Sunday, August 29, 2010

Author Interview: Cassandra Clare

Hey guys, today we have a special treat for you! An interview with the author of The Mortal Instruments series, Cassandra Clare! Her new book, Clockwork Angel, is the start of a new series called The Infernal Devices, and it comes out on the 31st! Make sure to go out and buy it in a couple days, it's sure to be amazing!

1. How did you get started writing? When did you decide you wanted to be a writer?

I always loved reading. For all of my childhood I was always with a book in my hand. When I got to college, I minored in "composition" — there was no "creative writing" minor, so that was as close as I could get. At the time it was something I enjoyed doing and wanted to get better at, but I hadn't given thought to it as a career. It just seemed impractical — who could make money writing books? Everyone said it was impossible. I went into journalism after college, but my love of writing fiction caught up with me and I ended up writing City of Bones while also holding down a job as a copyeditor at a New York magazine.

2. What were you like as a teen? How did this affect your writing or you wanting to write, if at all?
Introverted, shy, like a lot of writers. I lived a lot in my head and in books. I did write when I was a teen — it's just that everything I wrote was pretty bad. Bad romance novels, bad vampire novels, bad historical novels — the works. I'm sure it was good practice though.

3. What writer do you look up to, or would be totally shocked and honored if your books and writing were compared to theirs?
Oh, the great urban fantasy writers of my teenage-hood — Ellen Kushner, Charles de Lint, Emma Bull.

4. How is your writing process different now, than from when you were first writing City of Bones?
These things become more fluid with practice. I'm used to the outlining and development process, so things go quicker.

5. Are there any people in real life that you’ve based a character off of?
Occasionally with truly hateful characters I start off by basing them on people I've disliked in real life. The problem is that as soon as I start giving them dimension and life and motivations, I start liking them more than the people in real life I based them off!

6. Which Clockwork Angel character was the most fun to write and why?
Will was a lot of fun to write because his character keeps so many secrets — so much of what he does is a pretense, that it's like creating a character within another character. You only see his real self peeking out some of the time.

7. Which Clockwork Angel character is most like you, if any?
Oy. Probably Charlotte. I relate to her feeling that she needs to prove herself, and her self-recrimination when things go wrong. I also relate to her desire to save things — I'm always rescuing mice in shoeboxes and that sort of thing.

8. Which Clockwork Angel character would you like as your best friend, and why?
Perhaps Sophie. She's very loyal and defensive of the ones she cares about.

9. Are you Team Jem or Team Will? Or (like I’m guessing we’ll be) do you not care and just love the Magnus parts?
Fond as I am of Magnus, I love Jem and Will just as much. I can't really *have* a team — there's no point rooting for a game you know the outcome of! I'll just say I love both boys. I know with Will, making him as unlikeable as he is in the end of Angel, I'm playing a risky game. Everyone could wind up Team Jem just because Will's such a jerk. But I'm hoping that events in the second book will put things on a more even keel. This is absolutely not the story of a girl who reforms a bad boy and makes him good through her love. This is a story about the masks we wear, the pretenses we put on to protect those we love, and about the shifting nature of identity. Will and Jem and much more complicated than just "the nice one and the bad boy." I hope to show that in the second book.

10. Who do you think has the most problems in their love life in City of Fallen Angels? What couples or characters don’t have major love life problems in City of Fallen Angels?
Probably Jace and Clary have the most, or biggest problem. The only couple for whom its fairly smooth sailing is Jocelyn and Luke.

11. Which pair of lovers in City of Fallen Angels do you like the most as a couple? Or if you were one of your readers, which couple would you be rooting for to stay together no matter what?
I don't have personal favorites, but one thing I think is interesting is that I can never predict fan reaction. I knew people would root for Clary and Jace and not for Simon, but I had no idea there would be so many people invested in Magnus and Alec. And people do seem really interested to see where Simon's love life goes now, though I have to say it's really a mess at the beginning of CoFA.

