Sarah J. Maas is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the epic Throne of Glass series and A Court of Thorns and Roses series (ACOTAR). Her books are known for their powerhouse female protagonists and rollicking adventures.
On the eve of the release of her latest book in the ACOTAR series, A Court of Frost and Starlight, we look forward to October 2018 for the final in the Throne of Glass series, Kingdom of Ash, with this candid and revealing interview with the creator herself.
1. You started writing Throne of Glass as a teenager and the final book is about to come out. How are you feeling about letting go of these characters after so many years together?
So many things! Too many things! It’s all a bit overwhelming, to be honest. I’m feeling everything from pride that I accomplished this crazy dream of mine to total devastation that this series is coming to an end to just… pure joy. When I finished the first draft and finally wrote “The End” on the final page, I just had this moment where I gaped at my screen. And then burst into ugly tears and had to curl up on the couch for a good while.
Of course, I don’t think I’ll ever close the door to the world of Erilea, and there are already stories set within this world that I would love the chance to tell one day (one in particular is already scratching at the door, but… we’ll see!).
2. Your books are populated by some very brave and resilient female characters. Who are some women in your life who have been inspirational to you?
I was very lucky to have been brought up by and around some amazing women, who never once made me feel like my future was in any way limited because I was a girl. They encouraged me to dream big, to work hard, and to keep my head up high. I owe so much to them – but in particular, to my mom (who encouraged me to read what I loved, and never told me I was too old to believe in magic), and my grandmother, who is a Holocaust survivor (with her own amazing story) and has filled her life with adventures around the globe – and ignited my own passion for seeing new places, meeting new people, and keeping my eyes and heart open to the world around me.
3. When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I think it was just something that I was born with – and definitely stemmed from my love of reading (my mom tells anyone who will listen that when I was a baby, she’d find me pawing through my books – even though I couldn’t read – just admiring all the pages). But I knew I wanted to be a writer when I was around 11 or 12, and read my very first fantasy novels (Sabriel by Garth Nix and The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley).
I read those books and knew that was what I wanted to do – why I’d been put on this earth: to write stories about all those wild ideas and worlds running rampant through my head.
4. What is your favourite thing to do when you’re not writing?
Hang out with my dog, Annie! (And my husband, of course.) Honestly, just reading on the couch or binge-watching TV with her curled up beside me is my idea of heaven. I rescued her when she was 10 weeks old, and have spent almost every day with her since then (she’s now 8), so… you could say that we’re pretty attached to each other 🙂
5. What were your favourite books when you were a teenager?
Garth Nix’s Sabriel, anything by Robin McKinley (but especially The Hero and the Crown), Harry Potter (I was thirteen when I discovered the series, and only the first three books were out, so I spent most of my teenage years waiting for the new releases and attending midnight release parties for them!), and Lloyd Alexander’s The Chronicles of Prydain (I swear, everything I learned in life comes from those books.)
6. Last show you binge-watched?
Weirdly enough, I spent a lot of time re-watching Parks and Recreation and The Office while working on the final Throne of Glass book. I think it was because this book was so intense (to say the least) that I needed something to make me laugh every night just to unwind and decompress.
7. Pretend you have to pick one of your characters to be your roommate: who do you pick?
Probably Lysandra. She’s pretty clean, has awesome clothes that I could borrow, and would totally be game to either go out with me on the town or stay in and binge-watch Stranger Things for twelve hours straight.
8. What is your favourite type of scene to write?
I don’t really have a favourite type of scene – but I love writing the payoff moments. Like, the moments that things have been building toward for the entire book (or series), and that I’ve been waiting months or years to actually write. Sometimes those are sexy times scenes, and sometimes those are action scenes, and sometimes they’re just… revelation-ish scenes. I think that’s why I had such a blast writing the final Throne of Glass book – there were so many of those moments for me, some of which I’ve been daydreaming about since I was sixteen years old, that it was just… really exciting, and really surreal to finally get to put them down on paper.
9. You’ve said that Celaena was born from the Cinderella music, but Aelin was born from the Swan Lake music. How does music shape your writing and why have you found it so important to your writing process?
Music inspires pretty much everything that I write, and I have no idea why. It’s just the way my brain works: I hear a piece of music (usually movie scores or classical music) and I just see a scene, or a character, or an entire book. All of my books have sprung from pieces of music, and nearly every scene within them (and character) was inspired by it, too. The only way I can explain it is to tell you to watch Disney’s Fantasia – you know how they took pieces of music and set them to images/plot/scenes (that are often completely unrelated to the original piece of music itself)? That’s how my brain works. I hear the music and this stuff just plays out in my mind.
10. What book(s) are you reading lately that you’d recommend to your readers?
It’s been a super-busy year for me, so I haven’t had as much time for reading as I’d like, but I’ll always recommend anything by Patricia A. McKillip, anything by Sharon Shinn, Madeline Miller’s The Song of Achilles, Nalini Singh’s Guild Hunter or Psy-Changeling series, Sally Thorne’s The Hating Game, and C. S. Pacat’s Captive Prince series!
A Court of Frost and Starlight
A novella in the bestselling A Court of Thorns and Roses series
A companion tale to Sarah J. Maas's #1 New York Times bestselling A Court of Thorns and Roses series that takes place several months after the explosive events of A Court of Wings and Ruin
Narrated by Feyre and Rhysand, this story bridges the events in A Court of Wings and Ruin and the upcoming novels in the series.