The magical worlds of Cassandra Clare and Holly Black | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

Cassandra Clare and Holly Black
Cassandra Clare and Holly Black

Cassandra Clare and Holly Black were in the country last weekend and their fans were so excited to meet them that some of them started camping out at 6 p.m. on Saturday night for an event that was happening at 2 p.m. on Sunday.


National Book Store brought the authors to Cebu and Manila for book signings and readers came in droves, books in hand, with some in full cosplay as their favorite characters from Cassie and Holly’s books.


Both New York Times bestselling authors, Cassie wrote the series “The Mortal Instruments,” “The Infernal Devices” and “The Dark Artifices,” while Holly’s works include the “Modern Faerie Tales” series, the “Folk of the Air” series and the books “The Coldest Girl in Coldtown” and “The Darkest Part of the Forest.” She also wrote “The Spiderwick Chronicles” with Tony DiTerlizzi.


The two, who became friends years ago after Cassie asked Holly to go out for coffee after Holly’s book signing (“I never say no to coffee,” says Holly), are also collaborators. They wrote the “The Magisterium” series which ended in 2018 with the fifth book “The Golden Tower.”


The Philippines was the final stop of their King and Queen tour, where Cassie was promoting “Queen of Air and Darkness,” the third book in “The Dark Artifices” trilogy, and Holly was promoting “The Wicked King,” the second book in her “Folk of the Air” trilogy.


They had a few days of rest and relaxation planned in Palawan with Holly’s half-Filipino husband (his mom is from Pangasinan) and son. But before that, Super sat down with them for this chat.


So you guys work together in your house? You don’t do the coffee shop thing anymore?


Cassie: No. We used to.


Holly: We used to and when Cassie goes away, Kelly (Link) and I return to the coffee shops.


Cassie: I bought a house couple years ago and had the barn completely refurbished to basically be a writing studio. It’s full of books, it’s got a huge, like, a table that everybody can work at and it’s got places for research materials and different computers to be plugged in. It’s a really good workspace. It’s great.


You guys are amazingly productive. How do you do it? That’s crazy discipline.


Holly: I think it’s interesting because I was kind of a lazy student. I had a tendency to do things kind of last minute. I liked school. I like reading. But I was never super disciplined. I did not expect that when I became a writer, I would become a workaholic. But I did and it was like discovering a heretofore unheard of ambition in myself.


Cassie: I have the exact same experience. But I think it’s a combination of having a lot of ideas, having a lot of deadlines and just being very disciplined. I think that the fact that we work together helps. This is my routine. I think one of the things that happens with writers is that you struggle to find the time to write and the place to write, and my whole life is structured around writing. It’s my job I do every day.


Holly: I think it’s also worth noting that both of us, we are doing this to make a living for our families and if we don’t turn in a book, we’re not able to do that.


Cassie: We both are the people who support our families. And so right, we can’t slack off.


And did you grow up hearing that you can’t live off of writing?


Cassie: Yes, definitely. I heard you can’t live off your writing money, right? I was a copy editor in New York when I sold “City of Bones.” And I kept that job for three or four more years until I finally quit.


The National Enquirer?


Cassie: Yup and Star Magazine. They’re owned by the same people. I hated it, I was so miserable. But I kept working there because I believed that you can’t make a living from writing. And so even when I was making a living from writing, I was like, well, it’s not going to last, so I kept my job. Finally, my husband was like, “You don’t need to keep this job that you hate.”


Why do you like writing about magical worlds?


Cassie: Those are the kinds of books that I really loved when I was growing up. They caught my imagination, they transported me to other worlds and they took me out of my problems, they gave me an escape. I think it’s true that you write the kind of book you want to read.


Was there a moment that told you that “I’ve made it as a writer?”


Holly: I remember seeing my first book in a bookstore and I had the twin feeling of “this is incredible, this is like my dream achieved” and also “why is that thing that is from my house in this store? I need to grab that and take it over where it belongs.”


Cassie: And then she was arrested.


Holly: And certainly when the “Spiderwick” movie came out, I remember thinking oh, this is pretty fancy. But I think as a writer, my goal is to stay a professional writer. It feels like success is staying on the horse and not getting bucked off.

The visiting authors were overwhelmed by their passionate Filipino fans

You’ve seen how passionate your Filipino fans are these past couple of days. Before coming here did they make their presence felt online?


Cassie: Oh yeah.


Holly: Definitely.


Have they been bugging you about Manila Institute?


Cassie: Yes and I know where it is. It was the Manila Cathedral. I think we’ve both had a Filipino fan base since our first books came out. There are fan pages online and we know each other. It was quite nice because you know, Amanda, the girl who runs TMI Philippines showed up yesterday and she was like, “I’m TMI Philippines.”


She was giving out postcards.


Cassie: I’ve known her for years online, we’ve just never met in person. So it was really cool to actually get the chance to talk to her in person and another girl who I’ve always known as Manila Institute. I was like, “You’re Manila Institute! It’s so nice to meet you.” Filipino fans have always been extremely passionate.


Do you usually get fans crying like yesterday?


Cassie: You know, definitely people cry, and for both of us, we know intellectually that they’re crying because they’re happy or they’re excited. But you feel like they’re crying because they’re upset so you always want to be like, “Are you okay? Can I do something?” And you have to just kind of pull back a little and be like this is a totally normal response to an overwhelming experience.


People have a debate on the proper order people should read your books. What are your thoughts on this?


Cassie: You know, I’ve tried to make it so that you can really read them in any order.


Holly: Randomly.


Cassie: Well, I would always start with book one of any series. But I know that for really hardcore fans, they believe you should read them in the order that the books were published. But it is also okay to you know, read you know, either “Infernal Devices” or “Mortal Instruments” first.


Can you tell us what’s next?


Cassie: I’m excited because I have a book coming out in a month, “The Red Scrolls of Magic” that is about Magnus and Alec who are a favorite couple. I love them and I’ve been looking forward to writing this for a long time. Then end of the year the first book of “The Last Hours” comes out and that’s the sequel series to “Infernal Devices.”


Holly: Next January, I have “Queen of Nothing” coming out, the concluding volume of the “Folk of the Air” series. After that I am out of contract and I’m going to have to figure out what to do next. I have a bunch of ideas but nothing set in stone. It’s an exciting time for me. Maybe I’ll just lay around. It seems unlikely.


Do you have a message for your Filipino fans?


Cassie: Thank you for being such loyal readers. So many people came up to me and said, “You were big part of my childhood,” or “You were a big part of my teenage years,” and I would say thank you for keeping on reading the books.


Holly: And we will come back to see you again soon.






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