Happy Monday! There’s no Secrets of Blackthorn Hall today but I do have a recap of Cassandra Clare’s YALC (Young Adult Literature Convention) panel on 9 July in London for you. Cassie’s UK publisher Walker Books invited her to the convention and while there was no signing this year, fans were still able to meet Cassie before the panel called “Cassandra Clare: In Conversation” happened. Author Samatha Shannon interviewed Cassie and asked lots of thoughtful questions before some fans were able to share their questions.
- Cassie recently found her first editor’s letter back from 2005, but City of Bones actually didn’t change that much from draft to published book.
- Tessa was always going to be named Tessa and Jace was Will once. Cassie uses placeholder names (“You’re Jethro for now.”) until she has found the right name for a character. A friend suggested Jem’s name when Cassie was in London.
- Cassie and her assistant keep track of all the details from The Shadowhunter Chronicles thanks to a “bible” but sometimes she has to read through a certain book again. She also gave a shout-out to yours truly.
- She has done lots of research for The Last Hours because some readers will notice if things aren’t correct. Some walks that Cassie had planned for historical accuracy weren’t possible because the Blitz destroyed a lot so the roads no longer existed. She had to look at old maps instead. Historical research is sometimes guesswork. A friend of Cassie’s once had to ask the caretaker of the church the London Institute is based on what the roof was made out of. The friend had to come back after a month because the St Brides’ caretaker didn’t know.
- 1903 was a time of great transition: there were telephones and other inventions. The face of the city changed a lot – from horses and carriages to omnibuses and cars, and things started to feel modern.
- About the epigraphs and quotes in Cassie’s historical novels: Cassie has always loved poetry; she wrote down her favourite poems as a child – from Swinburne or Tennyson. The Last Hours got their book titles from Great Expectations and is also loosely based on the book. Cassie quoted the sentences in which Chain of Gold, Chain of Iron and Chain of Thorns are mentioned. Cassie’s editor is not a fan of poetry and was not happy when Cassie introduced poetry in The Infernal Devices.
- The inspiration for Idris was the Italian town San Gimignano because of its towers that flare up into the sky. These became the demon towers in Idris. Blackthorn Hall is Chiswick House in London [Side note: it’s beautiful there!]
- About writing: “You’re always cheating on the book you’re writing.” When Cassie was writing The Dark Artifices, she was also constantly thinking about The Last Hours.
- Cordelia is Cassie’s favourite perspective in The Last Hours, also Lucie’s because she is a writer. Cassie and Holly fight about the lengths of their books: Cassie’s are long because of multiple POVs, Holly’s are short because one POV. Sword Catcher will have two POVs and it’s more than 270k words long.
- Cassie was confronted with a challenge when she started The Last Hours because all the parents are characters we know and love from The Infernal Devices so they had to be nice, Cordelia was refreshing because her parents could have been assholes.
- Fight scenes are a lot like sex scenes according to Cassie – where are the hands?
- Action scenes are hard for Cassie, how can people communicate whilst fighting a demon? That’s why Cassie acts out the fight scenes with her writer friends.
- Sword Catcher: Castellane is the epicentre of this new world and situated at a harbour. It’s a massively rich city that does trade with other countries and is very diverse in its culture. The main characters are Lin and Kellian. Lin is a doctor and based on Jewish mythology since in history Jewish people often used to be doctors. Kellian is the bodyguard to the Crown Prince and also pretends to be the Crown Prince for events. He is meant to die/catch the sword for the prince. Lin is called to the palace because the Sword Catcher is dying. She has to save him or she’ll die as well. That’s how she and Kellian meet.
- Now that Cassie is writing Sword Catcher, she fantasises about The Wicked Powers!
- Cassie always wants to put a name to everything: She wanted to make Ty’s autism very clear instead of casually revealing it years later. Christoper probably has ASD [NOT ADHS as previously stated, I apologise].
- Whose POV were sometimes difficult to write? Anna’s because she’s so confident, Alastair’s because he’s so angry, and also Mark’s because he’s been through a lot of trauma.
- Cassie gets ideas while walking in the woods and listening to music with no lyrics.
- A fan asked Cassie to write about the Merry Thieves discovering custard cream in 1908, she laughed and wasn’t against it. 😉
- Cassie wants to do one more short story collection like The Bane Chronicles once The Wicked Powers is done. She has one specific person in mind.
- Matthew is thinking stuff that Cassie doesn’t want us to know now, it was the same with Ty due to his whole plan in Queen of Air and Darkness. That’s why we don’t have POVs of these two characters. The only time we got Ty’s POV was in Ghosts of the Shadow Market and Cassie consulted neuroatypical writers before writing The Lost World.
- About The Wicked Powers: Dru goes to Faerie. Ty has to ask Kit for help after something major and bad happened. Kit is the only one who can help so they have to work together and that’s how the boys reunite.
- If The Shadowhunter Chronicles were food, what would they be? Cassie cannot cook, but her husband Josh can so the answer was a bit difficult for her. She settled on a pie with rhubarb, ginger, turmeric and noodles.
- Did Cassie ever change a relationship into a completely different direction? At the beginning Cassie meant for Mark and Cristina to be together in The Dark Artifices, but then she was like: “Hey, there’s also Kieran!” and the rest is obviously history.
- There are lots of reasons to be worried about Matthew. [Cassie said this half-jokingly because there was a lot of love for him in the audience.]
(If you decide to share/translate the recap, please credit and link to TMI Source.)
Here are some photos to give you an idea what YALC was like.
The beautiful The Last Hours installation in action. 😉
While in London, Cassie also shared two new Chain of Thorns snippets. I retweeted them in lieu of a short article, but wanted to share them here as well in case you missed them.
(The first snippet was shared due to there being no new entry for Secrets of Blackthorn Hall.)
Oh wow, I wonder who Jesse is going to react to this news! Will he understand? Will he be angry?
And the second snippet:
Oh my heart! What a sweet snippet. May I have the book right now, please?
If you’re in the UK, you can actually get a cool pre-order gift from Walker Books:
Chain of Thorns is published on 31 January 2023.