Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Spotlight on Sarah J. Maas - SDCC 2016

This year, Comic-Con: International San Diego (#SDCC) took place 13 - 17 July 2016. What was different from years past? Me. This year, I was fortunate enough to be in attendance.

I'm a huge and very well-rounded GEEK. Comic-Con has long been on my bucket list. I still can't believe that I finally attended this summer. Thinking about the awesomeness for too long makes me want to cry. It was that fantastic! And I was there!

But let's get to the point.

The highlight of Thursday's Comic-Con programming, for me, was the panel called Spotlight on Sarah J. Maas and now (you lucky people, you) I will describe what it was like!

For the first thirty minutes or so attendees of the panel were able to sit back and listen to YouTube star Christine Riccio ask our favorite author some questions. One such question, my dear ACOTAR fans, was...So...Um...Does Tamlin look like Chris Hemsworth or what? 

SJMaas did give her approval on that casting choice, but also shared that she thought Mr. Alexander Skarsgård would also be a great option. I hope that she won't mind that I record the slightly embarrassing story that she shared next! 

SJMaas regaled us with the tale of an encounter she had with the statuesque actor! Believe it or not, Maas, who was an enormous TRUE BLOOD fan at the time, had the opportunity to meet the actor at a party. She'd been schmoozing and shaking hands when she finally had the courage to introduce herself to Skarsgård. Maas made sure we understood she's a happily married gal, but after managing to awkwardly say she was a big fan of his work, Skarsgård shook her hand. Well...starstruck as she was, starstruck as any of us would be, when she turned away she sorta, well, licked her hand. All I could think as we all delighted in her fangirl moment was that Maas has more Rhysand in her than meets the eye!

Yum. Germs aside.

The only really mortifying part is Maas thinks its possible that Skarsgård was behind her to witness the hand licking, in which case he may think she's a little creepy.

Speaking of fangirling... SJMaas is extremely beautiful and very down to earth. It was just lovely to listen to her fangirl about "Jo" Rowling. She's a huge Potterhead. There I was, a huge Maas fan, listening to her speak about one of her own favorite authors. It is on that subject that she shared another endearing anecdote. 

It seems SJMaas was always a very proud Gryffindor. And who wouldn't be? But she had never been properly sorted. To top things off, her husband, who was not into Potter at the time would often do or say things which would inspire Maas to remark, "You are such a Hufflepuff!" (Not that there's anything wrong with that.)

Well, one day a friend started asking Maas random questions. It turned out, she was sorting her using an online quiz. So, of course Maas was officially sorted into...you guessed it...Hufflepuff! She was devastated and took a long time to get over it! Any Potterhead can relate! 

But now Maas is a proud Hufflepuff, having learned all of the pertinent characteristics and history.

The best part is she asked her hubs the questions and he, dear hearts, is the Gryffindor. Can you with how sweet that is? I love it.

The best thirty minutes of a Comic-Con panel are the last thirty minutes. That is when our host announces they'll open up for questions and we all run like crazy for the one microphone in the room, praying we will make it and our questions will be heard.

My strategy in choosing where to sit was based solely on getting as close to that beautiful microphone as I could possibly get. 

Then it happened. The announcement was made. The mic shined before me. And I choked. I completely hesitated, my heartbeat pounding in my skull. But my best friend pushed me. She physically pushed me with every ounce of strength she had out of my seat and into the aisle.

SJMaas looked at me and she thanked me for being first. Our favorite author is a very humble person. She intimated that she couldn't even understand how she'd come to have her very own panel. How could she not?? Right?

I said: "Hi my name is Sasha, I'm an aspiring author and my question is, without giving away any spoilers, as you were writing ACOTAR, when did you know Rhysand would be so important?"

Small backstory: I am a discovery writer, which makes outlining very difficult. I had to know if Rhys was a character she knew in and out from the very beginning.

SJMaas said she knew as soon as he sauntered his hot butt onto the page. 

She discovered Rhys and as soon as she did, she was hooked, intrigued and had to keep learning about--dare I say--the most surprising male character in YA fantasy to date.

As a writer, this gave me hope.

Another fan asked how SJMaas learned to do such clever foreshadowing. Like every good writer, Maas is a reader, too, and credits the Harry Potter series for getting her mind working properly.

Did I mention that during the panel I was sitting behind Wonder Woman? Because...Comic-Con.

The last story from the panel that I'll share was one that Christine Riccio posed. It was a mystery for me, too, so I'm so glad that she did. 

Riccio asked: "So, the Rainbow Road in ACOMAF...is it a literal rainbow like Rainbow Road in Mario Kart?"

Oh, the belly laughter! That is so a legitimate question!

No, my friends, it was not at all meant to look like Mario Kart. The Rainbow Road, according to SJMaas, was inspired by artists' quarters around the world. Its colorful. Now I understand.

Thank you for reading.

And thank you, SJMaas for being so inspiring and gracious. It was an absolute honor attending your panel. Teardrop/ 

We have the same initials. That has to mean something cosmic, right?

So, you think you want to attend Comic-Con!? Check out my previous blog post on how to make that happen. 


I am Sasha Janel McBrayer. I have a handful of short, speculative stories published and am an aspiring YA fantasy novelist. I sometimes review movies and TV for local media. I like to shoot skeet and paint my fingernails really loud, pretty colors. (You should totally follow me on Twitter! @storyby_sasha )

Yes, I am LADYHAWKE over at Magic in the Library (@magiclibrary) where we review fantasy books.

We're one month away from the exciting release of SNAKEBIT! My original short story follows the South's most notorious female serial killer, The Medusa Killer, as Special Agent Scott Perseus hunts her down. Does he stand a chance? PRE-ORDER AVAILABLE NOW. You can read the next issue of 9Tales on your kindle or on the FREE kindle app on your desktop or smart phone.

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