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‘Incredible’ Scotland is the inspiration for my bestselling books, says lead author

‘Incredible’ Scotland is the inspiration for my bestselling books, says lead author

By John Paul Breslin for the Scottish Mail On Sunday

21:58 June 1, 2024, updated 21:58 June 1, 2024

  • The astonishing secret of the writer responsible for the publisher’s record £343m sales



His books helped Harry Potter publisher Bloomsbury reap record profits and fuel the hugely popular “romance” subgenre.

But while the stories created by American author Sarah J Maas may be set in fictional worlds of humans and fairies, her work takes inspiration from the famous Scottish landscape.

Bloomsbury – the publisher best known for JK Rowling’s Harry Potter books – has just posted a 57 per cent rise in profits, raking in £49 million.

When talking about this lucrative period, Bloomsbury managing director Nigel Newton had one name in mind: Sarah J Maas.

Mr Newton said the 38-year-old’s fantasy romance series, Throne of Glass and A Court of Thorns and Roses, had been flying off the shelves as readers were “addicted” to his books.

The books created by American author Sarah J Maas may be set in fictional worlds, but her work takes inspiration from the famous Scottish landscape.

So, you might ask, where does Scotland fit into all this?

Ms. Maas’s first book – Throne of Glass – was published in 2012 and was the beginning of a body of work that has expanded into several series.

Along the way, she had the opportunity to travel the world. And one destination was at the top of his list. In a 2014 tweet, New York-born Ms Maas shared her excitement ahead of a holiday to Scotland, including the Isle of Skye, and said she would use the time to conduct research for her second series fantasy, A Court of Thorns and Roses.

She wrote: “I’m so excited to spend a few days on the Isle of Skye. The dream becomes reality.’

During her time there, she enthused: “When I die, I want my ashes to be scattered on the Isle of Skye. I think I’ve been looking for this place my whole life.

“I literally started crying at one viewpoint today because I was so overwhelmed by its beauty and size. I never want to leave. It’s as if the earth is singing to me.

Sarah at Doune Castle, inspired by Scottish places
Best-selling author Sarah J. Maas’ fantasy and romance series, Throne of Glass and A Court of Thorns and Roses, have been flying off the shelves.

In a later post, Ms Maas shared a dramatic image from the peaks of Aonach Dubh, Beinn Fhada and Gearr Aonach, in Glencoe, and made no secret of its influence on her work.

Alongside the photo, she said a weekend spent editing gave her “an excuse to look at all my photos from my trip to Scotland last year (since some areas of the book were inspired by the terrain) “.

Some of his writings also refer to the “Picts” – surely a nod to the ancient people of the same name who lived in what is now eastern and north-eastern Scotland.

Years later, the author and her husband Josh Wasserman visited Edinburgh with their infant son Taran.

After sharing a photo of the elaborate gates of the Palace of Holyroodhouse, some fans were quick to make a connection between it and the setting of her novels known as the Night Court. She also spoke about her love of time travel books and the Outlander TV series – which are set in Scotland – and visited Doune Castle in Perthshire, which stands in for the show’s fictional Leoch Castle .

An image from the time shows her jumping in the air in front of the castle.

The one question that must surely be on the minds of fans and real estate agents who deal with property sales to the world’s rich and famous is: will she ever make Scotland her home?

If, as she says, the earth “sings” to her, perhaps she will answer the call.