Frequently Asked Questions
About the Books
The idea for the Mortal Instruments came to me one afternoon in the East Village. I was with a good friend of mine, who was taking me to see the tattoo shop where she used to work. She wanted to show me that her footprints were on the ceiling in black paint — in fact the footprints of everyone who’d worked there were on the ceiling, crisscrossing each other and making patterns. To me it looked like some fabulous supernatural battle had been fought there by beings who’d left their footprints behind. I started thinking about a magical battle in a New York tattoo shop and the idea of a secret society of demon-hunters whose magic was based on an elaborate system of tattooed runes just sprang into my mind. When I sat down to sketch out the book, I wanted to write something that would combine elements of traditional high fantasy — an epic battle between good and evil, terrible monsters, brave heroes, enchanted swords — and recast it through a modern, urban lens. So you have the Shadowhunters, who are these very classic warriors following their millennia-old traditions, but in these urban, modern spaces: skyscrapers, warehouses, abandoned hotels, rock concerts. In fairy tales, it was the dark and mysterious forest outside the town that held the magic and danger. I wanted to create a world where the city has become the forest — where these urban spaces hold their own enchantments, danger, mysteries and strange beauty. It’s just that only the Shadowhunters can see them as they really are.
City of Bones is the first of three books in my young adult urban fantasy trilogy, The Mortal Instruments. City of Bones is about a fifteen-year old girl named Clary Fray, whose search for her missing mother leads her into an alternate New York called Downworld, filled with mysterious faeries, hard-partying warlocks, not-what-they-seem vampires, an army of werewolves, and the demons who want to destroy it all. She also finds herself torn between two boys — her best friend, Simon, for whom she’s developing new feelings, and the mysterious demon hunter, Jace. She becomes a part of the secret world of the demon hunters, or Nephilim, and as she does she discovers that rescuing her mother might mean putting their whole world in jeopardy. City of Bones is followed by the second book, City of Ashes, and the third, City of Glass. You can find all sorts of detailed information about these books, their plots and characters, and release dates, on my Mortal Instruments website under FAQ: http://www.mortalinstruments.com/mortalfaq.html
City of Heavenly Fire wrapped up the Mortal Instruments series. The next installment of the Chronicles is The Dark Artifices, which takes place five years after CoHF. You can read about them here.
There are three Dark Artifices books: Lady Midnight, Prince of Shadows, and Queen of Air and Darkness. Lady Midnight is tentatively scheduled for release in late 2015 though it is not definite yet.
The Last Hours, the sequel series to The Infernal Devices, begins publishing shortly after Lady Midnight. You can read about it here. It’s about the children of the Infernal Devices characters. So the order of books is:
Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices 1)
Chain of Gold (The Last Hours 1)
Prince of Shadows (The Dark Artifices 2)
Chain of Iron (The Last Hours 2)
Queen of Air and Darkness (The Dark Artifices 3)
Chain of Thorns (The Last Hours 3)
That carries us through for quite a few years, so other than saying that the Shadowhunter Chronicles is intended to wrap up permanently with an installment called The Wicked Powers, I think that’s all I can say right now.
(I’m leaving the Codex, the Bane stories and the Academy stories off as they’re not technically novels/series.)
The Iron Trial, the first book in the Magisterium series, comes out September 9, 2014. There will be an installment of Magisterium every September for the next four years. The second book, The Copper Gauntlet, is scheduled for September 2015.
Hope that helps!
There are going to be six books in the Mortal Instruments series. City of Bones, City of Ashes, and City of Glass are the first three. Coming May 8, 2012, is the fifth book, City of Lost Souls. The entire series will wrap up with City of Heavenly Fire in March, 2014.
The Infernal Devices and the Mortal Instruments series are going to alternate in their publication dates — one ID book, then one TMI book, then one ID book, and so forth! Because the stories overlap and intertwine, it should be fun to read them in publication order — though if you choose not to, that will not affect your comprehension of either series. They complement each other, but each stands alone as a separate story.So for the record, here’s the first publication dates for the next six books, in order (THESE ARE WORLD ENGLISH RELEASE DATES FOR THE UK/USA/CANADA/IRELAND/NZ/AUSTRALIA/SOUTH AFRICA/ETC):
December 6, 2011: The Clockwork Prince
May 8, 2012: City of Lost Souls
Clockwork Princess: March 2013
The Shadowhunter's Codex: November 2013
City of Heavenly Fire: March 2014
The Infernal Devices are a trilogy of prequels to the Mortal Instruments books, set almost 130 years ago. They deal with the adventures of a Downworlder girl named Tessa in a Victorian London where the Accords have only just been finalized and tensions between Shadowhunters and Downworlders are running high. It’s a romantic adventure centering around the Lightwood, Herondale, Wayland, and other Shadowhunter families you’ll know well fromInstruments; Magnus Bane appears in them, etc.
