Sarah J. Maas Queen of Shadows Interview / Q&A 2015
So on Sunday I went to the Sarah J. Maas book signing and Q&A event at the Bensalem Barnes and Noble, located within the Neshaminy Mall in Pennsylvania. I was (finally) given an excuse to utilize my old school shorthand skills, and now you, my favorite blog followers ever, shall reap the benefits. Because, I wrote down the entire Q&A/Discussion and have reported it here, for your enjoyment!
There are no real spoilers for QOS in this discussion/Q&A but there may be some slight spoilers for the other books in the series, and for ACOTAR. You have been warned. 🙂
**also please note that I did my best with these notes but I have undoubtedly gotten some things wrong, this is unlikely to be an exact, perfect transcription, but Im pretty good at note-taking and shorthand so I’m pretty sure I got 90% of it correct. **
Also this took a really long time to write so I didn’t even bother with proper punctuation or spelling or capitalization, ok? Don’t be judgey about it 🙂 **
Moderator: What are three words you would use to describe the TOG series… and then, the second part… QOS?
Sarah J Maas: Um like all my words are so lame … i was gonna be like “epic” (laughs) i hate you… i hate this question. “Female friendly”… omg i regret the two airplanes… um if we do like hyphens – “chock-full-of-hot-dudes” … this is quality literature (laughs) um “deadly?” Lets just pretend I came up with compelling and rich answers… and then QOS… “bloodthirsty”.. is that like one word? i need like auto correct. i was just in Albuquerque and thank god for autocorrect [i missed the rest of this sentence] so “bloodthirsty,” “steamy” like at times, yes? hmm and “daaark” (laugh). this is the worst. Ask me tomorrow. I’m gonna go home after this and be like, ah i should have thought of that…. [ i missed rest of this sentence, something about always thinking of clever things when its too late]. Ok so we’ve set the bar really low for the rest of the questions.
Moderator: Which is the hardest to write, the first or the last line of your novel? [crowd ooohs, they likes this question]
SJM: Um, i think the first, actually. yea I’ve always struggled with first lines. last lines usually just come to me and I’m like mic dropping at the end. Then i always write “the end” at the end but it never makes it into the book. Maybe like for the sixth and final book ill put “the end.” Yea the first lines are tough. Actually with QOS i knew that line from the get go, and what a line it is. kind of, idk. you guys can be the judge of that. Yea when i sit down to write a project just like the enormity of the first line will really trip me up just like, how do you start, where do you start. I’ve had a bunch of books where I’ve wrote the first line and realize I’m starting too early or too late so that just like disappears. Um, but yea. QOS i got lucky with that one. and I’m just like oh, poor dorian..my sweet dark prince (laugh). i cried like a million tears like writing this book and like half of them were in the dorian sections. which is like, sort of spoiler but if you read heir of fire like you know whats going on. Its horrible dark things, but he still looks good so (laughts) ok so the most important thing is that he still looks good. The valg prince like is really invested in making sure dorian stays fit and clean and well dressed. (laughs) i should include bonus content where the valg prince is like bushing his hair, getting his nails done… he likes that sexy body (laughs). poor dorian….its actually really horrific he’s just like stuck there (laughs) I feel so bad. They suffer so so much and its so fun to write except not. I’m the biggest fangirl of like a million fandoms and i don’t ever want anyone to suffer. Like i can’t watch the walking dead anymore because like everyone is always dying or being eaten….[i missed this but it was an anecdote about eating ribs while watching walking dead]
Moderator: So, speaking of fandoms, different fandoms, um obviously you have ACOTAR, which is different from TOG series. If both worlds could collide, which two characters would get on really well?
Moderator: get on really well, not get it on really well (laughs).