12. Do you think that people will be really surprised with Clockwork Angel or City of Fallen Angels, if so, why?
I don't think people are going to go into Clockwork Angel with that many preconcieved notions, because it's the first book in a series. They're more likely to be surprised by developments in Fallen Angels, because things do get very dark.

13. How many characters from Clockwork Angel will we see in City of Fallen Angels, or have we seen any of them (besides Magnus) in any of The Mortal Instruments books?
You haven't seen them, but you've heard them referred to — Camille, for instance and Ragnor Fell. As for characters from Clockwork showing up in CoFA I can think of two off the top of my head.

14. Are any of the characters in Clockwork Angel at all like the ones in TMI?
Yes and no. A lot of people are reading Will as Jace. That isn't surprising, as they are 1) obviously blood related and 2) share a similar sense of humor and a way of using humor as a deflector against real feelings. I think of Will as almost a commentary on Jace's character, but that will be more clear in book two, when you learn there are ways in which they absolutely aren't alike at all. Tessa is very unlike Clary — where Clary is a visual person, Tessa's a word person; where Clary never thinks before she acts, Tessa deliberates; Tessa's views on the role of women in society would be puzzling to a modern girl like Clary. I've seen people compare Jem to Alec, and while I understand the desire to map characters you know onto new characters, I think that's a huge stretch. Alec was nasty to Clary from the moment he met her because he was jealous; he was in love with Jace, and was deeply shy and insecure. Jem is neither shy, nor insecure, nor ever rude to Tessa, because he's romantically interested in her himself.

15. If you could describe Clockwork Angel in 3 words, what would they be?
Romantic, steampunk, adventure.

16. What song(s) describe Clockwork Angel?
I have a whole playlist — I guess I'll pick two off it: 'The One I Love" by Greg Laswell, and London, 1888 by Momus.

17. What is one thing readers should pay attention to in Clockwork Angel?
The details of the stories about Will's childhood and his family.

18. In the end, what is one thing that you want your readers to take away from Clockwork Angel?
Things aren't always what they seem.

19. Okay, now a writing/publishing/Mortal Instruments question. Who was the first person to read City of Bones, and how did they help you with the writing process and your journey to getting published?
Probably the first person to read City of Bones was my friend Holly Black. She actually recommended the book to her agent, and he signed me on after reading the first ten chapters.

20. After you’re all done with Clary and Jace, and Will and Jem, (We know that’s a long time from now) what do you think will be your next project? Are you working on anything else right now?
I'm hoping to work on a modern-day comic take on Pride and Prejudice with a co-author. We both really want to work on it and just don't have time.

Anything else? Anything we forgot?
At almost thirty questions, no, I think that was pretty thorough!

*side note: This was 30 questions, but we shortened it for your reading pleasure :) and the City of Fallen Angels cover is not the offical one. But it's pretty!

We hope you loved her interview as much as we did! And make sure to go get Clockwork Angel when it comes out on the 31st! Also, City of Fallen Angels, the fourth book in The Mortal Instruments series comes out in April 2011, keep your eyes peeled for that!

xoxo and love always,

Shelbie and Amanda


  1. Awesome interview! :) Great job! I can't wait for Clockwork Angel & City of Fallen Angels! Gonna be soooo goood! :)

  2. i love the 17th and 18th questions the most. now i will pay attention and not judge before the time comes

    thanks for the interview!

  3. Love this interview. :)

  4. Love love love this! Thank you :)

  5. This is a fantastic, informative interview - OMG can't wait to pick up my book tomorrow!! I think I'm going to be Team Jem he sounds so intriguing:)
    Thanks again, loved this:)

  6. Great! Thank you for a very entertaining interview n_n
    I hope these books keep on getting published in Mexico.

  7. We have translated in italian your interview on our site. Amazing and funny work! Thanks

  8. Great Interview!!! Can't wait to read Clockwork Angel :D

  9. this was a great interview! cant wait for those books to come out! ill gonna love them both!

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