You can read TMI first, or The Infernal Devices first. It doesn't matter. In an ideal world, I generally recommend you read Clockwork Angel and the others between City of Glass and City of Fallen Angels, as it flows with the way the characters from one series connect to the characters in the next, but neither series spoils the other and it genuinely doesn't matter which you read first.
There are three books in the Devices series. The first is Clockwork Angel, the second,Clockwork Prince, the third, Clockwork Princess. They have all been released and the series is complete.
The Dark Artifices is a trilogy, the third installment of the Shadowhunter Chronicles (five are planned.) It takes place five years after the end of the Mortal Instruments, and centers around Emma Carstairs and Julian Blackthorn, who were introduced in City of Heavenly Fire. You can read more about it here: http://www.cassandraclare.com/my-writing/novels/the-dark-artifices/
The Dark Artifices series takes place five years after the events of The Mortal Instruments.
Surviving characters from The Mortal Instruments :> will make appearances in TDA. At that point Clary and co. will be in their early twenties so it will be a matter of checking in to see where they are in their lives, what jobs they have, who has married and who split up, etc. I can promise at least one wedding. :)
It is the series that comes between TID and TMI, that takes place around 1903. It features the children of the characters from The Infernal Devices: Jem, Tessa, Will, the Lightwood brothers, Sophie, Cecily, etc. You can read more about it and see pictures of the characters here:
Ever wondered about the enigmatic, mysterious warlock Magnus Bane? The only character to appear in every Shadowhunter book, Magnus has a past even more shrouded in mystery than his present. I've teamed up with acclaimed YA writers Maureen Johnson and Sarah Rees Brennan to create the Bane Chronicles, the back (and front) tale of Magnus told in ten linked stories.
Look for short stories like Vampires, Scones and Edmund Herondale; The Rise and Fall of the Hotel Dumort; Saving Raphael Santiago and What To Buy The Shadowhunter Who Has Everything (And Who You're Not Officially Dating Anyway). Each story will be available as an ebook on a monthly basis starting April 16 with the tale of What Happened In Peru. Each story will be released monthly online for the next ten months — and then for those who don't read e-books, the full print collection will be available in bookstores and wherever else books are sold after the Chronicles have been finished. (I know it will be available in Brazil, the UK.AUS/NZ and Italy, but I don't know where else yet. We're just starting!)
More stuff about the Bane Chronicles can be found here:
Why, yes! I have a five-book epic fantasy middle grade (think Percy Jackson, Eragon, Harry Potter - that's epic middle grade), cowritten with Holly Black (author of The Spiderwick Chronicles) coming out from Scholastic Books. The first book, The Iron Trial, is scheduled for publication in 2014. After that there will be four more books, each following a year of protagonist Callum Hunt's life as an apprentice magician. Holly and I also have a deal with Constantin Films to write and produce movies of the books.
Never trust a magician. Never pass a test a magician gives you. And never let a magician take you to the Magisterium.
Call is about to break all the rules. And when he does, his life will change in ways he can’t possibly imagine.
The Iron Trial is the first book in an epic fantasy series that I'm cowriting with Holly Black. The Iron Trial, will be released in September 2014 by Scholastic Books. Four books will follow, one for year of Call's life from twelve to seventeen, as he comes of age in a world where child apprentices train to be warriors and dark magicians seek to defeat even death. There's not much else I can say about the books yet, as I'm sworn to secrecy, but I've always wanted to write with Holly, and I can definitely say the collaboration has produced characters I love and a story I hope you'll find as funny, dark, adventurous and unexpected as I do.
- Was the whole Mortal Instruments series planned out in advance, or did you make it up as you went along? How long did it take to write?