SJM: (laughs) In my head i already have like crossover fanfic (laughs), like is it fanfic if I’m writing it or is it like ultimate universe, canon things? idk what it is its so weird… um who would get along… i feel like Aelin and Rhysand [crowd oohs, they like this pairing] I don’t think they would get it on. I don’t think he’d know what to do with her. Shed know what to do with him (laughs) he would be a little overwhelmed by that package. Who else… i feel like Tamlin and Chaol would get along pretty well [crowd agrees] i mean, omg ultimate bromance, they’d be like “lets go do outdoor stuff,” be manly (laughs) thats on their like resume, likes : manly outdoor things. barbecuing. laughs. Dorian and Lucien probably. I’m like, writing fanfic in my head right now (moderator: that was my goal) Yea i just started a newsletter so you guys should sign up, maybe ill write like a fun bonus scene but then it’d be weird, in a way it’d be like canon. Dude I’d just like have a million disclaimers saying “I’m just really lame and like sightly perverted i guess” [laughs maniacally.]
Moderator: so also, piggy backing on the character question, if you could be stranded on an island w. two characters, I’m selfish and asking 2 of ur characters but if you have 2 other characters thats fine. But if you could be stranded on an island w them, who would it be?
SJM: Are we talking like stranded w the goal of like staying there to enjoy each other or like stranded w goal of surveying and getting off the island?
Moderator: um since your husband is here, um I’m gonna go w a very friendly excursion on an island for a couple of hours maybe.
SJM: My husband is Idk where he is so not my problem (laughs)
Moderator: well in that case go to town
SJM: um i want to say Rhysand would be perfect to be an island with, one, if i get sick of being on an island he can just teleport me to like wherever…um he’s got those skills, which I kind of hint at in ACOTAR, so he can just take me off… (laughs)…. um if like i decide to stay, he would be totally cool w like giving me endless messages. Like i mean he would give me a foot rub, he would enjoy giving me that pleasure unlike some men who might live in my household who might complain about giving me my foot rub…[crowd oohs because she just dissed her husband] but in his defense I’m like a tyrant, i recently described my husband as like Dobby the house elf and he doesn’t know what that is cause he’s never read Harry Potter. But we do have common fandoms like indianna jones (moderator: you’re both pretty) (laughs) thats why, we’re both like “you’re pretty, I’m ok looking like, lets get together” Um thats our love story. yes, yep. timeless classic,
SJM: Um, and then who else would i want on that island. Not Aelin, idk if she would just be like too much for me (laughs), i think id like to be w like lysandra who is like slightly spoilerey, um if you met her in the novellas and haven’t read QOS you might think like thats a horrible idea but she’s pretty chill. Aedion would be fun he’d be like jack sparrow like drinking rum and making fires. and yea, aedion would have no problem just like stirpping down to like… a leaf.. he would make it too and he’d be so proud of his leaf loincloth (laughs). that will be an extra content scene as well… all the parents are like “I’m never letting my child sign up for this newsletter” (laughs) It’ll be full of disclaimers like “PG13 rating” except like my idea of PG13 is probably like NC17 laughs [i missed a little bit of the end of this answer]
****<<next came a question about SJM’s dream “bad blood” video casting, if she could put any 6 people in her “bad blood” video, who would they be? But she answered too fast and I missed most of it. She said two of her friends, J.K. Rowling, and I missed the rest. Sorry Guys!!>>***
***<<next came a couple of silly questions that I didn’t really feel like writing down, my hand was HURTING you guys! But the questions were not about her books or anything, it was just like “apples or bananas?” and “sunset or sunrise” and “lover or fighter?” so you are not missing too much>>***
Moderator: Would you rather be mortal or immortal?
SJM: Immortal… just like, i was born too early, like i can’t wait for space travel i can’t… like i get upset if i think ill never get to visit another planet or travel the stars and i get like bummed out and sometimes i get like teary eyed. I’m like 200 years too early and hover cars and all that cool stuff [theres a conversation about some famous person who got arrested at the airport for not putting his hoverboard away.. i missed some of it, it was too fast] but i want to be immoral so i can have sweet flying cars, space travel and like not get old and like sad.
