By Hannah Lazatin
New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas’ life is all about two things: Writing and eating. “Books are secondary to food. I wake up in the morning and immediately ask myself what I can eat for breakfast!” she laughs. (She’s a huge fan of Philippine ripe mangoes!) During her recent visit to the Philippines, the internationally acclaimed storyteller spilled her advice on making regular routines more interesting, having adventures, and, of course, writing!
What interested you in the Young Adult genre?
"I think I wound up writing YA because those were the books that changed my life when I was a kid. The books I read when I was a teenager were by Robin McKinley, Garth Nix, and Tamora Pierce. I get to do what I love for a living because of the grounds that those three broke when I was a kid. I stand on their shoulders because of all the hard work they put in. They were writing YA when YA was a sad shelf in the back of a store covered in cobwebs!"
As an author of your stature, how do you manage your time?
"Every year, my resolution is to find balance. If left to my own devices, I’ll just write all the time. The thing I actually struggle with the most is finding time to have a life. I try to sit down for dinner every night, but there are periods when my poor husband makes me dinner, I eat it in three seconds and run back into my office."
Do you believe in waiting for inspiration to hit you or do you follow a discipline when it comes to putting pen on paper?
"I’ve always believed that writing is a muscle you need to exercise. I don’t have the luxury to wait for it to come to me. Sometimes, I’d have to force myself to get into 'the zone.' I want my readers to have my books at least once a year—now, it’s twice a year. My natural approach to writing is going after the story."
How can students extract the interesting from a routine school life and turn it into something more than an Instagram post or a Facebook status?
"Experience your surroundings. Reach out to people you’d never talk to, sit next to someone new at lunch. Get outside of your comfort zone in any way that you can. Always take notes. When I get a cut, I write about how my blood looks like. Put your phone away and pay attention!"
What tips could you give college students who are struggling with writing?
"My best advice would be to not be afraid of your professors. Go and meet with them to talk about what you can do. In creative writing, I always tell students to have a life—and that’s something I’m still reminding myself to do. Write as much as you can, but have as many adventures as you can. Every place I’ve traveled to, every person I’ve met, they all wind up in my books somehow."
ON THE SHELF
Make sure to read these Sarah J. Maas masterpieces
Court of Thorns and Roses
Crown of Midnight
Heir of Fire
Queen of Shadows
Throne of Glass
ALSO READ: Chalk Talk: Get Personal With Before You Exit's Riley McDonough
Image courtesy of National Book Store. Special thanks to Xandra Ramos, Chad Dee, and JB Roperos of National Book Store.