I always had the story plotted out from the beginning. I sold the series as a trilogy. That means I had to submit a detailed outline to the publisher of each book in the series. Your publisher wants to know not just that you know how to start a story but also that you know how to end one, and that nothing too crazy happens. So I had the story plotted out, because it was required. I also always knew it would be a trilogy. It is structured on the hero’s journey to the Underworld — the theme of the first book is descent, thus each epigraph makes reference to descent (“The Descent Beckons”, etc.). The theme of the second is hell or the underworld, and all the epigraphs make reference to hell or the underworld (“the Gates of Hell”). The third book’s theme is ascent or heaven, and all the epigraphs make reference to ascent or heaven: “The Road to Heaven.” As for the second trilogy, the themes are temptation ("Fallen Angels"); the fall ("Lost Souls"); and redemption ("Heavenly Fire."). It took me about two years to write the first book and develop the world: since then it’s taken me about a year per book to write the others.
- How did you go from having decided to write the Mortal Instruments as a trilogy, to deciding that it would be four books and then six?
WARNING: SPOILERS FOR THE FIRST THREE BOOKS AHEAD.
I had indeed initially planned not to write more Mortal Instruments books after City of Glass. Two things happened to change that: One, I had written a plot for a graphic novel about what would happen to Simon after the events of Glass, which is why I left so many threads untied at the end of City of Glass (where was Sebastian’s body, what would happen with Simon’s love life, the Seelie Queen’s threat, etc). When the graphic novel didn’t work out, I was left with this storyline and nothing to do with it — it wasn’t enough for a whole book on its own. However, while I was writing the first book in The Infernal Devices, Clockwork Angel, which deals with Jace, Clary, and the Lightwoods’ ancestors, the way events played out in it gave me the idea for a new villain and conflict that might beset the cast of characters from The Mortal Instruments, and connect up to the plotline from the planned graphic novel. I’ve always liked stories where the distant past comes forward to affect the future, so, without being spoilery, when I realized I could connect the events of Infernal Devices to the few loose ends left at the end of Glass, I realized I wouldn’t want to pass up writing that story, especially considering how much chaos I knew it would bring
to the lives of Jace, Clary, Simon, Alec, Magnus, Isabelle and the rest!
Then, in October of last year, I sat down to start writing the story of City of Fallen Angels. I had a detailed outline based in part on the graphic novel idea I had had, but when it came to expanding the outline and writing the story, it just wasn’t working for me. I was on a writing retreat in Mexico with a number of other writers, and when we sat down to go over the issues I was having, I realized that the story I had thought I was telling was really a much bigger story — that my smaller, Simon-centric story had morphed into something much bigger, much more epic, and deeply involving the whole cast of characters from the first three Mortal Instruments books. I realized that what I had on my hands was not a single book that would wrap up the story begun in The Mortal Instruments, but rather the beginning of a new trilogy about these characters. (The fun part was calling my agent and editor to explain “You know that one book I was going to write? Well, actually, it’s three books!” I like to think I could hear heads hitting desks all through Simon and Schuster. But when I submitted the outlines for the new Fallen Angels, City of Lost Souls, and City of Heavenly Fire, they were thrilled with the idea of the new trilogy — and I hope readers will be as well!
I get this question all the time, I think because a lot of people know that Tessa appears briefly in City of Glass. (She is the girl in white Magnus is talking to at the party in the epilogue.) But unfortunately to answer the question any further would involve too many spoilers!
You can find all extras, outtakes and excerpts here.
I might. :) I do find the older generation interesting, and I've gotten more interested in them as I've moved further along in the Mortal Instruments books and delved more into their personalities and pasts. Michael Wayland, Jocelyn Fairchild, Luke Graymark, Stephen Herondale and Amatis Graymark, young Valentine Morgenstern and Hodge Starkweather — I think the story of how a lot of them fell from grace and only some of them came back would be fascinating. Maybe good graphic novel material . . . stay tuned!
Sometimes minor characters are based on people I know — Simon’s friends Eric, Kirk and Matt are all friends of mine. But I’m not writing a thinly veiled version of my own life. These characters are created to fit the needs of the story and to be very much themselves. Sometimes they incorporate aspects of people I know, or have met, like Simon’s sense of humor or Clary’s artistry. Jace, alas, is definitely not based on anyone real.
