Sunday, September 15, 2013

Publication Inspiration: Sarah J. Maas in Cincinnati

Sometimes the “bad” role models are the best ones. Sarah J. Maas doesn’t consider herself the best role model, or at least that’s what she said during her event in Cincinnati Thursday for the release of Crown of Midnight, the second book in the Throne of Glass series. However, I think we were all there for a reason, whether because we love her books or because she’s such an inspiration with her great publication story, or both!

Her story goes a little something like this:
After being brought back to fantasy nerd-dom by a caring teacher and understanding parents, Sarah wrote fan fiction during high school until one day, while listening to the Cinderella soundtrack (the dark part after Cinderella flees the castle with guards in pursuit), she thought:
            What if Cinderella was an assassin who had just tried to kill the Prince?
This idea inspired Celeana, the main character of the Throne of Glass series and Sarah spent six years writing the first few books of the series. She posted Celeana’s story to throughout high school and college, and gained many fans along the way. But, the ultimate goal was publication, so in 2008 she made the tough decision to pull her stories from and spent months revising and rewriting the story.
From then on, it was continual revision, after Sarah got her agent in 2009 and after Bloomsbury bought the manuscript in 2010 then a lot of waiting until the publication of Throne of Glass in the fall of 2012. Fast forward one year, and Crown of Midnight is a NYT bestseller and Sarah’s about to jet off to the U.K. for a book tour. If that’s not an inspiring story of publication, I don’t know what is!
The story itself makes Sarah a great role model, because it’s all about focus, motivation, and never giving up. She may be a bit of a rebel, but who isn’t in the pursuit of their dreams? Here’s some advice from Sarah about being a writer:
·         Write as often as you can.
·         Write what you love, and don’t apologize for it.
·         If I had listened to the people who told me that writing wasn’t a viable career path, then I wouldn’t be where I am.
·         If it was easy, anyone could do it.
That last one sticks with me. If writing was an easy path, then wouldn’t everyone be sitting around crafting stories, playing with characters, writing love, intrigue and mystery? Okay, maybe not everyone... But if this path wasn’t difficult, then it wouldn’t be worth it in the end, right?
Even though Sarah may not consider herself the best role model, I look up to her as a writer, storyteller and inspiration in general, as I’m sure many of the people that came out for the event do, as well as many people throughout the country and world.
And, as I’m a better writer than I am speaker, I tried to tell her while she was signing my copies, but I’m not sure how intelligent/cohesive/sane I sounded. However, I know the message is in her possession, because I wrote it in the awesome copy of Throne of Glass that she has fans sign!
Great idea, right?
P.S. If you haven’t read this series, I recommend it highly. Action, intrigue, romance, plus the ending to Crown of Midnight is completely stellar. Usually I pick up on foreshadowing (just ask my boyfriend how many movies I’ve spoiled by whispering my guesses), but the ending floored/shocked/awed me. It was a complete surprise, which means it was immensely well done. Love love love!

DISCLAIMER: This post in an unofficial account of the event with Sarah J. Maas on September 12, 2013 at Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Cincinnati, OH. The views that I present in this article are my interpretations of the event. They do not necessarily represent the opinions of Sarah J. Maas, Bloomsbury or any affiliates.

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