Happy May, everyone! Cassie is once again very active on her tumblr and she is answering a lot of questions about her different book series. Today she shared a new snippet from The Last Hours and I have to say that I am a bit worried.
He might be Cordelia’s brother, but she did not like him above half.
Moreover, at the present moment, he presented the appearance of a lunatic. Beneath his unbuttoned coat his waistcoat was disarranged, and one side of his high wingtip collar was dreadfully askew. His improbably light hair was out of its usual careful shape, pomaded strands going wildly in all directions and glittering electric bright under an arc lamp. On Percy Street, the street lights were older and less reliable, their fierce yellow burn stripping them all down to harsh lines.
“You’ve lost your hat, Alastair,” said Lucie.
Alastair said: “I have lost my sister!”
Lucie went cold. “What do you mean? Has something happened to Cordelia?”
Where is Cordy? I hope she is okay!
I also gathered Cassie’s answers to her readers’ questions about Alastair, Barbara and Eugenia as well as Anna and Matthew’s dog. 🙂
can you tell us something about lucie and alastair’s relationship? i mean, Alastair is the brother of lucie’s parabatai and also is super mean to james and his friends, how does she feel about him?
C: Lucie adores Cordelia, and she doesn’t know everything that happened in Shadowhunter Academy–James didn’t want to upset or scare her, and James’s friends actually have varying views on what went down at the Academy, plus Matthew and Christopher both got in trouble for blowing up part of the school and were in disgrace. Nevertheless, she is not overly fond of Alastair. He always avoided the Herondales when they visited, so none of them know him well. Will basically had to shout: “Alastair, lovely to see you, I definitely see a resemblance to–nope, he’s gone.”
The Herondale kids always got the impression of him as older and standoffish, and only get to know him better through enforced proximity in TLH! Lucie plots to give the Beautiful Cordelia an irritating brother to add to her travails, as a form of literary punishment.
Is there anything more you can tell us about Barbara and Eugenia? I hope they’ll be in the books some!
C: They will be in the books some, though there are so many characters in TLH I that have to be careful with all of them–just as in TDA, where having a big family with complicated relationships is fun but sometimes tricky to write, in TLH the issue is several interconnected families and lots of characters. There is also the fact these are YA books, and Barbara and Eugenia are in their 20s. While they certainly have stories, they’re not YA stories (and it isn’t as if literature is exactly lacking the stories of pretty young white straight women in their 20′s — they abound!)
Like Tessa being the heroine of TID and not Charlotte, these are YA books so they focus on YA heroines. Plus in those days, being in your 20s often meant being more settled in life. Both Barbara and Charles are engaged to be married (to other people, not to each other) and have plans for their lives–just as Charlotte and Henry were married before the books began–whereas with the slightly younger folk, all bets are off and many possibilities are open. So we often see them through the lens of their relationship to those who are teens: Barbara and Eugenia in relation to Thomas, and Charles in relation to Matthew–who rebels against his brother–and to Alastair, who wants to be more like Charles.
Being in the books more also means having more problems, for every character! Mo’ story, mo’ problems. Barbara and Eugenia both want and are happy with a way of life that fits in with the mores of the time and with Shadowhunter society. Eugenia makes friends with Grace, who also presents as a conventional and well-behaved young lady–though Grace is, of course, not all she seems. I find it fascinating to explore the feelings of women who struggle against the limits of what is offered to them by society in 1900s England – Anna, who is determined to be open about her sexuality and her expression of it, Cordelia who is half Persian and refuses to be made ashamed of her family or heritage, Lucie who has demonic blood and wants to be a professional writer but is discouraged because of her gender: Lucie and Cordelia, wanting to be each other’s parabatai when warrior pairs at that time do not often involve two women. Stories that more often go untold than told and which offer a ton of conflict — as writers, I think we are drawn to those! 🙂
Has Matthew’s dog taken a particular liking or disliking to any of his friends?
C: Oscar Wilde goes where Matthew’s heart goes, so he loves James the best, but he likes all of Matthew’s friends, and will go to each of them when he senses they are in distress! (x)
I was wondering, does Lucie have some sort of power she gets from Tessa like James does (his shadow abilities)? Also I adore your books and thank you to all the time you devote to us, we really appreciate it!
C: Is my pleasure! Lucie does indeed have a power… one that nobody knows about… and it is in some ways a scarier power than James’s. 😉 (x)
About that Cast Long Shadows snippet… why is Alastair friends with Charles if he thinks the Fairchild family is so improper? Will it be addressed in CLS or TLH if addressed at all?
C: Alastair doesn’t know Charles until well after CLS. Charles actually heads out to Paris to serve as interim head of the Paris Institute at the end of Every Exquisite Thing, the next story–both CLS and EET are set during the year of 1901. 1902 is Alastair’s training year, which he spends in Paris because he and Cordelia were happy there as kids, and 1902 is when he and Charles get acquainted.
Alastair doesn’t really care about families being improper as much as he’s pretending he does. What he was doing in the CLS snippet was lashing out at Matthew, repeating a rumor he knew would sting. Alastair didn’t make it up, as he says “Everybody knows” —this is something he’s heard from adults and thinks may well be true, though of course Alastair is not a Love Detective, and he can’t know for sure. Alastair doesn’t know any of the people involved, except for Matthew and Thomas—and Alastair and Matthew dislike each other very much, with the results we’ve seen, and more results to come. Of course, nobody should say anything massively hurtful like that (true or not) to anyone, no matter how much they dislike them! Alastair’s going to be very sorry he did. Indeed, he’s sorry immediately after he says it. For reasons.
