This past Saturday Cassandra Clare sat down to do a video chat with Fae Crate, a YA book subscription box, to answer questions and she talked about her upcoming releases The Lost Book of White and Sword Catcher. You can watch the whole video below but I’ve also written down the most important bits that Cassie has shared. The chat was really amazing and all the new information about her first adult high fantasy novel makes me even more excited for Sword Catcher! 😀
Topics that were talked about (please note that the order isn’t completely chronological):
- Cassie is currently working on Chain of Iron edits (“Will does fight a very weird demon in Chain of Iron“), the first draft of Sword Catcher and she just finished the last check over for The Lost Book of the White.
- What are Cassie’s characters doing during this pandemic? The New York gang is staying inside and if they are not training, they are probably ordering Chinese food. Julian is most likely painting while the rest is spending time on the beach.
Cassie researched plagues for Chain of Gold and she learned that global co-operation is key.
- What costume would the characters wear for Halloween? Ty and Kit would obviously dress up as Sherlock and Watson, Julian and Emma maybe as people from the Golden Age of Hollywood, Cristina would be a feministic icon or warrior goddess and Mark wouldn’t dress up at all because it’d be too confusing.
- If Magnus and Alec were to go to a karaoke bar, Magnus would totally sing Heroes by David Bowie and Alec wouldn’t sing at all because he doesn’t know any pop culture. Magnus and Matthew would be a great performance team.
- If the characters from The Last Hours had to babysit Max, Cassie would pick Thomas, Anna and Cordelia for the job.
- Cassie would want to be a warlock if she had to be a Downworlder. She wants to live forever but doesn’t want to drink blood or be a werewolf because the Change is painful. She also wouldn’t do well as a faerie, but could see herself as a warlock private detective. She’s pro living forever because you’d have fancy clothes and antiques. Her warlock mark would be wings; she could fly around the neighbourhood and upset her neighbours.
- She relates to Simon most because he’s an ordinary person without any powers. Her favourite rune is fearless.
- Cassie sometimes watches TV when she’s writing, mostly the history channel, and her best writing advice is to “always know what your characters want.”
- There is a reason why Clary and Jace as well as Izzy and Simon aren’t married in The Wicked Powers. We might get to see both of the weddings. Clary would totally have a Pinterest board for her wedding.
- So far Cassie only has notes for The Wicked Powers and a “good idea what the trilogy is about.” There is no outline for the books yet but Cassie uses voice memos on her phone for her notes.
- We will eventually find out the Herondale family motto.
- Anne Groell, editor of Sword Catcher, is Cassie’s dream editor. Anne is also the editor of the Game of Thrones books and Cassie has actually known her for a while and thought Anne would really get Cassie’s Sword Catcher books. Cassie likes murdering characters here and there and you can expect it in the adult books, but there won’t be blood baths like in the Game of Thrones books.
- Since writing high fantasy is a lot different from urban fantasy, Cassie talked with her writer friends about Sword Catcher. It’s a lot of work and responsibility to create a completely new world, but Leigh Bardugo, Kelly Link, Cassie’s editor Anne and more friends have been very helpful.
- Cassie’s short story with Holly Black Not for Humans was also briefly mentioned – it’s kind of like a cross-over between Holly’s books and The Mortal Instruments. You can read it here (clicking on the link will lead you to a PDF). There are some cameos hidden in the different books.
- The Lost Book of the White: The book is set in Shanghai and Cassie already did a lot of research in the past because Jem was born there. Wes was able to help with research, especially culture and food, and they were trading information back and forth. Cassie actually wanted to go to Shanghai but then the coronavirus happened in China.
The book takes place after the events of Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy and Magnus and Alec have to leave Max with Maryse to go on their mission. The couple is going through the adjustments of having a kid and they also have to deal with having a dangerous livestyle while having a child. They both have their crises about this in a slightly different way and they have to discuss this in the context of their relationship.
The Lost Book of the White starts with a flashback to City of Glass, right before Clary and Sebastian arrive at Ragnor’s house but only meet Magnus there. Ragnor and Magnus talk and we’ll find out what happened right before the Morgenstern siblings got there. It was fun for Cassie to revisit this time period.
