Tuesday, December 29, 2009

An Interview with an Assassin: Not Your Average Cinderella (feat. Sarah J. Maas)

Totally Sane Interviews

I don't think I could say it enough: I love to see authors interact with their characters. There's just something so beautifully surreal about it, and it seems to touch upon the fantasy that I know so many of us writers share--that desire to dive into the world that you've created and meet your own characters. Even horror writers might entertain the notion from time to time (although...hmm...I've got an interview coming up by Robert Crull, and I can't help but assume he might not be all that thrilled to meet his main character....)

At any rate, today I bring to you the delightful Sarah Maas and her interview with Celaena, the main character of her young adult fantasy QUEEN OF GLASS--and a most delicious character at that. I fell in love with her just from this interview. I can't even begin to imagine how rockin this book will be. And I must say, I just adore Sarah, who has been a delight to work with. She's one of the most pleasant people I've encountered...not to mention clever, talented, and remarkably encouraging. So, of course, I wish her tremendous success, and look forward to seeing her name splashed across the covers of books on my bookshelves.

About the author, in her own words:
Sarah J. Maas grew up on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, where her parents indulged her somewhat extreme passion for fairy-tales. At the age of sixteen, she began writing QUEEN OF GLASS –a YA fantasy trilogy centered on a Cinderella retelling. Three books and five years later, she completed the series. An hour after that, she opened up the first book, and spent a year revising everything. Now twenty-three, Sarah currently resides in Los Angeles, and is represented by Tamar Rydzinski of the Laura Dail Agency. The first book of QUEEN OF GLASS is on submissions to editors.

In my words: Sarah rocks. Follow her blog. Follow her on Twitter. Follow her with a camera and an autograph book. She's a star, folks, and her series will blow you away. So get on that bandwagon. Now check out her interview with Celaena, the mc of her YA fantasy QUEEN OF GLASS, and see what I'm talking about.

An Interview with an Assassin: Not Your Average Cinderella

Sarah: Name?
Celaena: Celaena Sardothien
Sarah: …Is that your real name?
Celaena: [picks at nails] Perhaps.
Sarah: [sighs] Age?
Celaena: What a vulgar question.
Sarah: Occupation?
Celaena: World’s Greatest Assassin.
Sarah: Modest, much?
Celaena: No.
Sarah: …That wasn’t a question. [sighs again] Okay. So: tell me why you, the World’s Greatest Assassin, are currently residing in the glass castle of Adarlan’s capital.
Celaena: Well, it’s a long story—filled with intrigue and romance and adventure. Starring myself, of course.
Sarah: Of course.
Celaena: A year ago, my life was perfect: I was the most notorious assassin in the empire of Adarlan, and getting paid mountains of gold for my services. People would scream at the very mention of my name. It was delightful. That is, until I was captured.
Sarah: You, Adarlan’s Assassin, were captured? By whom?
Celaena: If I knew, they’d be dead.
Sarah: Pleasant.
Celaena: Indeed. Anyway, after I was caught, the King of Adarlan shipped me off to the Salt Mines of Endovier, where I spent the past year working off a sentence of nine lives’ worth of hard labor. Of course, I terrorized all the overseers and had my run of the place—
Sarah: Did you really?
Celaena: [stares pointedly] Yes, I did. That is, until the Crown Prince Dorian DeHavilliard and Chaol Wydrael, Captain of the Royal Guard, arrived to offer my freedom in exchange for the lives of Wendlyn’s royal family.
Sarah: Wendlyn?
Celaena: The kingdom across the sea? Adarlan’s greatest enemy, and the sole country that has withstood Adarlan’s growing shadow? Don’t you know anything?
Sarah: …Just keep talking.
Celaena: [huffs] Naturally, I said yes. And so they brought me to the glass castle to revive my strength and to train. Train! Like I need any training! If anything, it’s that recalcitrant and bellicose Chaol who needs training!
Sarah: Chaol, hmm?
Celaena: Yes, Chaol. The Captain of the Guard? I already told you this. He’s close friends with Dorian.
Sarah: The Crown Prince of Adarlan?
Celaena: Yes. [snorts] Though it’s more like the Crown Prince of Womanizing.
Sarah: What, exactly, is your relationship with Dorian DeHavilliard?
Celaena: That bumbling moron? He’s the greatest fool ever to have walked in the miserable halls of this pretentious glass castle.
Sarah: I heard through the grapevine that you two were spotted together at the last ball—and that there were serious sparks flying between—
Celaena: Well, you heard wrong. [crosses arms]
Sarah: Are you blushing?
Celaena: Absolutely not. I’m just flushed from my training.
Sarah: Oh? For what, exactly, were you training? Did the Crown Prince of Womanizing oversee it?”
Celaena: [glares] I’m not blushing. There’s nothing between Dorian and I.
Sarah: Very well…
Celaena: [leans forward] I can kill you with a hairpin, you know.
Sarah: Point taken. I think this interview’s over.
Celaena: Thanks ever so much for wasting my time. [tosses her hair] I’ll be in the library if you need me. For your sake, I hope you don’t. [stalks off]
Sarah: [rubs temples] You’re truly delightful, Celaena.

