Sunday, September 14, 2014

On Buffy, Playlists and Not Giving Up

What do Sarah J. Maas and Emery Lord have in common?

For starters they’re both YA authors. Maas writes the NYT bestselling Throne of Glass series. Heir of Fire, the third in the fantasy series, was released September 2. Emery Lord is the YA contemporary fiction author of Open Road Summer and upcoming ­­­­The Start of Me and You.

Also, they’re both with Bloomsbury. They’ve both read each other’s books. They’re both fangirls of one another. Oh, and they both appeared at the Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Crestview Hills, KY last Tuesday!
They talked Celeana, Reagan and Buffy. They talked Chaol and Matt Finch. They talked about being anti-outlining, method writers and mutual fangirls of one another. Here are some of the highlights:

“It’s nice to see a character who makes bad decisions with backbone and sass.”
Emery Lord said this of Celeana, the main character in Maas’ Throne of Glass series. Celeana is strong but flawed. She’s vain and stubborn. She loves food and her dog, Fleetfoot and she has a fierce loyalty for her friends, especially her best friend, Nehemia. Maas was inspired and empowered by Buffy the Vampire Slayer, who's a fierce warrior but also a girly girl. And that’s the great thing about both Buffy and Celeana—they don’t have to be one of the other. They can be both! Maas also loves Reagan, the main character of Lord’s Open Road Summer, because she isn’t perfect. In my opinion, the fact that these characters are imperfect is what makes them all—Celeana, Reagan and Buffy—relatable.


“Music is my outline.”
Maas doesn’t like outlining. Instead she uses playlists. By the end of a draft, she’ll have hundreds of songs and segments of songs in a playlist that matches that draft. Lord also attaches songs to chapters, so that when she revisits a chapter, she can listen to the song and get right back into the mindset. Maas is a method writer. She keeps a mirror behind her desk and acts out each scene before writing it. This helps her get into her character’s mind so she can feel what they feel, no matter the emotion. This is one of my biggest takeaways from the event—method writing. To write a character’s thoughts and emotions accurately, one should delve deep into their mindset, so much so that it should affect your own emotions.


“The only person who can get you to stop writing is you.”
Sarah J. Maas never let anyone stop her from writing. Writing is a marathon, not a sprint. The commonality between all published writers is that they didn’t give up. As a writer, you need to finish what you start and she highly suggests getting a critique partner. Her best friend, Susan Dennard, is her critique partner and their strong friendship is evident all over Twitter. Maas also directed us to Susan’s website for writerly information, and whoa, I can't wait to dive into the articles and links!


 “When you write what you love, it’s not always work.”
Last Tuesday was my first Emery Lord Experience. She’s spunky, nerdy and highly quotable. I admit I attended this event because I adore Maas’ Throne of Glass series, but Lord was a pleasant surprise! I haven’t read Open Road Summer, but it’s now high on my TBR list as I'll be seeing her again soon at Cincinnati's Books by the Banks! Funny yet inspiring, here are a few more Emery Lord quotes:

  • “We collect your tears and use them as fuel.”
  • “If you want to spend time with your characters, it probably means that others want to spend time with them too.”
  • “Sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself is refill your well by being inspired by something else.”
  • “I nerd a lot.”

 I’ve never heard “nerd” used as a verb, but I’m a fan. Also a fan of this:


 Thanks to Sarah J. Maas and Emery Lord for being awesome!

Disclaimer: This post is an unofficial account of the event with Sarah J. Maas and Emery Lord on September 9, 2014 at Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Crestview Hills, KY. The views that I present in this article are my interpretations of the event. They do not necessarily represent the opinions of these authors or their publisher.

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