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Q&A  •  26 February 2024


How drama school inspired Chris MacDonald to write The Actor

Plus, learn about which fictional character he’d like to dine with and the musician he always turns to when singing karaoke.

What was your writing process like? Did you have a writing routine or any regular rituals?

I work at a beautiful co-working space overlooking the sea in Margate. It’s light and the scenery outside is always changing. I try to write from 9.30 until about 4. But in truth, I do a HUGE amount of procrastinating during that time. With a background in playwriting and screenwriting, I do lots of outlines to work out the story. But inevitably, once I get to writing them, they’re wrong and I have to go back to the drawing board. It’s infuriating, but always worth it for those little moments of victory when you get the story working and the words flow.

How did you first come up with the idea for the book? 

The book takes inspiration from my time studying as an actor at a drama school not unlike The Conservatoire the characters attend in The Actor. We got up to some pretty strange and extreme stuff, and everyone went along with it. So the seed for the book was thinking about how far we would have gone to become great actors.

If you could have dinner with any fictional character, who would it be and why?

All my favourite characters are terrible people who I’m not sure I’d want to have dinner with at all. If pushed, let’s go for McMurphy from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest,before the electro-shock therapy

If you were a character in a novel, what would be your signature quirk or catchphrase?

'That’s lunch and don’t spare the pickles.'

What fictional world would you want to live in, and how would you survive or thrive there?

I’ve always wanted to be a musician, so maybe in the world of Daisy Jones and the Six. I would survive by staying away from the booze and drugs and practising my scales.

What's the weirdest talent or skill you have that not many people know about?

An ex-girlfriend once said that my greatest talent by far was whistling. For someone who aspired to be an actor, singer and writer, that was quite hard to take.

What's your go-to karaoke song, and how well do you perform it?

Anything by Lionel Ritchie, and pretty damn well.

Where is your happy place and why?

Kitchen discos with my wife and kids. It’s been wall-to-wall Taylor Swift the last year or two.

Feature Title

The Actor
To achieve greatness, you must sacrifice everything. An unputdownably tense novel about obsession, guilt and the glamour of Hollywood
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