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Cassandra Clare Interview

Posted on 31 July 2007. © Copyright 2004-2023 WriteWords
A longer version of this interview is available to WriteWords Full and Community Members.
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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
fiction full-time!

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
Fullmetal Alchemist.

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.

A longer version of this interview is available to WriteWords Full and Community Members.
Click here to learn more about becoming a member.

Comments by other Members

Steerpike`s sister at 18:46 on 01 August 2007  Report this post
I think one of the great things about writing fantasy is that it allows
you to address issues in an allegorical manner.

That's a very good point, and one reason I like writing fantasy too! I'm looking forward to reading the book.

Nik Perring at 15:53 on 02 August 2007  Report this post
What a great interview. Thanks for sharing and all the best with the books!


nessiec at 14:21 on 07 August 2007  Report this post
You make such a valid point about first drafts not being perfect. The point needs making again and again (I'm making it to myself after a morning of writing what appears to be rubbish). Very good interview.

Luisa at 15:33 on 11 August 2007  Report this post
Congratulations on the publication of City of Bones and thanks for a very interesting interview. I'm also looking forward to reading the book.


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