Q&A: Cassandra Clare Talks Her Shadowhunters Universe, How Travel Inspires and What’s Up Next

YA fans — prepare yourselves. For today is the day that Cassandra Clare’s new Shadowhunters title comes out — the second in her Dark Artifices trilogy, RT Top Pick! Lord of Shadows. Our reviewer loved it so much she shed many a tear while reading (in the best way possible). We chatted with the author about the book, the series, the TV show and so much more …

Tell us about Lord of Shadows and your inspiration for The Dark Artifices trilogy.

Lord of Shadows is the second book in the Dark Artifices trilogy, which is deeply influenced by my love of Phillip Marlowe and sunlit noir. LA has this contrast between the glamorous and the seedy that was great fun to play with in the context of Shadowhunters and Downworlders. The Dark Artifices is also inspired by the poetry of Edgar Allen Poe. The poem “Annabel Lee” plays a pivotal role in the series, and the chapter titles of Lord of Shadows are drawn from the poem “Dream-Land.”

Lady Midnight, which began the series, followed the Shadowhunters of the LA Institute as they found themselves embroiled in a murder mystery that had high stakes for them all. Lord of Shadows takes place in the aftermath of the events of Lady Midnight, and it involves sea demons, a devastating sacrifice, a dangerous rescue mission, a good old-fashioned hunt for a spell book, terrifying faeries bent on revenge, revelations of family tragedies from the past, flying horses, midnight dancing and an unexpected appearance by a character from the Infernal Devices.

As you continue to write in your beloved Shadowhunters universe, how do you decide which stories to tell next — and which time period and city to head to? Do fans ever influence your decisions?

I travel a lot and I’m always getting the feel of new locations. I tend to set my books in places I love, like New York City, where I lived for years; London, which is my favorite city; and Los Angeles, where I grew up.

Regarding which characters to follow, I go into the books with a clear idea of who my protagonists are. If characters are very beloved or surprisingly popular, I try to think of more ways to weave them into the story, and sometimes I write short pieces involving them.

You’ve written the paranormal versions of New York, London and LA. What are the most real-life mystical places in each of the cities? Where do you draw your inspiration for your magical but yet real-life settings?

I’m always on the lookout for places where magic could be hiding in plain sight. In New York, I was inspired by the real life City of Bones — The Marble Cemetery. In London, Blackfriars Bridge on a foggy day is wonderful, because you’re looking at a view that Dickens looked at. In LA, the beach is part of the city and yet relatively unspoiled. You can stand there by the ocean and forget all about the city, forget where you are entirely. For me, the coastline evokes the tragic tale of “Annabel Lee,” and I put that association to good use in the Dark Artifices.

You’ve said that you’ll write two more series in the Shadowhunters universe, can you give us any spoilers about The Last Hours or The Wicked Powers? 

TLH deals with the children of the characters from The Infernal Devices. It’s an interesting story for me, because most of these characters have grown up without much trauma or darkness surrounding them. They’ve lived in a fairly safe environment, at a time when demon attacks are infrequent. When danger strikes, they are very unprepared for it. This is a stark contrast to the Shadowhunters we’ve met before, who have grown up in grim times and been well prepared to deal with terrible threats. As for the Wicked Powers, the protagonists are two of the minor characters from Dark Artifices!

Lord of Shadows ends on a cliffhanger, which nearly broke our reviewer. Do you know how The Queen of Air and Darkness wrap up the trilogy? Is it already written?

It isn’t written, but I know how it ends. I’m a big believer in outlines and knowing the ending — I don’t always know how to get there but I know where I am going.

We are loving the new Shadowhunters TV show! How has this experience been for you, with this particular iteration of book-to-screen? 

I’m not involved with the show in any way, but I’m glad you’re enjoying it. I actually don’t watch it—it’s so different from the books, I mostly find it confusing. I consider it a sort of alternate dimension, fan-fiction version of the story.

What’s the best book you’ve read this year?

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas [“Us too!” — ed. note]

Lord of Shadows is out today, and if you haven’t grabbed your copy yet, you can do so here: Amazon | BN.com | Kobo | iTunes | GooglePlay. And for more YA news you can use, visit our Everything Young Adult page! 

Tags: , , , ,