’s like a royal title I can add to my list.”
On his love of royals.
“I’m a very big royalist. I love fairytales. There’s something very magical about a royal family living in a far away land.”
On what he wanted to be when he was a kid.
“I think when I was little I didn’t really know what acting and writing really was, but I knew I wanted to be one of those kids in the movies that I watched. Writing and acting for me have always been about storytelling for me.”
On his surprising high school jobs.
“In high school, I used to work in the cafeteria kitchen in the mornings before school with the lunch ladies and I would scoop chocolate chip cookies. I was the cookie scooper! And during summers, I worked at a dry cleaners. I was a clerk and my cousin was the manager and she tortured me! Not fun! I actually used to make funeral videos. Whenever someone would pass away, they would send me pictures and I would put together little video slideshows, so those are my three odd jobs.”
On his go-to karaoke song.
“I try to avoid karaoke like it’s the plague because I have so many friends that are professional singers and whenever we do karaoke they just turn it into a concert. I’ll get up and sing something like Melissa Etheridge and make a fool out of myself like you’re supposed to do because its karaoke and then they’ll get up and Amber [Riley} will just wail ‘Respect’ or something and I’m like, ‘ok, that’s it, that’s it for me.’ Anything ridiculous I usually go for.”
On his must-watch shows.
“I love Orange Is the New Black. I think that’s one of my favorite new shows. I love all the Real Housewives. I love Long Island Medium. Downton Abbey is one of my favorites. I watch a lot, maybe too much!”
How about Glee?
“I know what happens, and I know what I look like! I’ll fast forward through myself.”
On what he loves most about playing Kurt Hummel.
“I just love watching Kurt grow, and I love that he’s gone from this really shy, not very confident kid in Ohio to this kid who is really kind of making it in New York. I really like his arc.”
On what life is like behind the scenes at Glee.
“We’re not just breaking into song. Well, maybe we did in the beginning. People would be surprised at how serious it is.”
On what he hopes fans remember most about the late Cory Monteith.
“I hope fans remember just his spirit. He was a really great, great human being, and he was a great, great person. I had so much respect for him, will always have so much respect for him, so I hope that’s what people remember.”