At the beginning of the book Ragnor shows up at Magnus’s apartment and Magnus obviously thought that Ragnor was dead. So Magnus is really angry that Ragnor didn’t let him know he was actually alive. Ragnor does have a pretty good reason, though, which was mentioned in The Red Scrolls of Magic, and it turns out Ragnor is under an evil magic spell. He is there to steal the Book of the White and not to rekindle their friendship. Magnus isn’t happy but he still wants to rescue Ragnor and that’s the reason for the whole trip to Shanghai. Get Ragnor and also the book back.
- Sword Catcher:
The world is called Dannemore but most of the action takes place in a city called Castellane. The city isn’t huge, but it’s extremely wealthy and people from all over the continent come there. It has a port and is the centre of trade. There is a constant struggle for wealth and power. There’s a saying, “Whoever controls Castellane, controls the world.”
Castellane is ruled by a king who has two sons, Crown Prince Conor and Prince Bram, and because of the volatile political nature in the city, there are constant attempts to assassinate the crown prince. He’s eight when we first meet him and to protect him, “they do this thing that is a very old practise in the country that the kingdom comes from and it is having a thing called sword catcher.”
This sword catcher is Kellian, the main character, and he’s taught to act and talk like the crown prince to pretend to be him when there’s a dangerous situation. “His job is basically to die in the place of the crown prince.” The boys develop a complicated friendship because it’s Kellian’s job to die for Conor. Kellian starts to learn how he wound up in this position and what’s going on with the crown prince and the king.
The other main character is Lin. She belongs to a society of people called the Ashkar. These are based on Jewish magic so Cassie got to work some stuff in from her Jewish background like kabbalistic magic. The Ashkar are the doctors and they have the only kind of magic that works. The men are magicians and the women are doctors. Lin wants to get to know the magic stuff and how it works, how she can apply it to her medical training but her grandfather Mayesh is like, “That’s not how we do things.” She wants to do things differently.
Lin comes to the palace to treat the sword catcher after he’s been nearly killed by an assassin. They get to know each other and that kicks off the story. Lin is also constantly seeking better ways to treat people and she believes that more knowledge should be available to women.
Another character is the Ragpicker King – also the title of the second book – and he doesn’t have a name or real identity. He lives in a big black mansion in the middle of the city and runs the crime scene. Although he’s a crime lord, he’s a charming guy. He kidnaps Kel because he wants information about the royal family for a large bribe. The Ragpicker King also meets Lin, because something happens to him so Lin is dragged off to take care of him. He wants her to be his private physician and there’s the quetion of what it means to be the private physician of the biggest crime lord of the city while also being friends with the sword catcher who has all the information about the royal family?
Lin’s grandfather Mayesh is the counsellor to the king. It’s a long tradition for the Ashkar to be restricted to one part of the City. Their walled in city in Castellane is called the Sault and the people are locked in at night. Only the Ashkar advisor can come and go and it’s considered to be good luck to have an advisor from this society. Mayesh is the most powerful person in his community.
Prince Bram has a difficult relationship with his brother, he follows the rules but Conor, who is a bad boy, doesn’t.
There is also a guy who owns a crocodile.
It has been a lot of fun for Cassie to work on it, it’s a lot of research and really interesting for Cassie. She’s Jewish and knows a little bit about Kabbalah, but now she’s reading about mythology, about magic numbers and words. It’s interesting yet also a big learning process.
Sword Catcher is set in like the 17th century and Cassie is partly making the clothes up and they are a bit accurate to the Renaissance time period. Since the continent has multiple cultures, Castellane is a melting pot city. There are people in all sorts of different clothes and these have been influenced by clothes from India, Iran, China, Korea, Thailand or Africa. It’s intesting to figure out what the different classes would wear and Cassie gets to make up fashion trends. In the book there are magic eye drops that turn your pupils into any shape or colour.
Inspiration for Sword Catcher came to Cassie when she was travelling in Thailand and watching a reality show where a body double for Saddam Hussein’s son Uday was interviewed. It’s a job where you have no identity and are pretending to be another person and for Cassie it was interesting to ask herself what this means for the body double.
Thank you, Fae Crate ❤ for this fun video chat and thank you, Cassie, for the correct spelling of the Sword Catcher names! ❤
I seriously cannot wait for Sword Catcher to be published next year! 😀
What do you guys think of all the new information? Sound off in the comments below.