Sarah J. Maas makes her debut with the YA fantasy Throne of Glass, published this week by Bloomsbury. It's the thrilling story of 17-year-old Celaena, an assassin granted amnesty from hard labor in the salt mines by the prince, on the condition that she compete with 23 other criminals for her freedom--or die trying. Maas, 26, was born and raised in Manhattan, and now lives in California.
On your nightstand now:
The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson (sequel to The Girl of Fire and Thorns). I finished it a few weeks ago and it completely blew me away. I adored every page of it. I've also got my signed copy of Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta, because I love that book so much that I just like seeing it there day and night (which sounds fairly creepy now that I'm writing it down).
Favorite book when you were a child:
The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch. It's a marvelous picture book about a princess who goes from being spoiled and selfish to empowered and independent (and manages to defeat a dragon and dump her obnoxious fiancé in between). It's probably the reason I became so passionate about strong heroines--and so interested in writing about them.
Your top five authors:
Eeek! Just five? Off the top of my head, I'd say Melina Marchetta, Patricia A. McKillip, Anne Bishop, Sharon Shinn and Megan Whalen Turner (and Lloyd Alexander, if I can squeeze him in there).
Book you've faked reading:
There are actually way more than I should admit, but I think the first book I truly faked reading (for class) was Animal Farm, wayyy back in seventh grade. And once I realized how to read just enough to survive a test/essay, it started me down a long, twisted road that would continue until I graduated from college. ;)
Book you're an evangelist for:
Finnikin of the Rock (and Froi of the Exiles) by Melina Marchetta. Her Lumatere Chronicles series is astoundingly brilliant and heartbreaking. I recently had the honor of meeting Melina (we were both on panels at Comic-Con), and I turned into a blubbering mess while thanking her for all that she was doing to rejuvenate and revolutionize YA fantasy.
Book you've bought for the cover:
Alphabet of Thorn by Patricia A. McKillip. The summary sounded intriguing, but the drop-dead gorgeous cover solidified the purchase (K.Y. Craft is an incredible artist). Of course, the content of the book matched the exterior, and Alphabet turned into my gateway drug for the books of Patricia McKillip (I now own all of them, even the out-of-print ones).
Book that changed your life:
Hmmm. There were so many books throughout my life that changed me. Honestly, though, I'd have to say Harry Potter. Not because of the books themselves (which are some of my favorites), but because the fandom was what got me started on FanFiction.net--and later led to me joining its sister site for original fiction, FictionPress.com (where I posted the very, very early draft of Throne of Glass).
Favorite line from a book:
Oh, I have a ton of lines that I adore, but there's a quote from Lloyd Alexander's Taran Wanderer (my favorite book in his Chronicles of Prydain series) that I've had taped above my desk for several years now. Taran Wanderer was a book that really, really impacted me when I first read it (I swear, I learned most of my life lessons from that book), and this quote was one that actually kept me motivated during my journey to publication:
"Life's a forge!" cried the smith, as Taran, his brow streaming, beat the strip of metal. "Yes, and hammer and anvil, too! You'll be roasted, smelted, and pounded, and you'll scarce know what's happening to you. But stand boldly to it! Metal's worthless till it's shaped and tempered!... Face the pounding; don't fear the proving; and you'll stand well against any hammer and anvil!"
I couldn't agree more.
Book you most want to read again for the first time:
Sabriel by Garth Nix. I read it for the first time when I was 11 or 12, and have read it many, many times since then. (Serious. The pages of my copy are yellow and falling out). I know so many other authors my age who were influenced by this book (elements of Throne of Glass were most definitely inspired by Sabriel and its sequel, Lirael), and it's come to be a near-holy book for all of us. So, it'd be so fun and fascinating to read the book without having spent my childhood and adolescence (and adulthood, to be honest) worshipping it. Would I still fall in love with it? Would it still scare the bejeezus out of me? Would Sabriel herself still inspire me? I like to think so.