Moderator: what about everyone else?
SJM: Like ill meet new ppl (laughs laughs) idk I’m sure id be sad but like i will have enough time and id think about it while I’m in space and in my spaceship living as a vampire… vampires in space! Has anyone done that? Thats my next book (laughs laughs) it will be an autobiography of me, can you imagine like a vampire who chills in space forever and he doesn’t like feed on anyone, just chills in space
Moderator: but wouldn’t he die, if he weren’t feeding?
SJM: no they would have like some kind of magical technology that like makes synthetic blood… this is like now a book… I’m not gonna write the rest of the books, I’m gonna write space vampires .. Space of Fangs … (laugh laughs laughs).. I’m gonna go home and this will be added to my goodreads account (laughs) I’ll make a pinterest board [crowd oohs, they like this idea] No! I’m not going to! Space of Fangs? Ok, ill just put like LOL in it (laughs).
(Now they take questions from the crowd)
Fan Question: So the triangles with the magic parameter in TOG world, does the magic stifle only in that area, or does it extend to other countries?
SJM: So its like the whole continent but not any of the other ones. it kind of like took a little liberty to stretch it out further than the physical lines but it kind of restricts everything on their continent but then everything else is a free for all. they are just chillin in the other countries with their magic. Thanks King (laughs)
Fan Question: If your characters could be any kind of food, what kind of food would they be?
SJM: OMG, i love food if its not obvious from the Chipoltle baby inside of me right now (she ate Chipoltle earlier today) anytime that someone is eating in the book, its guaranteed that I’m stuffing my face. I think that the chocolate…. chocolate hazelnut cake, I’m definitely jamming a piece of that… um stew, my desk is a disgusting mess because of this. So lets see, Dorian, lets start with Dorian… what food would he be? I want to be like, the most decadent macaroni and cheese (laughs) i don’t know what that means but its like a delicious comfort food that I love! Um, (laughs) and now I’m just gonna like write a scene and Im just going to see a hot plate of macaroni and cheese with a crown on it (laughs) …sexy prince (laughs)… mac and cheese is delicious. I was just in NY for an event and this girl comes up and is like, your writing is liquid gold and I went, oh so its like velveeta and she didn’t know what that was (laughs). Oh, dorian. Aedion would be like pepperoni pizza (laughs) a little spice and a little cheesy and robust (laughs and giggles). OMG, this question is like ruining my images of the characters! Um, Celeana would be like the ice cream sundae you made for yourself the first time your parents weren’t watching and you could pile anything you want on top of it so you just have to like put a pound of marshmelos, m&ms, caramel syrup, and you ate so much of it that you puked… which MIGHT be a true story (laughs)….Chaol would be … ooh, like a Kind bar, very like lean and delicious and good for you. Like the coconut almond Kind bar, like the only good one, yeah. The nutty one (laughs). Lets see, Rowen would be the box of chocolates that he goes to buy Celeana in HOF and doesn’t really want to eat but its full of…lifes like a box of chocolates! … its just full of surprises! (laughs) inside and you never know what you are gonna get when you bite into one which is exactly what it is like to be with Rowen. Nehemia is like the most glorious latte made by like a very skilled barista and every sip is a miracle and perfect and then you finish and you’re sad that its over. Sam is like a cheeseburger, with in and out sauce and animal style fries and you eat it all really fast and you feel sick because its GONE! (crowd groans and oohs) and its only available on the west coast and never any where else, like the Novella collection with him. OMG I love that Sam still makes people so upset and like I cried so much while writing the Novellas and like I had to walk away. I was at an event at the UK this spring and this girl comes up to me and she’s like “is Sam really dead?” and I’m just like, “honey, he’s dead as a doornail!” and she just starts crying! and walked away and I’m like “I’m so sorry! my sense of humor is my way of coping with my grief!” So Sam’s In and Out, which is delicious but…. short lived! (laughs).
