Our dear friend Cathrin at TMI Source got a chance to interview The Mortal Instruments author Cassandra Clare during her tour stop in London, who was there, along with her close friend and fellow author Sarah Rees Brennan, promoting the City of Heavenly Fire release.
Here are some non-spoiler questions and answers from that interview:
On writing Downworlders:
I think the easiest thing for me to write of the Downworlders are probably the warlocks. I don’t know why I like them, I sort of relate to them. Writing Magnus is really easy and fun. I think the faeries are just difficult because they have this complicated way of talking and also they can’t lie so instead they twist the truth and so the incredibly complicated way they twist the truth around without actually lying is a lot of work. […] Holly’s really good at it, that’s the thing so I’m always like, “Oh God, I have no idea how to do this” [laughs] She always helps me out.
On getting criticism for writing diverse characters:
Yeah, sure. All the time. You get pushback, but the pushback comes often in strange ways. You definitely get these sort of “I don’t like this character, I don’t want to see the story be so much about this character” and you’re kind of like, “Well, could it be that you’re uncomfortable that this is a character of color?” And usually the pushback you get is people saying, “Absolutely not. That’s not the problem, I just don’t like them for some unspecified reason” and I’m like, “Well, you know, when you see this happen 300, 500, 600, a thousand times, “I just don’t like this character for some unspecified reason” and that character is always a character of color, you sort of start to see the pattern”. So I think that writers get held accountable for a lot of, you know, what we do in our books, for writing diversity properly, for being respectful, for being representative in a good way and we should be, but you also have to come to it with an open mind and it’s very difficult, I think, to do. We live in a society that really privileges the stories of white, straight, able-bodied people and so when you’re a reader and you’re coming to the stories, you’re kind of expecting that and when you get something different, it can be an adjustment. So we all need to work together to realize that these other stories are equally as important.
On the ease of writing young adults as compared to pre-teens:
For me young adults are easier. Holly really is the middle grade genius. We started the books and it took me a while to kind of get into the mindset of writing twelve and thirteen year olds and I got into it and I started to really love it. There’s something that’s a lot of fun about writing for that age group. They have different concerns than older teenagers. For the older teenagers there’s a lot more about romance and relationships and for the younger age there is a very specific importance that’s placed on friends and friendships so a lot of the emotional stuff that you would normally put into a romance you put into friends and friendship and best friends and the drama of that. I carried that over into City of Heavenly Fire when I was writing Emma and Julian. It was really a big help to have written Magisterium because I was able to write about Emma and Julian’s relationship and keep it kind of firmly in the friendship area, but still give it an enormous amount of emotional weight.
You can read the whole interview, along with CoHF spoilers TMI Source.