“Inspirations and Influences” is a series of articles in which we invite authors to write guest posts talking about their…well, Inspirations and Influences. The cool thing is that the writers are given free rein so they can go wild and write about anything they want: their new book, series or career as a whole.
Today, we are an official stop on the Throne of Glass blog tour, and we’re thrilled to have guest author Sarah J. Maas over to talk about her Inspirations & Influences. Throne of Glass is Sarah’s debut novel and features a beautiful and deadly assassin, a prince that wants to use her as his champion, and a guardsman caught in the middle.
Please give a warm hand to Sarah, everyone!
When I started writing Throne of Glass (wayyy back in 2002), the YA section was still a small, one-bookcase area tucked into a corner of the children’s section. So small that in the years before that (I was sixteen when I began writing ToG), I’d quickly devoured most of the YA high fantasy books (Sabriel and The Hero and the Crown were my gateway drugs)—to the point where I’d already moved onto the adult fantasy section and started devouring everything there, too.
I had always loved high fantasy, and always wanted to write a story about a heroine who got to do all of the FUN things: epic rescues, fierce battles, slaying dragons… (…I think my ideas of “fun” might be slightly messed up.) But I also knew that in order to be physically capable like that, she’d need to spend YEARS training. She’d need to have grown up learning how to use not only a sword, but also her body as a weapon (seriously, it drives me nuts when protagonists can just pick up uber-epic skills with, like, DAYS of training). So, when I got the idea for THRONE OF GLASS (“what if Cinderella had been an assassin sent to the ball to kill the prince?”), it was FINALLY the perfect way for me to write a story about that heroine who got to do all the fun, epic stuff.
Having Celaena be an assassin also allowed me to play with her character as well. As much as I loved Sabriel and The Hero and the Crown, those heroines were very much on the side of good—you always knew they’d do the right thing. I was always more interested in the Scarlett O’Hara type of heroine—the kind of person whose morality dwells in the gray zone, who didn’t always act selfless and kind. (What can I say? Goody Two-shoes types don’t float my boat.). So, as an assassin, I could have Celaena be that kind of gray-area character—I could have her waffle between somewhat-good and somewhat-bad, and I could really explore the darkness in her character. It’s made her a ton of fun to write—and is probably the reason why I’ve stuck with her story for over ten years now.
It took me years and years before I wrote and rewrote the story enough to dare querying agents and start down the path to publication. By that time, books like Graceling (…which I admit I still have not yet read) had become popular, and the YA section had been moved to a prime location (and become ENORMOUS). I’ve seen a few YA assassin books come out lately (like Grave Mercy, which I still have not read, either. For shame, I know!), and been met with enthusiasm—in part, I think, because these assassin-heroines allow us to write not only action-filled books, but also heroines who straddle the line between good and not-so-good (which makes them rather interesting to read about). I sincerely hope that female assassins continue to populate the pages of YA books for many, many years to come.
About the Author:
I’m a 25 year-old YA fantasy author living in the desert in Southern California. My debut novel, Throne of Glass, will be published by Bloomsbury Children’s on August 7th, 2012.
I was born/raised in Manhattan, but traded freezing winters and sweltering summers for No Winter Ever Weather when I followed my then-boyfriend (now husband!) out to California in 2008. I graduated Magna Cum Laude from Hamilton College with a degree in Creative Writing, and a minor in Religious Studies. I’m represented by Tamar Rydzinski of the Laura Dail Literary Agency.
You can also check out more about Throne of Glass on the official Blog Tour page on Facebook.
And now for…
We have one copy of Throne of Glass up for grabs! The contest is open to all, and will run until Sunday August 19 at 12:01am EST. In order to enter, use the form below. Good luck!