As for the places in the books, obviously Idris and environs are entirely made up. Most of the Manhattan locations — the Pandemonium Club, the Institute, Garroway’s Books, The Dumont Hotel,Taki’s, are in real places, but don’t actually exist there. The Marble Cemetary (the City of Bones) does exist in some form http://www.marblecemetery.org/ , and the Renwick Smallpox Hospital is a real place.
Yes. Same cat. The necromantic magic practiced on him by the Dark Sisters in Clockwork Angel has made him immortal.
I don't! It would be like choosing favorite children.
All the people and place names in the books are real names. Even Idris and iratze are real words. You can find out their pronunciation by doing this.
Really, it works, I promise. :) The reason I don’t provide a pronunciation guide to the words in the books is that when I was a kid, I used to read all these fantasy books and just make up how the words sounded in my head. Whenever I found out that the author or someone else pronounced the words differently, I’d be really disappointed. If you want to look up the standard pronunciation of the words (which is what is used in the audiobooks) then you can use the above method. But you should also feel free to pronounce them as you like.
The names in my books come from all over the place. Sometimes they can take a long time to develop. Clary Fray is named after two friends of mine. Her name was originally Valerie Frayre (after the artist who designed the runes), then Valerie Frayne, then (when a friend of mine was also writing a book with a heroine named Valerie) Clary Frayne, then Clary Fray (my editor’s choice) — then when I realized Clary was a nickname, she became Clarice, and finally, Clarissa. (She’s not named after me. She is named after my friend Valerie Frayre, and my friend Clary.) Jace was originally named Will, but Jace is a name I always liked, and it needed to be something that could be short for Jonathan (and now the name Will shows up in Clockwork Angel instead). Max and Isabelle are named for my grandparents. Alec’s name was originally Alex, but Alec is a more interesting version of Alexander, I think. Simon and Maia are named after friends of mine, while Maryse, Robert, Jocelyn and others are simply names I picked out of baby name books and the like. (Luke Garroway I picked because it sounded a bit like loup-garou, which is French for werewolf.)
The names of the angels and seraph blades: Ithuriel, Raziel, Israfiel, etc. come from sources of angel mythology. Paradise Lost, the Bible, the Talmud, the Koran, the Enochian magic system, and so forth. They are all, as far as I know, sourceable to specific mythologies. I did not make any of them up, nor did I make up any of the names of the demons, which come from sources of demon mythology like the Lesser Key of Solomon and, of course, the Bible.
City of Bones: Jace
City of Ashes: Clary
City of Glass: Sebastian *
City of Fallen Angels: Clary and Simon
City of Lost Souls: Clary and Jace
City of Heavenly Fire: ?
Clockwork Angel: Will
Clockwork Prince: Jem
Clockwork Princess: Tessa
* In answer to the often asked question "Why does Sebastian have wings on the cover of City of Glass?" : Because in City of Ashes, when Clary prophetically dreams about him (p. 184 in my hardback American copy of Ashes), he has wings. Black ones, covered in blood. Wings are not a sign of inherent goodness; fallen angels have them too. :)
City of Ashes, p. 184: " It was Jace, all in burning gold with his gold eyes and gold hair, and
white-gold wings sprouted from his back, wider and more thickly feathered than any bird’s.
He smiled like a cat and pointed behind her, and Clary turned to see that a dark-haired boy was standing
there, and wings spread from his back as well, feathered black as midnight, and each feather was
tipped with blood."
- Do you have a timeline for the TMI books? Can you tell me when the epilogue of Clockwork Princess takes place?
Yes, there is a timeline. It is spoilery.
...Michael Wayland was dead?
Many people have asked this, probably because it is indicated elsewhere that parabatai can tell when the other one is dead, though it does depend on circumstances and the strength of the bond.
In City of Bones and subsequent books it is made clear that the Lightwoods live "in exile" after having been punished by the Clave for their role in the Uprising. There are a few things that sever parabatai bonds. Death. Someone becoming an Iron Sister or Silent Brother. Someone becoming a Downworlder or mundane. And exile.
As an exile, Robert would not have expected to feel any connection to his parabatai and would not have known he was dead.
Because of the necromantic magic practiced on him by the Dark Sisters in Clockwork Angel.
About the Books