So today I am hosting the lovely Sarah J Maas on the blog with an interview for World Book Day!
You wrote on FictionPress.com before publishing your first book Throne of Glass, how did it feel when you finally published?
It was a bit surreal, to be honest! It took me ten years to go from getting the initial idea for Throne of Glass to actually seeing it on a bookshelf, so when that day finally came, it was almost like having an out-of-body experience! Just seeing physical proof that I had accomplished my lifelong dream was completely overwhelming and wonderful—and there are still some days when I wake up and pinch myself!
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Read a lot (and read widely). Write what you love (not what you think you should be writing). And don’t listen to anyone who tells you that you can’t get published. Before I got published, I had plenty of people tell me that I couldn’t get published or that I needed a reality check about my expectations—if I had listened to them, I never would have gotten where I am today.
How hard was it to transition from writing for FictionPress.com to writing a full-length novel?
Writing for FictionPress is super, super different from writing professionally. For one, most of the writing that is done on FP is written in a serialized fashion—meaning, you update the story whenever you’ve written more, and there’s no real sense of it being an actual book, you know? So, when I pulled Throne of Glass off FictionPress, the first thing I did was completely rewrite the story—to make it into a book, with a beginning and middle and end, with rising tension and character arcs and resolved plotlines that were neatly wrapped up within a reasonably-sized length (the draft on FP had about 100k extra words that were NOT needed).
But I think what was actually the hardest was just not having an active audience reading every chapter as it was written and cheering me on…. to not be able to show them anything until the book was written, edited, and in print (which is a years-long process). Thankfully, my fans are still super-vocal and involved to this day (and still help me keep going).
When writing do you follow an extensive structure or is it more of a natural flow?
Honestly, I hate outlining—it takes some of the spark out of the story for me. But I do go into writing a book with a fairly solid idea of the major events that happen. One way I keep track (and it took me years to realize that I was unconsciously doing this) is by using my music playlists to structure/organize my book. Music inspires almost everything that I write, and I keep extensive & detailed playlists that are ordered into the structure of my book. So if I move a scene around in the manuscript, I’ll move the songs in the playlist to the place where they now occur in the story. But other than that, I like to just sit down at the computer and see where the story takes me that day.
And finally, who is your favourite author or the one who has inspired you most?
I have so many favorite authors that I couldn’t possibly list them all here! But I’d say that in terms of inspiring me on a personal level, J. K. Rowling continues to be a role model for me. Her imagination, compassion, kindness, and generosity are just…incredible. I wish that there were more authors like her in the world.
Thank you taking the time to answer my questions Sarah, it’s been great getting to know you a little better!
If you already like Sarah’s work or wish to taster some of her work for free, then all you need to do is download the World Book Day app!
TEENS SORTED FOR APP-Y ENDINGS THIS
WORLD BOOK DAY!
New app launched with free, exclusive new stories from nine top YA authors
App powered by Movellas.com for download to iOS and Android devices
An eclectic and exciting mix of exclusive new stories from some of the country’s hottest Young Adult (YA) writers has launched on a brand new app for World Book Day.
Available to download for FREE on iOS and Android devices in the UK and Ireland, the app has been developed in partnership with online teen reading and writing platform Movellas.com, with contributions from Sarah Alderson, Josephine Angelini, Dave Cousins, Will Hill, Sarah J. Maas, Patrick Ness, Dawn O’Porter, Chris Ryan and Alex Scarrow.
And joining the top line-up of YA writing talent are a clutch of aspiring young authors from the Movellas community, whose stories have been added to the app after receiving nominations from their peers.
From comedy, friendship and romance, to fantasy, horror and espionage, the app includes something for every teenage reader, whatever their favourite genres or interests.
Broadcaster, author and YA contributor, Dawn O’Porter said, “I’m proud to have my World Book Day story sitting alongside the cream of the country’s young writing crop. I hope members of the Movellas community will be inspired by the new app to continue dreaming up exciting ideas and characters, and developing their own unique voice.”
There are five exclusive stories on the app on release and a further four will be released on World Book Day on 7 March, and available to read on the app for two months.
Yvonne Biggins, Community Director at Movellas commented, “The opportunity to appear alongside their writing idols on the YA app has been a brilliant way to encourage teenagers to develop their own writing skills. Not only have we seen thousands of brilliant entries posted on the site but we’ve also seen even more voting and commenting on the stories.”
Kirsten Grant, Director of World Book Day said, “The new app and our partnership with Movellas is just one way of getting great book content to Young Adult readers who have a hunger for new stories from top authors. Delivering content digitally and talking to teens in the spaces they like to visit and socialise also allows us to offer a taste of the brilliant fiction that’s out there and hopefully, turn more young people on to reading.”
A brand new space for teens has been developed for the World Book Day website, packed with book recommendations, activities and information on YA book events, while new initiative The Word Herd has launched to give young people creative ideas for sharing their passion for books with schoolmates.
Alongside the World Book Day YA app, a special ‘Story Chain’ game is also being hosted on www.movellas.com, where eight of the app authors have suggested the first line of a new story for members to continue.
Yvonne Biggins said, “Our partnership activity with World Book Day is seeing a brilliant response from our community, and I hope providing a platform for teens to engage in this way sees many more fulfilling our joint mission to keep up the practice of reading and creating throughout the year.”
Visit www.worldbookday.com for more information, the latest news and to subscribe to the free monthly World Book Day e-newsletter.