Ex-‘Glee’ star Chris Colfer breaks out with kid’s lit

TORONTO — As Chris Colfer turns the page on his hit children’s book fantasy series, the former “Glee” star turned author is embarking on a new chapter and bringing his literary work to film.

“Worlds Collide” is the sixth and final book in the series “The Land of Stories,” which features classic fairy-tale characters converging in new adventures. Colfer is embarking on a 20-city book tour which will include a stop in Vancouver on July 29.

The newest instalment arrives just as Colfer settles in to work on the screenplay adaptation of “The Wishing Spell,” the first book in his series, which will also serve as his directorial debut. Montreal-born Shawn Levy (“Arrival,” “Stranger Things”) and his company 21 Laps are on board as producers.

“On one hand, it is incredible, because I get to tell the story again,” Colfer said during a recent interview in Toronto.

“When I look back at the first book, people really love it; but because I wrote it, I see all the mistakes that I made. I see ways I could have been a better writer.

“It’s wonderful that I get a chance to kind of make it better in a way, but it’s also terrifying, because you have a lot of studio executives to please. And after that, you’re going to have a wave of critics to please and then hopefully — most importantly — the readers.”

While Colfer made his mark belting out tunes as Kurt Hummel on ”Glee,” his passion for writing predated his star-making turn on the smash musical comedy-drama, which ended in 2015.

“‘The Land of Stories’ began when I was a little kid. It was a story I used to write just to entertain myself,” said Colfer, 27.

“I fell in love with it, and I was obsessed with the characters and the world, and I promised myself one day if I had the opportunity to publish it, I would.”

When Colfer was 19, the actor said offers to write his autobiography started to pour in. He asked a few publishers if they’d be interested in a children’s book instead.

One book turned into the six-instalment series, which is also joined by companion books like “Queen Red Riding Hood’s Guide To Royalty” and “The Mother Goose Diaries.” Colfer has also ventured into teen territory with “Struck By Lightning,” which he adapted for a 2013 film.

Readers are first introduced to twins Alex and Conner in the “The Wishing Spell.” Their grandmother gives them a magical book which leads them to enter The Land of Stories where fairy tales come to life — and the characters and stories take unexpected turns.

“Worlds Collide” transports the story to New York as the heroes and villains from the fairy-tale realm are no longer confined to their own domain.

“They represent the conversations and arguments that I get into with myself constantly. I’m a Gemini so they represent my ying and my yang,” said Colfer of the twins.

“Alex is kind of my intellectual, too smart for their own good type side, and Conner is the sarcastic, smartass side of me…. I think more kids are able to connect with the series because there are two protagonists,” he added.

“I think it’s really good to have two sets of opinions constantly throughout a story — and especially since it’s boys and girls. They relate to such different things, so to have both of those forces in there I think was really a good idea.”

Colfer said he could foresee a continuation of “The Land of Stories” down the road, perhaps with a prequel based on the twins’ grandmother’s life. While he is currently occupied with adapting “The Wishing Spell,” he’s still keen to return in front of the cameras.

“I think the older I get, the more I like to write a little more. But I still really, really love acting, and I still love becoming other people and being ridiculous and all of that,” said Colfer.

“I think it might go on the backburner — just a for a little bit. And then I’ll be back.”

— Follow @lauren_larose on Twitter.

Lauren La Rose, The Canadian Press

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