Welcome to the adrenaline written recount of the night I met Sarah J Maas. I apologise for any grammatical mistakes or clunky sentences, as I did in fact write this blog post tucked into bed, with dried tears stuck to my face merely hours after the event.
I hope you enjoy my book event shenanigans!
On Tuesday 24th of November 2015, my Mum, my friend Sarah and I ventured back to Collins St, this time to meet Sarah J Maas at her Queen Of Shadows event.
After getting our names checked off the list of attendees, we were to choose a lolly as our signing token. These were to determine the groups in which we were to line up to get our books signed. We decided on Minties.
The event was held in the beautiful old Assembly Hall on Collins St, and
within the foyer the Dymocks staff had set up tables of pre-signed books that we could buy. So of course, Sarah and I bought a copy of A Court of Thorns and Roses, as it was the only book by Sarah J Maas we had yet to own.
We then headed upstairs to the top viewing area since the bottom floor was already full, and we began the wait for the event to start.
After waiting 15-20 minutes the event began, and Sarah J Maas came into the hall with the crowd cheering. Sarah J Maas was so down to earth, and she answered the Q&A questions so thoroughly.
The first question she was asked was “If you could go to lunch with any author, who would it be?” And her answer, like many other Harry Potter fans, was J.K Rowling. However, soon after telling us this, SJM realistically recounted how she imagined that meeting would go. Basically she imagined that she’d be so frozen in shock that she would start urinating on the spot. Being so extremely overwhelmed, she would just back away from the lunch table without saying a word. The fantasy got even crazier when she said that she’d probably be so out of it that she would walk out onto the road, and get hit by oncoming traffic. Throughout the rest of the Q&A, mixed with giggles, she brought up the idea of peeing in front of your favourite author.
One of the next questions she was asked was “Caelana has a stallion on her amulet, what animal would represent you?” The answer to this question was wild from start to finish. Firstly, she corrected the question by saying that the amulet actually depicts a stag, and she is basically 100% certain that hers would be a fiery velociraptor with a crown upon its head, as she loves Jurassic Park so much. She then continued by saying if she was apart of the Harry Potter world, her Patronas would also be a velociraptor.
SJM then began to talk about how she was wearing her Grandmother’s ring throughout the duration of the Australia/New Zealand tour, as her grandmother loves to travel and hasn’t yet been to these countries. SJM explained that this ring is incredibly important to her as it is her grandmother’s symbol of strength and empowerment. This really struck a chord with us, as Sarah’s (my friend) grandmother had passed away the week before, and she was also given a ring by her as a recent graduation present. This meant so much to us, and I’m so incredibly stunned by the coincidence.
A couple more questions were asked, some asking about time management and how she juggles writing multiple series at a time (The answer is one at a time, by the way). SJM also told a story about how in high school she was the president of the Lord of The Rings club and all she wanted to do was write fantasy. She spoken about the disbelief of peers, teachers and her parents about the reality of being a full time writer. In the end, she said “I know it’s cliche, but you have to follow your dreams and believe in yourself.”
And then, the Q&A was finished, and the signings began.
The three of us sat in our seats, nervously squishing up our minties just talking and patiently waiting to be called up.
We decided after about half an hour that we should head to the downstairs seating now that some people had left, so we could take some photos of the beautiful architecture and
pose for photo with the Celeana Sardothian cardboard cutout.
We then proceeded to fill in our time by eating fantales (if you’ve never eaten fantales before, you are missing out) and quizzing each other on the Who Am I? questions on the wrapper.
As the other signing groups were getting called up, my Mum suggested that I go sit in the front row of the seating area and take stalker photos of Sarah J Maas. Of course, I didn’t object.
Last but not least, the Minties were finally called out and the three of us hopped onto the end of the curvy line. Just to paint a picture, there were probably 7 people behind us in the line out of 300 people. So we really were the last people in the building.
We waited and waited and waited, and I got increasingly more nervous and was running on pure adrenaline. As we approached the signing table, Sarah’s cousin and publisher struck up a conversation with us about how exhausted everyone was, and @minimaaaas thought it was awesome that my friend Sarah shared her cousin’s name. Half way through the conversation, they offered us some of the salted almonds that they were eating and handed out some left over book swag to the remaining fans in line. Both Sarah & myself got a really awesome poster of QOS, with ACOTAR on the flip side.
Finally, we reached Sarah. And we talked about everything.
When I first started speaking to her, I was so incredibly nervous & I told her so straight away. She responded by telling me that I should not be nervous at all, as she has basically humiliated herself during the Q&A with all of her weird and wonderful stories. I spoke to her about how her accent reminds me of my best friend who also has an American accent, and how I missed her so much because she moved back to the US last year. She started talking about how awesome the Australian accents are, and she always felt that her accent is quite nasally. She continued to go on about how awesome Australia is, and she loves the food and how laid back we are.
Sarah spoke to SJM about how incredible the coincidence was between their grandmothers’ rings and the symbolism behind them. And SJM shared her condolences. When my Mum joined the conversation, SJM thanked her for bringing the two of us, as she really really appreciates parents that do show so much support for the children’s love of reading. At this point, our time with SJM was running out, and we spend the rest of it thanking her for this wonderful event and for taking the time to speak to us. She was very touched when I said “these events are everything to me.”
We then said our goodbyes and we headed over to the table that had SJM’s personal copy of the original publication of Throne of Glass that she takes to all of her events, and she gets the fans to sign it. This book was so incredibly stunning, and I wrote on page 75 and Sarah wrote on 76. My message read “Emma Tonkin x This is everything. Thank you! 24/11/15”
After taking more photos of the books and the cardboard cutout, we sat back down in the seating section and tried to collect ourselves while looking at our signed books.
As we started to get ready to leave the building, we saw that SJM was posing for a photo with the last group of fans in the signing line. And of course, being the people that we are, Sarah and I freaked out, and not so subtly ask SJM if we could have a photo. And she was so incredibly kind and agreed straight away.
I was so overwhelmed and almost started crying.
After we had our photo taken, she said to me “Oh my gosh, you are shaking! That’s so cute.” And then she hugged us both. Best day ever.
To top it all off, Sarah & her friends left the beautiful building with us and we all had a moment staring up at the star filled sky. Then we walked down part of Collins St together & we said our goodbyes.
My day had been made so many times, but one of my favourite parts was when we witnessed the victory dance performed by SJM and her publisher that involved lots of squealing and jumping to celebrate the end of a long day.
Until next time,