An Evening with Sarah J. Maas

It was an emotional wrap up for popular Young Adult author, Sarah J Maas, who made her final stop on her Kingdom of Ash tour in Auckland on the 13th April at an event hosted by the Auckland Writers Festival. This marked the conclusion of the series which she had started writing when she was only 16, almost 20 years ago, and the end to her debut series. I had the privilege of going up north and be a part of this epic and emotional finale.

If you haven’t heard of Sarah J. Maas, she is the author of the incredibly popular Throne of Glass series, which she was on tour to promote, and the equally loved A Court of Thorns and Roses series (affectionately called ACOTAR). She has written over 13, almost 14, books in the past 10 years and is a #1 New York Times Bestselling Author, multiple times over. Her two book series have been published in 35 languages and sold over seven million copies worldwide.

  

Once it was announced that she would make her way to New Zealand in her next tour, I snatched up tickets the moment they went on sale!! If you have never been to an author event before, it’s a really fun way to learn about the creative writing process and hear the author’s personal thoughts on how their writing, characters and sneak peaks of what’s next.

Maas talked about how ever since she was little, it had been her wish to publish a novel “whether I was 20 or 90, I wanted to publish a book someday.” Listening to her journey of discovering Celaena, the central character of the Throne of Glass series, and how she continued coming back to her writing throughout her high school and university days, you get the sense of how determined she was to achieve her dreams. Despite setbacks, rejections and many rewrites, Maas spoke of the highs and lows of getting her work published and meeting the demands of her book deal.

Maas also talked about her love for the fantasy genre. Growing up she loved the likes of Star Wars, Indiana Jones and she was the ultimate Lord of the Rings fan! New Zealand has always held a special place in her heart because of her connection to the famous movie series. Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Sailor Moon were her female heroines in her youth and taught her the importance of having “kick-ass female characters” in her stories. These strong female characters can definitely be seen throughout all books and her leading ladies are some of the most complex and exciting female heroines I’ve seen in YA in recent years.

“Book people are the best people,” Sarah J Maas is first and foremost a booklover. She emotionally expressed how books have carried her through some of the darkest, loneliest and most stressful periods of her life. She laughed as she told us stories of her fan-girl moments when meeting “colleagues” who have written some of her favourite narratives. Maas encouraged us all to keep reading, exploring creative outlets and continuing to follow our dreams.

I found the most interesting part of her talk to be when she told us about what her favourite book and character were from her own bibliography. A Court of Mist and Fury, book 2 in the ACOTAR series, is Maas’ favourite book so far. It was the most complex and challenging work she had written, and marked a distinct change in writing style and storytelling structure.

The character Manon, introduced in Heir of Fire Book 3 of the Throne of Glass series, is one of her favourite characters that she has written. Manon came storming into Maas’ life during one of the most stressful moments in her career and despite the initial negative feedback from editors, she added Manon to the series. Maas knew where she wanted the character to end up in the final book and Manon’s story arc from a writing perspective was one of the more complex and challenging to create. Judging from the emotional response in the audience when *spoilers* were discussed about Manon and the final book, Kingdom of Ash, the impact and connection that Maas had hoped the character would have on readers, certainly paid off.

What’s Next?

Maas’ next book project is an adult series called Crescent City, the first of which is called House of Earth and Blood, is set to be published in January 2020. She didn’t give too much about it away but mentioned it is a contemporary fantasy, which takes places in a world and magic system similar to Throne of Glass and ACOTAR but a few hundred years in the future where everyone has cellphones and the internet. I’m so excited to see the direction Sarah J Maas is heading with her writing and the new, exciting characters we are going to be introduced too in the New Year.

But if you can’t wait until next year then have no fear, because in October 2019 fans of Throne of Glass will get a chance to experience the beloved characters in the series again with the release of the Throne of Glass Card Game. We don’t know much about this game but the artwork that has been released is stunning and I’m looking forward to getting my hands on a copy.

View this post on Instagram
opens a new window

So excited to announce that there will be a Throne of Glass card game coming out this fall! It will feature art by the amazing Coralie Jubénot (@merwildandco), and will release in October 2019! Link in bio for where to preorder (we’ll have details on the preorder offer/item soon)! 💖🔥👑🔥💖 Here are some details from the official press release: “In this lavishly illustrated two-player card game set during the events of Kingdom of Ash, players must work together to delve into the memories of Aelin Galathynius and help her face her inner demons before she is overwhelmed. Be warned – each challenge you face is more complex than the last, testing the bond between you and your partner to its limits.”opens a new window

A post shared by Sarah J. Maasopens a new window (@therealsjmaas) on

Her final interactions with the audience were certainly emotional. Tears were shed by Sarah and the fans. She was saying good-bye to a series that had dominated half of her life. She talked about how she sat and cried when wrapping up the final book in the series but she was also excited for this new chapter starting in her professional and personal life. The birth of her baby son, just as Kingdom of Ash was set to be published marked a touching moment in her life - she had achieved her teenage dream of publishing a book, had completed the story she wanted to tell, and now it was time to look towards the future and find her new dream with her family.

Throne of Glass Series

Throne of Glass (2012)
Crown of Midnight (2013)
Heir of Fire (2014)
Queen of Shadows (2015)
Empire of Storms (2016)
Tower of Dawn (2017)
Kingdom of Ash (2018)

CoverCoverCoverCoverCoverCoverCover

A Court of Thorns and Roses Series

A Court of Thorns and Roses (2015)
A Court of Mist and Fury (2016)
A Court of Wings and Ruin (2017)
A Court of Frost and Starlight (2018)

CoverCoverCoverCover

Find more books by Sarah J. Maas in our collection.

Heidi Becker
He Hononga | Connection, Tūranga

We welcome your respectful and on-topic comments and questions in this limited public forum. To find out more, please see Appropriate Use When Posting Content. Community-contributed content represents the views of the user, not those of Christchurch City Libraries