Last Wednesday Cassandra Clare and Holly Black kicked off their “The King and Queen Tour” in London to promote their books Queen of Air and Darkness and The Wicked King respectively so I flew over to meet these amazing ladies, get my books signed and listen to their Q&A. The event was once again at the beautiful St. James’s Church Piccadilly which some fans might remember from two previous tours (August 2017 and July 2013).
Holly and Cassie didn’t have a moderator this time so Holly asked Cassie some questions before it was the audience’s turn. The whole talk lasted for an hour so let’s dive right into the recap:
Holly was so happy to be on tour with Cassie with both of them promoting books about faeries: “For many many years she had a lot of mocking things to say about faeries but she has succumbed to their charms.”
Cassie always thought that they were annoying and didn’t like the way they speak. She actually made fun of Holly but then The Dark Artifices happened.
Holly made a lot of fun of Cassie afterwards.
They also read the same books for their faerie books so there are some similarities between faeries from The Shadowhunter Chronicles and Holly’s faeries.
This stemmed from reading about this new kind of faeries – faeries in the modern world – when they were both teenagers. This was the first introduction to “the idea of melding the ancient mythology of faeries into modern day.”
Cassie then told us that one of her friends recommended Holly’s first book Tithe to her because there was Star Trek fanfiction in it (which Cassie has actually never watched) and she thought Cassie might like it because she was (and still is) a big nerd.
Cassie: “No one told her that you shouldn’t go out with strangers you just met at a book signing because they might be murderers so I was like ‘Hey, I’m a big fan of your new book. You wanna go hang out?`”
Holly: “She told me about this book she was working on. I think you had written like zero words -”
Cassie: “I had written zero words of City of Bones but I had a title!”
Back then Holly told her to write the book because it sounded good and more than 16 years later they are now on tour together 😀
Cassie wasn’t sure whether people would like Julian because he was so different from Jace or Will. He makes some questionable moral decisions but Cassie loves him because “he’s been pushed into an impossible situation and he’s forced to make these very difficult decisions and often where you get moral ambiguity it’s a situation where there are no good choices […] and I think it’s fascinating to see in those situations what a character does and what does that tell you about that person? I think of all the characters I’ve written, Julian could have gone to the dark side […] because he was literally willing to do anything to protect his family. It was interesting pushing him all the way up to that line. I think when people sympathise with him it makes me very happy because we don’t just sympathise with characters that are perfect and make perfect decisions. We sympathise with people who are put into difficult positions because we’re all put into difficult positions. We all have to make difficult decisions and we sympathise with characters who make mistakes because who among us has never made a mistake? It makes me feel happy when people like him because it’s an empathic feeling and I appreciate that. Also, who doesn’t like a guy who paints?”
Holly chimed in and said that as a reader she loves characters who make mistakes.
A fan then asked about a rumour that they had read on the Internet a few years ago whether Alec really was based on a childhood friend of Cassie’s.
“That’s true. See, an actually true Internet rumour! [lots of laughter] It’s actually not a happy story. I had a friend in middle school and high school and we loved science fiction and fantasy books. We loved the same kind of movies and he would often say to me that he couldn’t find characters like him in the books he liked to read because he was gay. […] He wanted to read books that had characters who were gay that were also magicians or badass demon hunters […] and he wasn’t finding himself in any of these books. And later he actually killed himself. He did not want to come out to his parents and in the time that when we were growing up, the idea that you were gay was that you would die of AIDS. That’s what he believed that was his future and it was awful. It was one of the first big, big losses of my life to lose this very close friend. So when I thought of Alec, I thought of him [Cassie’s friend] and what kind of character would he have liked to read? How can I make a character that would be a character that would have made him happy when he was a teenager? Not a happy story, but it’s true.”
The Lost World is actually told from the point of view of Livvy’s ghost who is looking in on her brother at the Scholomance. She’s like Ty’s roommate and worries that Ty might not make other friends because she’s around.
Livvy also travels to Devon to talk to Kit but the further she is away from Ty, the weaker she becomes. Livvy is “attached to him in a magical way.” It is quite a spooky story which isn’t surprising because Cassie wrote it with Kelly Link who loves a ghost story.
In The Wicked Powers Idris is warded off from the rest of the world and no one knows what’s happening there, but Livvy is able to go through the wards.
Holly also mentioned that they have to write for their readers selves and not their writer selves. If what they are writing makes them happy, it will most likely also make the readers happy.
The fan asked about finding the balance between what teenagers want to read – that doesn’t always contain what their parents want them to read – while also telling an ethical story that might include, for example, abuse in a relationship without saying something about it in a judgmental manner.
Cassie: “You want to avoid didacticism, lecturing your reader and it’s important to give them the space to question things. A depiction of something is not an endorsement and that’s important to remember when you’re reading something. Good writing will give you to space to question whether something is good or bad.”
More about the 10th anniversary edition in our interview with Cassie. 😀
Cassie and Holly were very pleased with some reactions to the final Magisterium book. “Why are these people so mean? Why would they end a book like that?”
Cassie also briefly talked about Jaime’s tattoo (La sangre sin fuego hierve) and how it refers to his bad temper. He’s worked hard to control that aspect of himself. We’ll definitely get to know Jaime a lot better in The Wicked Powers because he’s going to be friends with Dru.
Magnus and Alec are an established couple in the present books. They adopted two children and Alec has become a confident leader so it was fun for Cassie to revisit a time period where Magnus and Alec were both insecure about each other. She loved going back and thinks it’ll be fun for people to read about Malec.
The Red Scrolls of Magic was a very pleasurable book to write 😀
Cassie was living in London in 2014 when she wrote the first 50,000 words of Chain of Gold and then she had to put it aside to work on The Dark Artifices because the publisher didn’t want to split the books.
It was a great moment to return working on Chain of Gold and she really enjoyed it.
Half of Forever Fallen is told from Thule Jace’s point of view and we’ll also find out a bit about Ash’s powers and what plans ‘Jace’ has for him in the future.
The Lost World is about Ty and Forever Fallen about Kit so readers will see what happened to them after Queen of Air and Darkness.
So that’s it. After the Q&A part of the evening was over we all got our books signed and then we had to say goodbye. 😦
As always I had an absolutely amazing time and want to thank Cassie, Holly, Simon & Schuster UK, Fritha, Waterstones Piccadilly and the staff at St. James’s Church Piccadilly for such a fantastic event. ♥ Until next time!