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Cassandra Clare Interview & Bibliography

The Mortal Instruments (in reading order)

The Infernal Devices (in reading order)

  • Clockwork Angel - reviewed by LoveVampires
  • Clockwork Prince (Summer 2011)
  • Clockwork Princess (Winter 2012)

LoveVampires Interview With Cassandra Clare

Cassandra Clare PictureCassandra Clare is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author of the YA urban fantasy series The Mortal Instruments. She is also the author of the upcoming steampunk trilogy The Infernal Devices. She lives in Western Massachusetts with her fiance and two cats.

Cassandra Clare on The Mortal Instruments

For those who don't know anything about the Mortal Instruments books, they are a series of YA fantasy novels set in New York City and are about a fifteen-year-old girl named Clary who stumbles on a secret world of demon-slayers who call themselves Shadowhunters. She falls in love with one of them, a boy named Jace, before finding out an awful secret about her past that makes their love impossible.

The Mortal Instruments was originally marketed as a trilogy but with a fourth book, City of Fallen Angels, due out in 2011 it’s now looking like a series. How did this change come about?

Actually, the Mortal Instruments was initially conceived of as a trilogy but not marketed as one — we marketed them with labels saying "book one, book two, book three" but tried to keep the word "trilogy" off them, so as to leave the option of more books open. The decision to continue the series came, actually, when I was asked to develop a spin-off of the story for a graphic novel company — the graphic novel project didn't come through, but I still had the storyline I had developed and I decided to turn that storyline into novels.

Will readers be seeing the continuing adventures of Clary and Jace in City of Fallen Angels, or will the focus of the story move onto other characters? 

City of Fallen Angels and the fifth and sixth books, City of Lost Souls and City of Heavenly Fire, are true sequels to the first three books and the focus is kept on Jace, Clary and Simon, as well as Isabelle, Magnus and Alec.

 City of Glass, the third Mortal Instruments book, seemed to be a fairly conclusive ending to the Mortal Instruments story. Would you have written the first three books differently if you’d known they were going to run for longer than a trilogy? 

I think in the back of my head I always knew there was the possibility that there might be more than three books. There are bits left dangling at the end of City of Glass — the question of Madam Dorothea's prophecy, the location of a certain character's body, the repercussions of Simon's "curse"  — that I chose not to tie up. Now I don't think you need to tie up every thread when a series is over, but if you choose to continue it, they can act as connectors to the next story.

How many books are now planned for The Mortal Instruments series? 


Your latest novel, Clockwork Angel, is the start of The Infernal Devices, a new prequel series to the Mortal Instruments. Why write a prequel?

Because I've always been fascinated with the Victorian era. One of the most exciting things about that time period was that it was really the beginning of what we think of as the modern, technological age, and people were fascinated by the development of technology — they were really starting to get the idea of how lives could be changed by it. I wanted to write about the Shadowhunters — who are themselves a very old-fashioned, hidebound warrior group for whom barely anything has changed since the Crusades — coming up against a villain whose threat isn't magical, but is technological, at a time when they themselves don't have the technology (Sensors, Trackers, phones) that they use now. How would they cope?

 What writing challenges did the historical, steampunk London setting give you?

Well, obviously, the issue of research — for six months I read only books written during, or set in, the Victorian period in England, London specifically. I hired a research assistant to help me find first-hand sources: journals kept at the time period, the travel accounts of tourists visiting England from America (since Tessa is American, in London for the first time, I wanted to have a sense of what her impressions would have been) and newspapers of the period. I travelled a lot, too, to London several times a year for the past two years, to map out routes and select locations. And then I also had to do research into the history of automatons - robots, really - and how long people have been struggling to make them (hundreds of years.) A great book called Edison's Eve was very helpful with that.

Clockwork Angel ends on a bit of a cliff-hanger. When will readers be able to catch up with Will and Tessa next? Can you give any hints about what adventures they’ll be facing next?

Will and Tessa will reappear in Clockwork Prince, which is scheduled for next September. It's a bit hard to talk about without giving away what happens in book 1, but basically they have to dig deep into the villain's past to try to figure out where he is and his next plan - and of course find themselves tangled up in all sorts of secrets, including the key to why Will acts the way he does and why Tessa has her mysterious power. And the romance between her and Jem and her and Will heats up.

Did you always set out to write fantasy novels for young adults or did your writing evolve into this from something else?

I just set out to write books. I found out after I wrote them that they were YA. It's a marketing category, that's all.

Do your characters ever surprise you? Do plot out exactly what is going to happen in your books and stick to the plan or do the characters have lives of their own that the direction of the story?

Sometimes they reveal things about themselves that I didn't initially realize. When I first wrote Alec's character, he was straight. As his character evolved, I realized that he always seemed to be angry about something and that he seemed to dislike Clary more than made sense. When I realized he was gay, I realized he was in love with Jace, and suddenly everything about him made more sense.

 As a writer which authors do you think have had the most influence on your work? 

It's so hard to pick only a few. All the classic writers of children's fantasy - Edward Eager, Susan Coper, Rowling, Lewis, E. Nesbit, Phillip Pullman — funny that so many of them are British!

What are you currently reading? 

Mockingjay, like everyone else.

Who is your favourite fictional vampire?

Spike from Buffy, most likely.

Nephilim, vampire, werewolf, mage or faery? If you had to choose which would you be?

Warlock — I could live forever but not have to drink blood!

A big "thank-you" to Cassandra Clare for taking part in the author interview. More information about Cassandra’s novels can be found on Cassandra Clare’s website.
30th August 2010

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