Interview: Sarah J Maas talks new releases and Rhys
Sarah J Maas has been luring us into her fantasy world since 2012, and she’s showing no signs of slowing. With three books due out in 2018, Sarah J Maas lives up to her nickname as the Queen of YA. Find out what happened when we caught up with the New York Times bestselling author.
Guys I’m halfway done with Vampire Academy and I love ittttt. The writing is just so nice and light and gah. Amaze. » Day 7 of #aprilbookstagram18 is author you admire. All I’ve read by SJM is the acotar series but her writing is just sooo good. » QOTD: have y’all read any SJM books? » #bookstagram #booksofinstagram #yabooks #booklover #book #bookworm #reader #booklove #bookish #bibliophile #bookphoto #instabook #bookphotography #sjm #sarahjmaas #acourtofthornsandroses #acotarseries #acotar #acourtofmistandfury #acourtofwingsandruin
Thanks for taking the time to speak to us! First up, you’ve been described as the Queen of YA, how does that title make you feel?
It’s an honor that anyone would call me that, actually! (But can I share the title instead? There are so many other amazing YA fantasy authors out there who also totally deserve to be called that, too!) I’m honestly just blown away by how supportive, enthusiastic, and lovely my readers are—I can’t even begin to tell you how much they mean to me, and how much it means to me that they’ve let my books into their hearts. I’m so tremendously grateful for all they’ve done for me.
You started writing your first book when you were just 16, did you know from the beginning that you wanted to write fantasy novels?
Yep! From a young age, I’ve pretty much lived half in this world, half in some other realm. I’ve always been drawn to fantasy—it’s what I love to read and write most. That I get to now write fantasy novels for a living is such a huge dream come true.
Can you describe what your typical writing day looks like?
It’s a pretty mundane routine, I’m sorry to say! I am not a morning person, so I usually reserve the hours before lunch for doing non-writing related tasks (answering emails, reviewing everything from cover art to interior layouts to tour logistics, etc.). Once my creative brain has woken up (thanks to a few cups of tea or coffee, depending on my mood!), then I’ll spend the rest of the day writing or editing my books, and will usually do that until dinner. Depending on how intense my deadline is, I’ll either stop at dinner (and reserve the evening hours for catching up on TV or reading), or keep working until the early hours of the morning. Rinse & repeat pretty much 7 days a week (with two different series going at once, and 3 books coming out in 2018, I’m literally working 7 days a week for the majority of the year).
Was it hard to return to the ACOTAR world again so soon after you had finished with ‘A Court of Wings and Ruin’? Was there anything different about your process for this story?
I actually began writing ‘A Court of Frost and Starlight’ while I was drafting ACOWAR, so I guess my short answer to this is: No (ha!). I started writing ACOFAS because I simply wasn’t ready to say goodbye to this world—and because looking a bit into the future (since ACOFAS is set after the events of ACOWAR) helped me figure out precisely how I wanted ACOWAR to end. I wound up realizing that there were still so many stories left to tell in this world, and that for many of these characters, their journeys were just beginning. Plus, I just had so much fun while writing ACOFAS that I knew it was a story I wanted to be able to share with my readers, too.
So, ACOFAS wound up being an installation in the series that’s longer than a novella, but definitely isn’t a full-length novel—meaning, there are no big bad guys to defeat or epic battles, though these characters are definitely still grappling with the aftermath of ACOWAR (both in terms of their world and their own personal lives). The tale also sets up for the upcoming spinoff novels (I won’t tell you who the first book is about, but I think once you read ACOFAS, it’ll be a little more obvious).
If you could bring one thing from your fantasy world into our world here today, what would it be and why?
For Throne of Glass: Abraxos—I’d love to see the wyverns (and ride on one)!
For A Court of Thorns and Roses: Rhys. Totally Rhys. (He’s not a “thing,” but…you know what I mean.)
What is the best response you’ve gotten from a reader about your books?
There have been so many reader responses that have deeply, deeply touched me that it’s hard to pick just one! To hear from anyone that my books got them through a particularly hard time or helped them on their own personal journey is always such a welcome reminder of why I love to write. It makes the long hours worth it.
Lastly, what advice would you give to people looking to write their own fantasy novels?
Plenty of people are going to look down their noses at you for writing fantasy (thankfully, I think some of this attitude is now starting to shift!), but don’t ever listen to them. You write what you love, and screw the rest. It’s a long road to publication, but not an impossible one—if you stick with it, if you write what you love and believe in yourself, you will get there one day!
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