So what is it about Celaena that makes you love her so much? One, she takes you by surprise at every turn...that's always pleasant in literature. And two, she says things like, "I can kill you with a hairpin, you know." So...of course, what is there not to love? Well done, Ms. Maas. I applaude you for your brilliance and thank you most heartily for sharing Celaena with us. I'm honored to play a small part in presenting this interview. I wish you the very best, and look forward to being able to say, "I knew her when she was subbing this book."

If you are interested in participating in the Character Interviews series, please drop me a line at cvaldezmiller AT gmail DOT com. Would love to see what you can do. Also, please be sure to check out the how and why behind the interviews series.

Until next time, happy blogging/writing/editing/breathing...though, if all you're doing is breathing, I recommend you take up a hobby. Like hatmaking. Or cherry stem weaving. Or Tortilla Sculpting. I bet you could have some crazy fun with tortillas.


  1. Ah, how cool. Looking forward to reading this!

  2. I always enjoy reading these interviews. They are so much fun & give you both a glimpse at the books & characters, and even more importantly the authors themselves.

    Laughed my butt off at the Tortilla Sculpting comment.

  3. misadventures, me too!

    LK, thanks! I adore these interviews!! And authors are the best! (and thanks, I've been considering some new hobbies. Tortillas have potential, don't you think?)

  4. Oh I'm TOTALLY into this! I want to read MORE!!! I love the snarky attitude and I LOVE the twist off from the standard fairytale! I can't wait til it's published and I. Can. READ. It. :-)

  5. These interviews are so fun! She sounds like a great character - very sassy and mysterious.

  6. How I have missed thy vainity, Celaena. ;-) Great interview, Sarah!! :-)

  7. You should have seen the scale recreation of the Taj Mahal I made with tortillas the other day. I sculpted the minarets out of olives, and used refried beans to hold the whole thing together. It was the coolest! Well, until the cat ate it. Which is strange, 'cause I don't have a cat.

    Wait. Where was I? Oh, yes...

    I'd kind of like to see someone killed with a hairpin. Sounds like that would take some creativity. (Well, I wouldn't really like to see it, per se. I'd rather read about it. It might make me ill to actually see it. I have a delicate disposition.)

    I quite like the setup here, good lady! (I'm talking to you, Sarah. Just so you know. The tortilla bit was directed at Carol.) I also like how you got snarky with Celaena in the interview, at least until the hairpin thingy. She's a bit defensive, isn't she?

    Jolly fun post, ladies. Merry in-between-Christmas-and-New-Year!

  8. I'd quite like to comment on this interview but find myself a bit squidgy about it as I recall the entire case of hairpins I have on my bedside table. So, I'll just head back to my tortilla and cherry stem earring making and wait patiently for Sarah's book to be published so I can read more about her fantastic character and her adventures as the World's Greatest Assassin!

    *note to self: hide hairpins*

  9. Great character - I'm sure this book will fly off the shelves once it's on them :)

  10. Wow this interview was so interesting and entertaining! I've never read one before, I must say I'm hooked :) Thank you!

  11. A spunky character, and a fantasy retelling of Cinderella...can't wait for it to come out.

  12. Sara, you've hit the right adjective...snarky she is!! With just the right kind of sassy ;)

    Heather, I have such a great time posting them!

    seeyouupside, I see you're familiar with Celeana! Isn't she great? Thanks for stopping by!

    Simon, I have to say, I think your Taj Mahal likely puts my tortilla Chuck E Cheese to shame...and here I thought I was being crative. Perhaps I shall sculpt Pompeii or maybe Atlantis out of tortillas next time...thanks for stopping by, dear guy. Isn't Celeana just the ultimate badass chick? Man, I so want to be her.

    Rhonda, I'm about rolling over here. OMG, imagining you stuffing your hairpins into your pockets as quickly as you can. Hahaha! You crack me up....I had not thought of cherry stem earrings. I'd imagine that would keep you occupied for a long time, like maybe forever. I think perhaps I'll leave that hobby to you and focus on my tortilla Atlantis.

    Jemi, I was just thinking the same thing!

    Diana, so glad you enjoyed it! It's been a really fun series ;)

    Medeia, this is definitely the first time I've seen this sort of spin on Cinderella. Cool, huh?

    kanishk, thanks for stopping by!

  13. Wow--thank you SO much everyone! I'm utterly thrilled that you liked it! :)

    And a HUUUUUUGE thank you to Carol! These author interviews are truly brilliant!!! Carol, you ROCK!!

  14. Fabulous interview. Nice work ladies. Can't wait to see more of these! And Carolina, we'll definitely participate at some point. Maybe after we've gone through our first round of edits? I'm sure Kate will have a thing or two to say after that.

  15. Sarah, very much my honor and pleasure. But I'm so glad you enjoyed the experience. I love how much we can learn about our characters by talking to them! Would love to have you back at any point.

    Lisa and Laura, wonderful!! Would love to have you. Best of luck as you work on polishing the manuscript. It's not easy, but so rewarding in the end. I can't wait to meet your Kate.

  16. LOL. She seems like such a fun character! I will definitely have to check out Sarah's blog. I love authors who interact with their characters like real people. After all, if they don't beleive they are real, who else will?

    Happy New Year!

  17. Kimberley, so true! I fall in love with my characters, too...so sad to finish a story sometimes. And Happy new year to you, too!

  18. This is great, Sarah! Well done. I know this will be published soon!

  19. Anne--thank you so much!! That really means a lot to me! :) Happy New Year!


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