Even before her first book hit store shelves, local author Sarah J. Maas’ Throne of Glass was something of a phenomenon. Her unconventional route to publishing highlights the opportunities for budding authors in the brave but not so new world of Internet publishing. One night 10 years ago, then 15-year-old Maas was listening to the soundtrack from Disney’s Cinderella. When the dispossessed princess ran away from the ball, the music swelled dramatically and Maas wondered: What if Cinderella wasn’t just trying to get home before midnight? What if she had just committed a crime? What if she was a killer? From there, the ideas flowed and Celaena Sardothien was born. A ruthless assassin with a haunted past, Celaena is a kick-ass heroine who bears little resemblance to her fairy tale inspiration.
Maas posted her first few chapters on FictionPress.com in 2002. Urged on by reviewers who wanted to read more, she kept writing. And writing. And writing. Hundreds of thousands of words later, her story (then called Queen of Glass) became the most popular story on the site, earning fans around the world. At her August 8th book signing at Vroman’s in Pasadena, Maas began to cry as she spoke about the devotion of her “FictionPress people,” as she called them. One girl from Africa, she said, walked every day to her town’s library, where the only computer was located, just so she could read the story.
In 2008, Maas removed Throne of Glass from FictionPress and began the long road to publication. Her novel was eventually bought by Bloomsbury and hit the shelves last week. It’s hard to miss the dedication: “To all my readers from FictionPress—for being with me at the beginning and staying long after the end. Thank you for everything.” For Maas, it’s truly a fairy-tale ending to a fairy-tale story. As for Celaena Sardothien, Mass is already working on her second novel.