Cassandra Clare Interview
Posted on 31 July 2007. © Copyright 2004-2024 WriteWords
WriteWords talks to Cassandra Clare, author of the just-published City of Bones
Tell us something about your background.
City of Bones is my first novel - before that, the only thing I'd had
published was a fantasy short story called "The Girl's Guide to
Defeating the Dark Lord." I just finished City of Ashes, the second book
in the Mortal Instruments series, and I've started the third: City of Glass.
When I was writing City of Bones I worked as a freelance journalist. I
would write light entertainment nonfiction pieces during the day, then
come home and work on my fantasy fiction. It was very difficult to get
out of the one mindset and into another one. I'm glad that now I write
How did you start writing?
The first book I ever wrote was when I was fifteen. It was entitled "The
Beautiful Cassandra". I promise that it wasn't about me, though it did
later affect my choice of a pen name. It was a pretty terrible epic romance. After I graduated college I spent a few years working for entertainment and tabloid magazines, doing celebrity journalism, but I never found it fulfilling. I started writing fiction again a few years ago, and what came out of that was "City of Bones."
Who are your favourite writers and why?
My influences come from all over. Right now I'm enjoying "Night Watch"
by Sergei Lukyanenko, and I'm also reading a stack of classic mysteries
and crime fiction, because studying their spare, elegant plots helps me
structure the mystery elements in my own books. I also get a lot of
inspiration from Japanese manga, especially shoujo which tends to have
elaborate and fantastical adventure plots. I'd recommend Godchild and
How did you get your first agent/ commission?
I met my agent at a reading in Manhattan. He had been reading my blog,
actually, since one of his clients was a friend of mine. I managed to
buttonhole him and tell him about my book idea (which was "City of
Bones") and he asked if I'd send it along to him, which I did.
Fortunately, he liked it!
What's the worst thing about writing?
It can get very lonely
And the best?
Getting letters from kids who say they thought they hated reading but
they loved your book.
Tell us what kind of responses you get from audiences\ readers.
The great thing about writing for a younger audience is that they will
give it to you straight with their responses. They'll tell you exactly
what they liked and didn't like, and when they're enthusiastic, they're
unashamedly enthusiastic. They'll talk to you about your characters as
if they were real people, which is wonderful.
What was your breakthrough moment?
I always thought that eventually there would be a moment where I
realized that I had practiced enough and now I was ready to be a professional writer. Then I befriended a number of successful professional writers and realized that none of them ever felt ready. After that I decided I might as well stop waiting to feel ready and just get started.
Comments by other Members