Charles, of course, would be furious if anyone spoke ill of his mother, and Alastair doesn’t do so once he meets Charles. They’re both somewhat cut off from their families in Paris, and able to be friends without their families being involved. But of course matters get very complicated very quickly in 1903, when the Last Hours takes place… starting with Cordelia and Alastair arriving in London under a cloud of disgrace, where all the Lightwoods, all the Herondales and all the Fairchilds are waiting… and Matthew is still mad.
I love your job and I love you. My question is about the CLS snippet, what do you think about all those people who say that Alastairs can’t be a bad person because he is a Carstairs?
C: I also love my job. 🙂
I believe people just mean they love Jem and Emma, which I appreciate very much! Both the major Carstairs characters we’ve had so far are good eggs I think. But of course we all know that people in families can be very different from each other. Alec Lightwood is not a lot like Benedict Lightwood. Jace, Kit and Will Herondale are I hope pretty great (if sarcastic) people, but Stephen and Imogen Herondale, while not all bad, certainly weren’t good. Tessa doesn’t greatly resemble Aloysius Starkweather.
Families can have individuals with similarities to each other besides the physical, though. Kit is asked, ‘What kind of Herondale do you want to be?’ referring to traits supposed to run in his family. Bridget and Isabelle both remark that the Lightwoods are notably sexy. 😉 And there’s the question of nature vs nurture–who brings you up influences you immensely. As for the Carstairs family, who can say? Speaking of the Carstairs’ moral character, we don’t really know what kind of man Elias Carstairs is, though we will.
I think there’s also a certain weight to the fact that in 1903, Cordelia and Alastair are the sole Carstairs representatives in their generation, because while his friends have grown up and had kids of their own, Jem as a Silent Brother can’t, and since we love Jem we look to and worry about the Carstairs legacy. We look to them for connections to Jem (Alastair rejects him, Cordelia loves him but hasn’t had the chance to know him quite as well as the Herondales, though Jem sees her whenever he can) and for resemblances to Jem, who is in some ways lost. I’d say Alastair shares Jem’s love of music, while Cordelia is more like Jem in her unshakable loyalty–”a steady flame.” Alastair could be bad, he could be good, and—as most people are—he could be something in between. Depends on the choices he makes in TLH! (x)
Since TDA and TLH parallel each other like TMI to TID, how much will the fae be involved in TLH? They’ve fascinated me in TDA, so I was wondering will we see how the fae were viewed in the Edwardian era? We’ll see some in ‘Cast Long Shadows’ (Theory: Matthew falls for a fae).
C: I would say The Last Hours is necessarily quite a lot about warlocks, since Tessa is one, and our main characters James and Lucie have to negotiate the very tricky business of being the only Shadowhunters with warlock–and thus demon–blood in all the world. I do try to show depth in all my characters, and one way to show depth is by showing people at different stages of their lives, showing the choices and mistakes they make, and how they become the people they are–whether they be faerie, warlock, Shadowhunter, werewolf or mundane. The TLH main characters have grown up with stories of Magnus, told to James and Lucie by Will and to Matthew by Henry, so Magnus is like a story to them, but they’ve never met him, even though they really want to. Malcolm, a major antagonist in TDA, is in TLH… and he isn’t a villain, but a sympathetic character, Magnus’s friend, who does not yet know the secret of Annabel’s fate which will lead him down such a dark and terrible path. Hypatia Vex is also in TLH, as an arbiter of Downworld society. At the same time, there’s plenty about faeries, werewolves and vampires: at one point in TLH we have Anna, Matthew and Cordelia in a room trying to gather information with four warlocks, one vampire and one faerie (all of whom we’ve met already), which sounds like a Shadow World game of Clue! As you know, we will be seeing Woolsey Scott again. Matthew does have a fateful run-in with a faerie and we do see how all Downworlders are viewed in 1903.
TLH is the penultimate series in order of publication, and that means I’m really aware of both TDA directly behind, and TWP before us, and how the Downworlders and Shadowhunters in each series work together or fall apart. As we go into the endgame series, The Wicked Powers, we’re looking at the world of the Shadowhunters and Downworlders expanding, evolving, and heading toward crisis. (x)
just wanted to ask you if Anna’s secret lover is someone we have heard of or just a random new character.
C: Anna had a first love that didn’t go well, but not a “secret lover” really. I don’t believe we do know who she will be, but we’ll find out soon enough in Every Exquisite Thing, and she certainly is a character in TLH (though admittedly I haven’t described/publicly named every character yet.)
Can you tell us more about how the relationship is between Anna and her parents (Gabriel and Cecily)?
C: I can promise that Every Exquisite Thing is very much about that. It’s not just about Anna’s first love, but about her identity and what it means for her in terms of her family and her place in it. (x)
What do you think of the snippet and who is your favourite character right now?
You can read about Matthew Fairchild and Anna Lightwood in the next two Ghosts of the Shadow Market short stories!
The first book in Cassie’s The Last Hours trilogy – Chain of Gold – is tentatively scheduled for 2019.