It’s not every day you get to meet and interview one of your current favourite authors, but Philippa and I got the chance to do just that a few weeks ago at the Supanova Expo in Brisbane. Sarah J Maas (author of the Throne of Glass series) was at the end of her tour of New Zealand and Australia, and we got to meet her along with a group of our fellow reviewers!
Firstly I’d just like to apologise – I realise this post is two weeks late but we were originally going to discuss this in a podcast episode. We’ve ended up being so busy we haven’t been able to get together to record, so here’s the recap instead. We are planning a big Christmas episode though, so stay tuned!
Meeting Sarah J Maas
The lovely Sonia from Bloomsbury Australia organised a short window of time in Sarah’s Supanova schedule so that Philippa and I, plus Chelsea from Booknerdigans, Brittany from Nice Girls Read Books, and Jocie from The Name is Jocie got a chance to ask one question each.
Our time was cut kind of short but we managed to get in our questions and Sarah was just so friendly and funny and just delightful to meet, really. It was so lovely to hear her chatting about her characters like they are real people, just like we do! We also got to give her a care package of Aussie goodies that she was very appreciative of, and we hope she enjoyed them all, even the Vegemite!
Sarah recorded this video greeting for her Aussie fans:
Our question for Sarah was: (thanks Brittany for the transcription!)
There have been a lot of passionate fan responses to the different relationships – they’re getting together and they’re breaking up – especially in Queen of Shadows. Are you shocked by the amount of different responses by people and how does it make you feel?
I think of myself as a fangirl first and foremost, so I totally understand what it feels like to be passionate about a ship. I’m a big fan of Avatar: The Last Airbender. Zuko and Katara? I’m totally still bitter about that, so I understand that passion.
At the end of the day, as wonderful as it is when your readers are so vocal about your support, I really need to maintain that bubble of my own creative voice. Sometimes when I’m writing, I’ll just turn off the internet – as much as I love chatting to all of you guys online – in order to hear my characters voices, as I can’t hear anyone else’s.
I think, regardless of what people are saying, it’s wonderful people are even TALKING about the books. It would be really bad if people just didn’t talk about them… probably the worst thing they could do is literally say nothing. But passionate readers? It really gets the word out there. People are having debates about who they want the characters to end up with and people are like ‘Oh, I want to read for myself!’
With Queen of Shadows, I kind of knew before that book came out that some readers would be excited, some would be upset… but at the end of the day, again, I just kind of had to let the characters do what they wanted to do.
And in regards to Chaol, I wanted him to be at such an all-time low. What happens in Heir of Fire is devastating. And he is someone who has dedicated his entire life to serving Dorian, to protecting Dorian and serving his kingdom. At the end of Heir of Fire, he literally has to – not walk- RUN away, and leave Dorian to one of the worst fates that someone can deal with. And that breaks him; breaks him emotionally and I think – again, everyone’s entitled to their own opinion – but for me, I find that he doesn’t have to be perfect all the time and it’s okay. Okay for him, for all of us, to have moments were we break and fall apart and we don’t act our very best way.
In some ways it can be really hard to have someone expect you to be perfect, but everything’s falling apart and that can make you break even harder. And with Chaol, I wanted him to break, but he also had to learn (like he told Celaena in Throne of Glass to ‘get back up again’) and so in Queen of Shadows, he is definitely not himself at the beginning of the book because he is trying to re-organise his world and who he is and how he’s going to fight for it. And he is allowed to be mean and ugly because if that happened to my best friend, I would be a wreck! I would be the nastiest and most horrible person. So for him, he is allowed to have that moment.
He also owes it to himself to find a way to get back to that place where he was before – and not just that places, but a better place. For me, that was one of the most meaningful journeys that I wrote about in Queen of Shadows and I know that some readers were upset about who Celaena /Aelin winds up with.
(I always change what I call her depending on what book I’m working on. Assassin’s Blade through Heir of Fire I always refer to her as Celaena, but then Queen of Shadows onward she’s Aelin – but then when I’m talking to a group of people who haven’t necessarily read all the books, I have to call her Celaena because I don’t want to spoil it! So I’m always juggling the names!)
For Chaol, his main relationship is Dorian and that friendship – that bond. And I love that Dorian and Chaol can both exist outside of Celaena. They don’t have to BE their relationship to her. They can be with her, and then move on and have their own stories and contribute to the world and how they’re going to save it. I’m really excited for all the adventures that are coming up!
To read the rest of the questions and answers, you can read the full transcript over at Nice Girls Read Books.
Thanks to our fellow bloggers and booktubers Chelsea, Jocie and Brittany! It was such a lovely day and awesome to meet you all! And thanks once again to Sonia and Bloomsbury Australia for the opportunity.
About Sarah J Maas
Sarah J. Maas is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Throne of Glass series, as well as the A Court of Thorns and Roses series.
Sarah lives in Bucks County, PA, and over the years, she has developed an unhealthy appreciation for Disney movies and bad pop music. She adores fairy tales and ballet, drinks too much tea, and watches an ungodly amount of TV. When she’s not busy writing, she can be found exploring the historic and beautiful Pennsylvania countryside with her husband and canine companion.
So what else did we get up to over the Supanova weekend? Well Philippa was in the middle of her busy month of study and craziness so she had to dash off right after the interview. I was actually volunteering at the convention, which was an excellent experience and something I would certainly do again!
Not only did I get a stack of books signed by Sarah J Maas, but I also met and chatted briefly with authors Lynette Noni, Trudi Canavan and Isobelle Carmody. Not to mention also running into fellow bloggy types Jeann and Chiara in the signing queues! I managed to catch a few of the author panels as well – here are a couple of highlights:
— Treetop Angel(ya) (@oakenbookcase) November 28, 2015
— Treetop Angel(ya) (@oakenbookcase) November 28, 2015
I also got to see a few panels from other guests including Nick Frost (English comedian), Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca), the original yellow and blue Power Rangers David Yost and Karan Ashley, Sean Schemmel (Goku from Dragonball Z) and the very down-to-earth Matthew Lewis (Neville Longbottom). Plus I picked up all the awesome loot you see in the pic to the right, and did some christmas shopping as well!
In all it was a rather exhausting but really very enjoyable weekend. I was on Front of House in the Cosplay Theatre so I saw some amazing costumes over the weekend. I also met some lovely fellow volunteers and I hope I can catch up with them again next year 🙂