“Throne of Glass” Tour Stop: Sarah J. Maas on the birth of Celaena, YA high fantasy, and more!

Hello, and welcome to your next tour stop for the “Throne of Glass” blog tour! I’m your host, Usagi, and today we’re talking to the lovely and awesome author, Sarah J. Maas, about the creation of the book, the advent of Celaena, and more!

I was lucky enough to meet the author at ALA (Sarah is one of the most gracious authors I’ve ever met, for serious), and for those who haven’t read the book yet – what are you waiting for? Caution, there may be a few spoilers ahead in this interview, but we tried to keep it as spoiler-free as possible.

So, let’s go into Sarah’s head as she tells us about the birth of the “Throne of Glass” series, right beyond the jump!

USAGI: Hi, Sarah! Thanks for answering my questions. My first one is: we all know how “Throne of Glass” came to be – first through fictionpress online, and now in handy-dandy book form. Why did you decide to start posting your saga online first instead of going the traditional write-it-all-in-one-manuscript and get it to an agent way?

SARAH J. MAAS: First of all: Hiii!!! So happy to be here!

Secondly… Well, I was sixteen when I began writing ToG, and it was wayyy back in 2002. The online YA community was pretty much nonexistent, as was accurate online advice regarding HOW you went about getting published. I had NO IDEA how one went about getting published–NONE.

Honestly, I just wanted to write—and I wanted people to be able to read what I was writing. It was never a decision about sharing online vs. pursuing publication. I just had a story that I needed to write, and found a place where I could immediately share it. Of course, once people started saying: “You should publish this!” I began to contemplate that as a possibility, but this series has ALWAYS been about writing something I love with my entire soul, regardless of how it gets to the public.


The first book, “Throne of Glass”. Be sure to check out the four prequel novellas, also out now!

U: So, Celaena. Next to Cersei Lannister, I think she’s my new spirit animal. Who or what were your influences when you were creating her? Did you intend for her from the start to have all of that unapologetic, awesome swag (which was really refreshing, btw)? Or was she originally a weaker flower?

SJM: Okay, I just have to say that I actually LOLed while reading this question. Spirit animal. Love it.


Even though she’s certainly grown as a character as I’ve written and rewritten this series again and again, she’s always had that (occasionally insufferable) swagger. I had no interest in writing about a goody two-shoes kind of heroine (mostly because I have never particularly enjoyed READING about those kinds of heroines, and I’m certainly not a goody two-shoes myself). In some ways, Celaena just sauntered into my head fully-formed—but she’s also a product of a lifetime of reading books and watching movies/tv shows where the guys got to do all the epic stuff. I wanted to write about a heroine who could do all of those fun things—and in order to do those things, she needed a lifetime of training.
Off the top of my head, some of the influences on her character were (brace yourself for the most random list of all time): Scarlett O’Hara (from Gone With the Wind), The Bride (from Kill Bill), Velma Kelly (Chicago), Atreyu (from The Neverending Story. Um, don’t ask.), Han Solo, Sorsha (from Willow), Cera (from The Land Before Time. I wish I was joking.), Eva Peron (from Evita), Christian Bale’s Batman (from The Dark Knight Trilogy) and Elizabeth Bennett (from Pride & Prejudice). And a bunch more, even more random characters that all left their mark on me.


The gorgeous Sarah J. Maas.

U: How much from the original fictionpress postings made it into the actual published book?

SJM: You know, a lot of the book is totally new, but there are still some scenes that fans might remember. More than that, though, I think the spirit of the book remains the same (even if the plot has changed a bit).


U: How many more books can we expect in this series (novellas included)?

SJM: Well, my current plan involves a story arc that will take about six books to tell. But that decision remains in the hands of my publisher. I guess with the novellas, that makes…six books, plus four novellas, so…ten books? Though the four novellas together could be counted as one book, so…seven? Agh, I don’t know.


U: You’re making a soundtrack for the book. You get eight tracks. What are they? List them, and make them count!

SJM: I actually have the playlist posted over on the Mundie Moms website! You can check it out here!


U: What inspires you?

SJM: Everything. Anything. Music, mostly (especially movie scores). But movies and tv and art also inspire me. And just living life (especially when I travel) inspires me in unexpected ways.


U: What do you think about the status of YA high fantasy/epic fantasy as it is right now?
SJM: I am SO pumped to see such a surge of YA high fantasy making its way out there, and couldn’t be more thrilled to be a part of this genre right now!



U: What are your favorite authors, those that have inspired you?
SJM: Well, on a personal/emotional level, J. K. Rowling inspires me. She inspires me as an author, as a fan, and as a human being.
But favorite authors (in no particular order): Patricia A. McKillip, Sharon Shinn, Peter S. Beagle, Melina Marchetta, Anne Bishop, James Clemens, Garth Nix, Robin McKinley, Terry Brooks, Shannon Hale, Philip Pullman, Alex Bracken, Thea Harrison, J. R. Ward, Megan Whalen Turner, Nalini Singh, Diana Gabaldon, Suzanne Collins, and Lloyd Alexander.


U:  If you could cast the film for the book, who would you cast in the main roles?

SJM: Celaena: Jennifer Lawrence (I cast her way before she was in The Hunger Games! Wahhh.). Dorian: Drew Roy. Chaol Westfall: Sam Worthington. Princess Nehemia: Kat Graham.


U:  How much of you (or your loved ones) is in your characters?
SJM: Um, very little of my loved ones are in my characters. The only time I’ve really done that is when I created the character of Ansel (from the second novella, The Assassin and the Desert)—but it was her relationship with Celaena that was more influenced by past (failed) friendships.
As for how much of me is in my characters…I think all of them got a little piece of me (how could they not?), but Celaena especially. Initially, she was very much like me (when I was sixteen), but over the years, she’s become completely her own person (though we still have some traits in common, most of them bad habits).


U: What can we expect in the next book, after that awesome ending?
SJM: Oooh, I wish I could tell you, but we’re in the middle of revising Book Two right now, and I’m not sure WHAT will make it into the final draft! BUT, I can tell you that it’s a lot darker than Book 1, and that Celaena’s relationships with everyone she loves will be put the test—sometimes with devastating consequences.


U: If you could live in any high/epic fantasy series’ world (excluding your own!), which would it be? Name the author and the series.
SJM: Oh, I think I’d want to live in Anne Bishop’s world in her Black Jewels trilogy, even though it can be a dark and terrifyingly brutal place. Mostly so I can marry Lucivar Yaslana (um, don’t tell my husband), who is my favorite male protagonist of all time. 😉


U: Finally, do you have any particular message you want the reader to take away from “Throne of Glass”?

SJM: You don’t need a prince to save you. Period. ❤


Usagi: Thanks for swinging by today, Sarah! Remember, everyone – all four prequel novellas (e-book only form) are now on sale, as well as “Throne of Glass” itself! Oh man, it’s going to be really hard waiting for that second book…


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s