September 11, 2014

Heir of Fire Tour (with Sarah J. Maas, Susan Dennard, and Erica O'Rourke)

I can't believe I'm already up to book event #3 for the year (or ever, really). I met up with a friend who now lives in the Chicago area to attend the Heir of Fire signing at Anderson's Bookshops in a nearby suburb this past Sunday, September 7, 2014.

Sarah J. Maas explained that for the tour, her publisher Bloomsbury allowed her to pick the author friends to accompany her at the various stops. Also in attendance at Anderson's were Susan Dennard (for obvious reasons), author of the Something Strange and Deadly series, and Erica O'Rourke (who I think lives nearby), most recently the author of Dissonance.

Luckily my friend and I got there a bit early and were able to secure spots relatively close to the front, as the event became very crowded very quickly.

Meeting the lovely Sarah J. Maas

The first hour consisted of a Q&A session, first led by a moderator, and then opened up to the audience's questions. I didn't bother taking notes this time, so the actual recap will be a bit short.

Sarah J. Maas spoke a bit about how long the Throne of Glass series is planned to be (six books as of right now). She explained that she has separation anxiety issues, and so could see herself writing spinoffs of the series that would focus on other characters but would still include all the major ones from this series. She also revealed that her separation anxiety causes her to not finish series she loves. She got halfway through Melina Marchetta's Quintana of Charyn before putting it down. She also hasn't read the most recent book in Megan Whalen Turner's The Queen's Thief series, A Conspiracy of Kings, because she's worried at how long she'll have to wait for the next installment (you and me both, Sarah).

When asked about how their writing processes have changed with regard to new series (Dissonance is the start of a new series for Erica, while Sarah and Susan both have new series coming out next year), Erica O'Rourke spoke about how much easier it is to write with a six-year-old child in daycare than it was writing with a two-year-old. Susan Dennard spoke about how her writing is much faster and better because she has so many writer friends to help support her.

"Why did you write YA?" and its variations is apparently one of Sarah and Susan's least favorite questions. Sarah J. Maas mentioned how she was a teen at the time when she started working on the Throne of Glass books. Erica O'Rourke gave the most beautifully eloquent response about how young adulthood is such an important time in a person's life; I wish I could have written it down! All three, however, were in agreement that they wrote the stories they wanted to tell, and that their publishers were the ones who really gave their stories the YA label.

In the Throne of Glass series, Sarah J. Maas' biggest regret is that she kept the names the same as the story that was originally published on Fictionpress. She mentioned how as a teen she thought names with lots of vowels were cool. Most of all, she wishes she could have changed Chaol's name (which is apparently pronounced like "kale.")

Whenever anyone asked a writing question, both Sarah J. Maas and Erica O'Rourke really pushed Susan Dennard's amazing website and all the tools it has for writers (it's the main reason I'm a fan of Susan's, to be honest, so it was nice to hear the authors speak about its value).

For the final question, an audience member spoke of how difficult it is for readers to read about character deaths, and asked how authors cope with writing those scenes. Erica O'Rourke had quite possibly the best answer ever: they eat brownies. Lots of them.

More than anything else, what made this event fun was the amount of camaraderie the three authors had for each other. Sarah and Susan were eager to promote Erica O'Rourke's works, revealing that she's apparently an expert at writing romance scenes. I have followed both Sarah and Susan on Twitter for a while now (despite only starting both their debut series in the past month), so I was a bit familiar with how close the two are, but it was sweet to witness it in person. They told the best anecdotes about one another, especially with regard to shell-shocked meetings with Tamora Pierce and Melina Marchetta.

And, most important of all, all three of these authors were absolutely lovely in person. The super long wait was worth the chance to say hi to them, and to get to speak to Susan about how much I love her writing resources.

Due to the fact that I'm well on my way to becoming a broke graduate student, I only picked up two copies to be signed here. And as they're both the third books in series where I have yet to read the second books, it may be a while before I get to them. 

Anderson's Bookshop is a bit (or a lot) of a hike for me to travel to, which is really too bad; it's such a nice store and they seem to have so many amazing events. Regardless, I'm glad that I was able to attend this event. I'm looking forward to catching up on both the Throne of Glass and Something Strange and Deadly series soon!
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Amanda loves few things better than sitting down with a cup of tea and a book. She frequently stays up far too late, telling herself she just needs to finish one more page. When she's not wrapped up in the stories of others, Amanda works as a children's librarian in a public library.


  1. I got to (very briefly) meet Sarah at BEA and she's so lovely. And talented -- this book was just so well-written.
    Thanks so much for stopping by! Jen @ YA Romantics

    1. Agreed. And definitely looking forward to reading Heir of Fire!

  2. Very cool!! I would love to meet Sarah. I have not read anything by the other two authors, but they sound lovely as well. Thanks for the recap!

    1. They were. I loved listening to all of them speak, and then having the opportunity to speak with them individually. I do need to read more of their works now to gain a better appreciation of them as authors!

  3. This was such a great event recap! I loved that you mentioned the authors interaction with each other. There's something so cool about authors who are also BFFs. If I've read and loved books from one author, I always end up wanting to read the books from their BFFs, too.

    I liked that fun fact about Sarah wishing she'd changed the names! And I recently found Susan's website and was so impressed by all the advice available. I've only read the first book in her series - I really do need to finish that series!


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