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Author Interviews
September 7, 2010 posted by Christina

Author Interview – Cassandra Clare

It’s not every day you get to chat with one of the biggest names in young adult fiction, but we did just that when we spoke to Cassandra Clare.

Her new novel, Clockwork Angel, is the first in the Infernal Devices series and prequel to The Mortal Instruments.

Set in Victorian England, the story follows sixteen-year-old orphan Tessa Gray, whose quiet life is thrown into turmoil when she discovers the secret world of the Shadowhunters as well as her own new shapeshifting abilities. As she draws deeper into their world, she finds herself fascinated and torn between two best friends – Will and Jem, and quickly realizes that love may be the most dangerous magic of all.

Since the success of The Mortal Instruments how has your life changed? Do you get recognized out on the street?

That had never happened! Most people haven’t the faintest idea what writers look like. Only once, when I was in Ireland, did a stranger recognize me. I was on TV there talking about literacy and gothic literature for children. When I got to the airport in Dublin to fly home the woman who patted me down said “I know who you are, you were on TV! You are a writer!”

You’ve taken to twitter like a fish to water, which as fans, we really love and appreciate – what is it about it that you like?

Ironically I swore up and down forever that I would NEVER go on Twitter, that it would just suck all my time and I’d never get anything done. Then I found out someone was impersonating me on Twitter — pretending to be me and answering reader questions and the like. I was furious — they’d even replied to messages from my boyfriend as if they were me — so I had to create a “No, THIS is me” Twitter account. And of course I immediately got addicted. It’s such a quick way to get news out, and a great way to network and meet new people without the effort of writing a whole blog post.

Crunchy or smooth peanut butter?

Smooth.

The Mortal Instruments series was set in New York why did you opt to set the Infernal Devices in London?

Because London is one of my favorite cities — and why work so hard creating a demon-fighting force that spans the globe if you’re not going to visit new locations? Also, the first inkling of the book came to me in London — I was crossing Blackfriars Bridge and I had this sudden strong image in my head of a girl and a boy, in the period costume of the mid-Victorian era, standing on the bridge at night — and from one end of the bridge, unseen by them, was an army of clockwork creatures approaching. It was very creepy and I knew immediately it was historical, and that it would be set in my favorite London period, the mid-Victorian era.

What research did you do for the Victorian setting?

For six months I read only books written during, or written about, the Victorian period. I did a lot of reading of 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) and newspapers of the period. I also employed a research assistant — Lisa Gold — to track down hard to find photographs of locations in the time period, and went to London several times myself to map out routes and select locations.

There’s a lot of dialogue about the Accords – they seem to take on more significance in this series than in Mortal Instruments?

That’s because in the Mortal Instruments the Accords have been around for a hundred years, while in the ID books they’re new. The Accords are a fact of life for the Shadowhunters in MI, but in ID they’ve changed everything — the new generation is embracing them, but the older generation of Shadowhunters hates them. In fact, the older generation of Downworlders doesn’t like them all that much. You can draw a parallel with any sort of progressive civil rights movement — it usually takes people a while to catch up and do the right thing.

*** Spoilers Ahead ***

Due to their line of work, Shdowhunters tend to live shorter lives while most Downworlders, such as warlocks and vampires, can live for a very long time. It seems that Tessa is set for some lonely years ahead?

You mean because both of her love interests are mortal? Well, there has to be a downside to immortality, doesn’t there? And besides, who knows what’s going to happen in the next two books . . .

When shape shifted into a vampire Tessa’s heart stopped beating and her skin felt cold. If she were to shift into a Shadowhunter would she gain some of their abilities too? Could she draw a rune?

Not without reading the Gray Book. She’d be a Shadowhunter, but she wouldn’t have their knowledge, just like when she becomes Camille, she doesn’t immediately know everything about vampires.

It looks like certain personality traits are inherited, how would a meeting between Will and Jace go down? Battle of wits?

Yes, they would probably both instantly hate each other and try to out-sarcasm the other one.

In some earlier blurbs Tessa’s last name is Fell but now it’s Gray, did it have anything to do with Ragnor Fell?

Oh, character names change all the time. Remember those earlier blurbs date from a time when City of Glass wasn’t finished, so Ragnor Fell wasn’t Ragnor Fell. He had some other last name. When I settled on Fell for him, I changed Tessa’s last name so no one would think there was a connection. Also there’s a reason her last name is so close to Clary’s false last name, Fray.

If you could spend the day with one of your characters (TMI or ID) which would it be?

Magnus— he seems like he’d be fun to shop with.

Though I’m sure for the most part your lips are sealed, what can you tell us about the next book Clockwork Prince?

I can tell you that the secret to Will’s bizarre behavior will be revealed; that we will meet Gabriel Lightwood’s older brother (the one who’s reportedly even grouchier than he is) and that by the end of the book at least one character we know has gotten engaged.

Character Q’s  – We get a little cameo appearance from some of the amazing new characters from Clockwork Angel.

Tessa, we spot you at the end of City of Glass, what was it like seeing the descendants of people you were very close to?

Tessa: I’ll just say that seeing Jace was a bit like seeing a ghost.

Jem, you’re rocking the silver hair which is unusual for someone of your age, do you think you’ll bring it back in fashion?

Jem: I wouldn’t mind if my hair color was a bit less unusual, as I dislike being a curiosity, but I’d hate to have people repeat the experience that made my hair look like it does.

Will, you’re quite a mysterious person and in a way, I’m not sure what to ask, I’m kind of speechless. Do you find you have that affect on people often?

Will: It’s quite natural to have the urge to fall down and worship me as a sort of god. Feel free to go about it. I won’t even notice.

How’s everyone feel about Church moving in?

Jem: He’s a fine little cat.

Tessa: He does tend to come up upon one at unnerving times. He’s made me jump into the air several times.

Will: That’s nothing, I found him staring at me in the bath the other day. Of course, given the chance, who wouldn’t?

Jessamine: We have a cat?

Charlotte: He certainly is an unusual cat. I’d like the Silent Brothers to look at him.

Henry: I could dissect him.

Everyone else: NO.

Ah Will, always a flirt. A big thank you to Cassandra Clare!
Make sure you gets your hands on a copy today, Clockwork Angel is available in store and online now at all good book stores.

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1 Comment

  • LOL! Seems like Will can charm the pants off of you without even trying!

    Fantastic interview!

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