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Author, actor Chris Colfer coming to Petaluma

Over the last five years, actor-singer-author-and-activist Chris Colfer has published six books in his best-selling series “The Land of Stories,” has created three “companion” books elaborating on various famous fairytales, has written and released the YA novel “Stranger Than Fanfiction,” wrote and starred in the independent film “Struck By Lightning,” and, of course, completed his six-year run as Kurt on the hit-television show “Glee.”

Now, he’s taking a short break to hang out with fans in Petaluma.

On Thursday, July 27, Colfer will be at the Mystic Theater to greet people, play some games, judge a few costumes, and read from “Worlds Collide,” the final book in his “stories” series, the adventures of two twins who discover a magical portal into the world of fairytales. Having composed nearly 5000 pages of original material, since 2012, Chris Colfer clearly must be writing - or thinking about writing - every spare moment of his already very active life.

“That’s pretty much true,” he says, with a laugh. “But I like it like that.”

Reached on the phone at his publisher’s offices in New York, the 27-year-old Colfer insists that, to him, writing never feels like work.

“I really love it,” he says, “and I do have a fairly strict self-discipline schedule. I really enjoy it, so it’s easy to keep up a regimen.” Generally, he elaborates, he begins writing around ten or eleven at night, and keeps going until dawn.

“I like writing at night,” Colfer continues. “The phone rings less, and there are a lot fewer people to bother you.”

Asked when he gets around to sleeping, Colfer laughs.

“Oh, you know, during the day sometime.”

With “World’s Collide” - which satisfyingly concludes the series’ labyrinthine storyline of heroes and villains - Colfer would seem to be done with his Land of Stories once and for all. Of course, J.K Rowling, after closing the door on her Harry Potter world, has returned over and over to her own magical universe, through the popular website Pottermore, and a new series of a proposed five prequels, under the title of “Magical Creatures and Where to Find Them.” Might Colfer, in the future, find some similar ways back to the Land of Stories?

“I certainly hope so,” he says. “I do have some ideas for possibly doing a prequel series that takes place in the same world. And possibly even a sequel series. But for now, I think this last book is the perfect way to end this particular story.”

Critics and fans have praised Colfer’s breezy writing style, especially his rich way with the development of characters. Even his colorful villains are rendered so realistically that, at times, you almost find yourself rooting for them.

“I love villains,” Colfer admits. “The best trait of a good villain is not that they are presented in a sympathetic light, but that the writers allow themselves to appear inside that villain. If you can look at a bad guy and say, ‘Yep, that’s exactly what I would do if those same circumstances happened to me,’ then that’s a great character. My readers always ask me, ‘Who are Alex and Conner based on?’ And the answer is, of course, me. They are both based on me. But then I have to confess that the villains are just as much me as the heroes are.”

With Colfer working so hard on his writing the last few years, one has to wonder when the world is going to have another chance to hear him sing. His remarkable voice was a key element in “Glee’s” amazing success. Despite that, Colfer says he has no plans to sing publically or record an album anytime in the near future.

“It’s funny,” he says. “When I sing to my animals, they run out of the room. That’s not so encouraging.”

Colfer says he never planned on singing professionally.

“With “Glee,” of course, that changed,” he allows. “But there are people out there who seem to really enjoy my voice, so I should probably find something musical to do, just to put an end to the constant requests to have me sing again.”

Till then, he plans to keep writing, and - for the next few weeks, anyway – spend some time meeting the public, including his fans in Petaluma.

“I love that part of promoting, meeting people. Especially the kids,” he says, referencing the vast 6-to-13-year-old majority of the crowds who come to see him for his “Land of Stories” appearances. “There’s really nothing more pure than questions from children,” he says. “Children rarely have an agenda behind a question, or behind a comment. They are real people. And they know so much more than I do about my own books.”

A major part of the upcoming Mystic Theater event – sponsored by Copperfield’s Books, which has seen lines stretching down the street at past Chris Colfer events – is a “Land of Stories” trivia competition.

It is, says Colfer, one of his other favorite parts of public appearances.

“The kids,” he laughs, “always end up knowing more about my characters than I do.”

(Contact David at david.templeton@arguscourier.com)