We've seen that some authors like to have a sketch out of what their book is going to be about. Do you do the same?
Yes, I outline all my books, and if it's a series (I've only written series) I outline the whole series ahead of time. When I'm actually working on the book, I outline each chapter. It helps that I work in Scrivener, which allows for easy outlining.
How did the idea of The Mortal Instruments and their world come about?
I think, having watched other writers as well as myself develop ideas, that most ideas are less one single brainwave than a combination of elements that interest that particular author. For me it was New York, tattoos, Paradise Lost, teenagers, Dante, a newspaper article I read about two people who fell in love and found out they were related, and the idea of one single unifying mythology that would explain the existence of all supernatural creatures.
Have you always been interested in this genre?
Dark and urban fantasy? Not always; as a kid, I mostly read high fantasy until I was introduced to the Borderlands series created by Terri Windling. (http://www.endicott-studio.com/borderland.html) — a shared-world series about a town called Bordertown on the edge of the real world and the fantastical. It combined high fantasy and contemporary grit in an incredibly compelling way. I recommend digging up old copies if you can get a hold of them.
In a few interviews, you've stated that you never really saw the story as YA, just a fantasy novel. Was this your first time writing a story that involved teenagers?
Well, this is my first completed novel, period, published or unpublished. Looking back over my old writing though, I can see I was always interested in writing about teenagers, and most of my characters have always been young. I think that's because for me the themes of fantasy and the themes of coming-of-age stories are a natural fit.
What were the challenges you faced in getting the book published?
Finishing the book. In terms of securing an agent and a publisher, I didn't have that hard a time. I was lucky. In terms of writing and rewriting the book, I must have done that a dozen times. I started the book in 2003 and did heavy rewrites for over a year before I went looking for an agent.
Who is your favorite character in the series?
Oh, I don't know if I really have one. I like them all in different ways. I love writing Magnus, he's so much fun.
Was it hard saying goodbye to the story when you wrote City of Glass?
At first I was like, Thank God that's over and if I ever have to think about any of these characters again it'll be a day too soon. That passed after about a month and then I started having nostalgic feelings for them. Now that I'm heavily into writing the new series, it's like moving away from home and making a whole new group of friends but you still miss the good friends you used to have before.
Any upcoming projects you can share?
Sure. I'm already well into writing the prequel series to the Mortal Instruments. It's set in Victorian London and deals with a new group of teenage Shadowhunters, the ancestors of the ones in the MI books. Also there are a few crossover characters, like Magnus Bane, and as usual there's lots of romance, demon-fighting, and battles between good and evil. You can read all about them here: www.theinfernaldevices.com .
---We would like to say a big thanks to Cassandra for taking the time to answer some of our quetsions!