Fan Question: From the people that you know in your life, what qualities have you put into your characters?
SJM: My husband loves to come in to my office and be like, yea you totally modeled Chaol or Rowen after me, and I’m like “what the hell are you talking about” (laughs) One, you are not that cool, two they are ripped. You are very attractive but they are like unrealistic like expectations……[i missed some of the rest, it was a lot of joking about her husband]. Um, so I don’t really put the ppl in my life in my books ever. I do put like experiences and feelings into them. Like a lot of the friendship stuff, especially in Queen of shadows like the friendships thats like really inspired by my own experiences. Um when I was younger in HS and college I had a really tough time making girlfriends and I had a really bad experiences with them where they did really horrible things and they really broke my trust in other girls and when I wrote The Assasin in the Desert and Ansel came along she was very much a combination of these failed friendships with other women that I’ve had. I’ve wanted that to be a part of Aelin’s story from the get go that trusting and then breaking of trust with other women and then learning to trust them again and see them as allies and partners instead of enemies. One of my big pet peeves is seeing women meet and instantly see each other as enemies, you know what I mean like in a fandom and you meet her and you instantly hate her just because she’s a threat to the ship or whatever and I think I’m sick of that. Like women, we get marginalized every day in every possible way, like in our personal lives and in TV and Movies and like girls, like we need to have each others backs. And I really wanted that to be a part of Aelin’s growth in the entire series, um…..because of Ansel, she’s like opposed to the idea of having someone like Kaltain as an ally and she dismisses her, and so does Nehemia actually, and then in QOS part of her journey is learning to open herself up again and trust other women and that really enriches her life. And I have these amazing friends now that taught me about that, they are the friends that I waited my whole life for, like they are the friends I didn’t think existed. Like I would read Harry Potter and kind of cry to myself cause I was like, wheres my Ron and Hermoine, why are the characters and the friendships I read about in books or see in movies and tv, like why does that not exist in my life….. I felt very alone and then I met Susan and Alex and they were kind of the friends I had waited for and the ones that would like have my back against Voldemore (laughs) and so that really has left its mark on the books but then like obviously my husband is like not a part of the men. He wishes he was but he’s not. I would keep that, like separate. Like I found out, one of my friends texted me and was like “dude do you know that when you type in Sarah J Maas into google, like the number one option that drops down is like Sarah J Maas Husband?” (laughs) People, like people want to know…..[missed some of the rest, it was jokes about her husband and dobby the house elf]
Fan Question: How did you finally open up to having more female friends?
SJM: Um, when I met Susan, we just instantly hit it off, where like I grew up reading and watching anime and writing fanfic and like I was the only one of my circle that did that stuff and for a long time, this was before Tumblr and Twitter, this was when we still were driving oxen in the street, thats how long ago this was, this was me on the Oregon trail [jokes about Oregon Trail game, i missed most of it]…. susan and I had this instant connection, we were like OMG, you too? I thought I was the only one who read these books and like they changed your life, i thought i was the only one who thought this way about music and writing and our dobby-esque husbands (laughs) and so we just like clicked and then I made an active effort to be open too with my feelings and to be honest with them. And it was scary at first but I liked them so much and I decided to just go for it with that friendship and um my relationships with them are just as important as with my family and husband but its been like … its tough you know, its scary to open yourself up to anyone but with them I promised myself to that I would always like tell the truth and if something wasn’t right I’d make it right, and we’d talk about it um, so communication is key. thats my dorky analysis….[i missed some of the rest]
So there were one of two more questions but I missed the, SORRY GUYS! I did my best though to get you any of the stuff pertaining too the books in any way, but I did miss two more questions at the end, I just couldn’t write anymore 😦
But I hope you enjoyed this much at least!
And sorry for the horrendous editing on this post, it took forever to write all this and I’m just not doing the editing phase lol