Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Interview - Cassandra Clare


Below is an interview that was held a few weeks back. Don't worry about spoilers because at this point I hadn't read the book and Cassie is insightful without ruining the events of City of Glass. The book will be in stores as of March 24th and it's fantastic (my review will be posted tomorrow.

There are some extraordinary people with many gifts in this series. Luke was someone who grabbed my interest from the start and held tight. Which character have you found to have had the biggest impact on your readership?
Jace, which I expected. What I didn't expect was that there are almost as many readers who love Alec. I get a lot of great letters from teens, and older readers, saying how much they like finding a gay character in an epic fantasy whose gayness is just part of his character, not the whole focus of it — he's a skilled demon slayer and action hero, who just happens to be gay. I get those letters from gay teens and also straight ones, which is really great.

What inspired you to have a relationship hampered by possible shared DNA?
A newspaper article — I mean, real life is where so many of these ideas come from. It was about two people who had met and fallen in love, and while they were preparing for the wedding, they discovered that they were in fact brother and sister, separated and adopted out to different families. I thought that had all the elements of classic Greek tragedy, which is irresistible to writers!

What would you like people to take away from the Mortal Instruments series at its conclusion?
Well, primarily I just want them to have a fabulous time reading it! I think there are also themes in the books about family and what it means, and about making choices about who you are and who you want to be.

Simon is a character that has morphed from being a great friend and an ordinary person to becoming an extraordinary vampire. What has it been like to flesh out his character arc over the series?
So much fun! I love Simon. He was always meant to become a vampire, but when it came time to write those scenes I felt a sense of sadness. Losing sweet, smart human Simon was a real loss, but I felt like it had to happen. Having a mundane like Simon hanging around the Shadowhunter world, taking part in the fighting and the danger, and not being changed or affected, fails to underscore how dangerous Downworld is. I had to show -why- the Shadowhunters keep their world and what they do secret from mundanes. There had to be consequences not just for Simon's involvement in this world, but also Clary's. There's also the fact that given that we find that Clary and Jace are both fairly powerful by the time City of Glass rolls around, Simon had to acquire some power of his own, or be reduced to being something of a redundant burden. One does mourn the loss of the human Simon, but then you're supposed to -- it underscores that he's not just changed, he's *died*, and that's a loss, but I hope it's offset by the much more central role he can now take in events in City of Glass.

Clary is a strong, intelligent female protagonist with moxie a-plenty, what/who inspired you with the creation of this character?
Clary Fray is based in part on a friend of mine — a girl who is also an artist (she actually did a lot of the character drawings on my website) and who is an incredibly tiny person who is also incredibly tough.And Clary is tough, though she isn't really all that much of a physical fighter — she will fight when she has to, but she hasn't been trained and isn't particularly skilled. Her power comes from her creativity and her toughness and will are interior — there are scenes in City of Glass where she literally wants to lie down and die but she won't let herself. I suppose I wanted to write a girl who was tough and strong in a slightly different way.

Infernal Devices is your next project, what have you done to acquaint yourself with Victorian England?
For the past six months, I have read only books that are set in Victorian times – not just London, because the books also visit Paris and New York and Shanghai — are about Victorian times, or were written either during the Victorian era or just before (Tessa, the main character, is a reader, so I wanted to acquaint myself with what she'd be reading.) I've visited London twice, and mapped out the areas where the action takes place, found a location for the Institute and walked around it to see what's just in the neighborhood, and taken tons of photos for reference purposes. Obviously London has changed quite a bit since 1878 but I wanted to know things like "Can you see St. Paul's from this bridge?" (You can.)

If you had the choice; vampire (with Simon sun skills), werewolf or Shadowhunter?
Shadowhunter. I'm actually really grossed out by blood and I think the turning into a werewolf thing would grate on me after a while.

Thank you so much to Cassie for allowing me to interview her on top of the reader's snapshot. Also a big thanks to Juliet - The Walker Books Gem - who faciliated all this week. Check out the contest to win one of two copies of CoG here.

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