The Land of Stories: Beyond the Kingdoms hits shelves July 7
With Glee ending last month, Chris Colfer closed a chapter in his life.
Luckily for his Gleeks, the 24-year-old wrote a whole book to enchant them – and PEOPLE has the exclusive title and cover reveal of his latest novel, The Land of Stories: Beyond the Kingdoms.
The fourth installment in Colfer’s bestselling fantasy series for children, Beyond the Kingdoms finds twins Connor and Alex embarking on new adventure and promises to unearth secrets from their past.
“I’m just so excited for the fans to see it. I think it might be my favorite cover and my favorite book so far,” Colfer tells PEOPLE. “Brandon Dorman, who is my illustrator, is an absolute genius, and he blows me away whenever I get sent his art.”
Beyond the Kingdoms hits shelves July 7. In the meantime, here’s what Colfer has to say about The Land of Stories, Glee and what’s next for his career.
Congratulations on your fourth Land of Stories book! What fairy tales do the characters explore this time?
Well, this book is actually different from the classic fairy tales that were written by the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson: This is the first time that the lead characters will be traveling into works of literature, so they rub elbows with characters from Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, Robin Hood and all kinds of classic characters.
Why did you switch it up for this book?
When I first started the series, I was only expecting to do one book, and then it did really well so I did a second one, and then those did phenomenally well, so I have extended the series to five books. It was really just, what else could I do that kept the lead characters going on adventures that all celebrated reading.
You’ve said that you created this world as a child. As the books have gone on, have any of your more recent life experiences, as you’ve grown up, factored into them?
Absolutely. It’s funny, because the whole idea of doing a book first came to me because I was getting offers to be doing autobiographies, and at the time I think I was 19 or 20, and I thought, “Well, maybe it’s not the best time to do an autobiography when I’m only 19 or 20.” And that’s when I introduced the idea of a kids’ series that I’ve always wanted to do. And since I’ve started it, they really have become autobiographical, and I would say there is so much of me and my life and my own experiences in these stories.
The next book is your last in the Land of Stories series. I know you’re also working on companion books, but why did you decide to stop after five?
When I decided to expand the series, it was really all that I wanted to tell. I thought that anything after the fifth book, story-wise, might have been too stretched or too forced. But the plot for five books came to me very, very easily. I didn’t want to expand it out and have the stories to be sloppy at the end. I wanted the stories that I tell to be meaningful.
Can we expect a happy ending?
I think so. [Laughs]. It’s about fairy tales, so I feel like I’d be doing something wrong if it didn’t have a happy ending – for at least the characters we like.
What is your favorite fairy tale, and why?
Oh gosh I was always a big fan of Sleeping Beauty because there’s so much in it, and it really is kind of like a bunch of fairy tales combined.
Have you thought about developing The Land of Stories for as a TV or movie series?
Oh, yes. Yes, yes. That’s definitely in the works. I am horribly superstitious so I won’t say anything else, but yeah, it’s definitely in the works.
You’re set to play Noel Coward in a biopic with some really amazing costars. What are you most excited about with that project?
I think maybe just being on some of those locations, because we’re filming in old theaters in the West End and the places that he actually was and the streets that he actually walked down. I think it just adds such an authenticity to it that I’m really looking forward to experiencing. And also, just working with Ian McKellen and Vanessa Redgrave. I mean, I feel like it’s my Make-a-Wish.
I have to ask you about wrapping up Glee: 10 years from now, what memories from those six years will stick with you?
Oh gosh, oh my God, there are so many memories! I was so young when the show started, I had a lot of first experiences with the cast. I had my first drink with the cast and I went to my first bar with the cast, so I’ll probably remember celebrating a lot of things with them. But also, I think in the early years of the show, just the amount of people that the show touched because it celebrated characters that became voices for people who didn’t think they had one. I think that will always be the most rewarding part of the show.
Ryan Murphy is developing a lot of shows, from American Horror Story to Scream Queens . Would you consider working with him again on a series?
I probably would not because my involvement with any of those shows would just seem like a Glee reunion [laughs], rather than an exciting, new project. I’m kind of just looking forward to different exciting things.
So you won’t be guesting with Lea Michele on Scream Queens.
[Laughs] I don’t think so. That might be a little too on the nose!
I loved Struck by Lightening. Do you see yourself writing and producing any more movies?
I certainly hope so, and one of the reasons why I didn’t do more of it afterward was just because the Glee schedule was just a really crazy schedule, and I didn’t want to half-ass anything. Now that that’s over, I’m really looking forward to doing more film.