Interview by Amia D.

This month, BookPeople hosted Cassandra Clare on her first tour since 2019! Despite the winter weather, over 300 people came out for the launch of CHAIN OF THORNS, the third installment of The Last Hours trilogy. Teen Press Corps member Amia had the chance to sit down with CC in the green room and ask some burning Shadowhunter questions.

Amia D: If you could only give someone one of your books, which one would you choose?

Cassandra Clare: Ooo that’s a really interesting question! If I was just going to give someone one of my books and say “start here,” usually I give them Clockwork Angel. Some people are reluctant to read historical but I actually think it’s a really good introduction to the world and I think that in some ways it’s a little less heavy on the mythology and complexity of  Shadowhunters and their history, how they fight, etc. And it’s a little bit more of a personal story. 

AD:  If you could have a Shadowhuner weapon which one would you have?

CC: They do have a lot of cool weapons! It was fun doing all the weapons research for the books. If I could have any weapon I think I would like the Chalikars. I think they are really cool and not immediately obvious cause you are not swinging around a giant sword so people don’t necessarily see you coming.

AD: True, but I would love to have Cortana.

CC: I feel like Cortana is too much sword for me, I feel like if Cortana were presented to me it would be like “You are not cool enough”. It’s very particular about its owner.

AD: If there was one book you could go back and re-read for the first time which one would you choose?

CC:  Any book in the world? 

AD: Mhmm any book.

CC: I would say Pride and Prejudice. I read it every year and I love it but I cannot recapture the feeling of having read it for the first time and not knowing what was gonna happen.

AD: Will we ever get to find out where the Blackthorns got their motto? Lex malla, lex nulla?

CC: Oh “a bad law is no law”? That’s an interesting question. I’ve actually never thought about it. It would be interesting to go back and I assume they have had this motto for a really long time so it was not put in place by any of the Blackthorns that we know so we’d have to go back to the 1300s. I really love it as a motto because I feel like they (the Blackthorns) have this sort of rebellious and independent streak and like to do things their own way, Julian especially. So yeah I’m gonna assume that some Blackthorn back in the 1300s ran into one of the many Shadowhunter laws, didn’t like it, broke it and now they have this motto.

AD: In Chain of Thorns will we get to see more Christopher and Grace interactions? Or at least something that shows how on earth they end up on the family tree together?

CC: Well first, the family tree is not accurate but in this book, you will find out why it is not accurate. But yes Christopher and Grace are going to have more interactions! I don’t think this is a huge spoiler but at the end of the 2nd book she (Grace) is sent to the Silent City to be imprisoned for basically abusing the power that her mother forced on her. The only person who really visits her is Christopher. He initially goes there saying that he’s trying to figure out how to create fire messages and she’s the only one who can help him so they start to work on that together.

AD: Speaking of family trees, do you have any plans to make an updated family tree? 

CC: I feel so regretful for having made a family tree in the first place because I feel like when I did it I wasn’t ever expecting to write The Last Hours. I just made a family tree at the end of Clockwork Princess and I was sort of like this is closing off the chapter. Then I got the idea of The Last Hours and I was like I’m not sure if I can do it because of the family tree. And then one of my friends, probably Holly, started to slap me around a little and was like if you have a story to tell and it’s a really compelling story about these kids then it’s the real thing that happened. She said, “Don’t let this family tree that you’ve made keep you from writing these characters”. So I feel like yes probably there will be a family tree but it would really have to be at the end of the Shadowhunters! I’d have to be really sure I was never gonna write another book.

AD: So after The Wicked Powers?

CC: Yeah, I mean if that’s really the end. 

AD: What is your favorite quote from one of your books and why?

CC: “One must always be careful of books because words have the power to change us”. It’s something that I feel very strongly and I especially have been thinking about it recently with these book bannings and books being pulled out of schools and I’m like this is the fear that people have that reading the wrong thing can corrupt you. And I’m like, yeah that’s the opposite of what Tessa means. She is sort of saying that we should be open to that change and that books have the power to change us, bring us knowledge, and open us up to experiences that we otherwise wouldn’t have. I don’t believe that books can harm you, I believe that books can only change you in a positive way and I totally get that sometimes that can feel scary. 

Teen Press Corps member Amia interviews Cassandra Clare before her event on February 2, 2023

AD: This is a fun one! If the Merry Thieves had non-Shadowhunter jobs what would they be?

CC: I think Matthew would be an actor! I’m sure it never occurred to him because he is a Shadowhunter but he does little bits all the time and he is very dramatic. Christopher would obviously be a scientist I don’t think we have to wonder too much about that. I really do wonder about Thomas…I think of him as someone who would do something with travel. I think he would be someone who maps the world and that kind of thing. James would be a poet. Not a job that pays very much but he loves poetry and in the initial earlier versions of the book he wrote poetry but then I was like but I have to write poetry and I’m terrible at writing poetry so I decided to take it out. 

AD: Will we ever get to find out why only Kit and James can fire the gun? I did read that in Secrets of Blackthorn Hall.

CC: That was a really fun project and I’m very excited for it to be a bound book. We are totally going to find out why only James and Kit can fire the gun as it’s important. 

AD: Will it be in this book?

CC: It will not be in this book. It will be in The Wicked Powers cause I want Kit and the rest of them not to know why he can fire the gun so it can be a mystery for him to solve.

AD: I am very curious to see that and how the gun even got into Jesse’s casket.

CC: You find that out in Chain of Thorns! You will find out why the gun and all of those other objects (the scabbard, etc.) are in there.

AD: After this book will we ever get to see more glimpses of the Merry Thieves, Lucie, and Cordelia?

CC: I think we may get some flashbacks to them. I’m very weary of time travel because it tends to cause lots of problems so I’m reluctant to do that but that doesn’t mean that there can’t be flashbacks or times when we revisit them or other ways we might see them but I don’t want to go into too much detail. But I miss them. When I stop writing about characters I tend to miss them and want to see them again in some way or another. Obviously, in The Wicked Powers, it’s been a long time since most of them are alive but that doesn’t mean that we are never going to see them again.

Cassandra Clare answers fan questions at First Baptist Church in Austin, February 2, 2023

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