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20 Of Your Most Burning Questions Answered By Cassandra Clare

From Shadowhunters to Lord of Shadows — she's got it all.

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Cassandra Clare is a #1 New York Times bestselling author who has written many series including The Mortal Instruments, The Infernal Devices, and The Dark Artifices. Shadowhunters, on Freeform, is a television show based on her books. We asked members of the BuzzFeed community what burning questions they had for Cassandra, and she happily answered them.

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Yes. I’ll be writing more about characters who we already know such as Magnus, Alec, Helen, and Aline, including a series about Magnus and Alec specifically. Mark and Kieran are, of course, major characters in The Dark Artifices, and their romance is pretty significant. Neither Ty nor Kit is straight. Anna is a significant lesbian character in The Last Hours, and there will also be (working on no spoilers) significant female characters, who aren't straight, in The Wicked Powers. And Diana was just introduced as our first major transgender character in Lord of Shadows.

After I finish up The Dark Artifices, I plan to write two more Shadowhunter trilogies: The Last Hours (about the next generation after The Infernal Devices) and The Wicked Powers (wrapping up the whole TMI/TDA story). I’m also writing The Eldest Curses, a trilogy focused on Magnus and Alec, with [Time Salvager author] Wesley Chu. I’ve got plans for another set of short stories set between The Infernal Devices and The Last Hours. As of now, I’m planning to end the story arc of The Shadowhunter Chronicles with The Wicked Powers, but with so much to write between then and now, I’m not saying anything definitive yet! Meanwhile, I have been thinking about projects I’d like to work on outside the Shadowhunter world.

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The British special hardback — it’s so beautiful, with a stamped design of the parabatai rune.

The death that happens at the end of Lord of Shadows, but I can’t talk about that yet, unfortunately. So I’d say Will’s death. Why? I suppose because of his relationships with Jem, Tessa, and his family. There was a whole lot of love tying him to the mortal world, so I had to go through the loss of him with a lot of characters.

The London Institute — because I love London! I’m always happy when I’m there. Maybe because it has so much rich literary history, and the idea that I’m walking where Dickens walked makes me dizzy.

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There are certain runes that are always permanent, like the marriage rune, the parabatai rune, and the Voyance rune — there’s no temporary version. Then there are runes that are never permanent, like the healing rune. It doesn’t make sense to have a rune like that constantly activated, when you only need it sometimes. There are some runes, like agility, that could be permanent or temporary, but they would rarely be made permanent. To make all runes permanent would be seen as a waste of angelic power — Raziel’s idea was to give the Nephilim a tool, a way to tap into the power of heaven when they most need it, not a faucet they could leave running all the time. That wouldn’t be very efficient. Making runes bigger doesn’t make them more powerful or long-lasting, but some individuals maintain that neatly drawn runes work better than sloppily drawn runes.

I think we often love a villain because villains bring heightened stakes to a story. They give Team Good a reason to fight, a way for us to see the characters we’re invested in show what motivates them and what they’re made of. Even in action stories, we’re there for the characters, so we appreciate anything that reveals more about what makes them tick — including what makes the villains tick.

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It took me about three years to write. I was lucky to be accepted by an agent on the strength of the manuscript for City of Bones. He sent it to about six publishers, and I’d say I got three nos and three yeses. The nos are always hard, but years down the road, you look back and think, “Yeah, I wouldn’t have been a good fit with that editor/publisher."

Probably Lord of Shadows. There’s a big character death in it, and while I was writing it my stepfather died — someone to whom I have been very close for most of my life. So I was writing this death with the feeling that a big hole had been punched through my life by grief. I think as writers we alchemize our pain into stories: We put them out in the world for people to share and relate to. It can be hard to read bad things happening to characters, but when only good things happen to characters we can no longer relate to them: No one’s life is like that. It’s been said that we read to know we are not alone, and that means muddling through grief, too. That doesn’t mean it isn’t hard to put my characters through pain, because it is!

The chapter "Ultima Thule" is a heartbreaker. "Ultima Thule" means far north. It’s also in a way an expression that means you’ve reached the end of the map, uncharted territory. I think what happens to the characters in that chapter is something so big and terrible it’s uncharted territory for all of them.

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We probably won’t be hearing much about Cameron. He was a red herring, meant to mislead readers into thinking he'd be a contender for Emma's heart. He himself is not important to the plot. (Sorry, Cam, but you know it’s true.)

Magnus and Alec will be the subjects of a trilogy titled The Eldest Curses. That’s the only book-length spinoff based on the TMI characters I have planned at the moment, though I may write more short stories about them. ("A Long Conversation," a short story about Clary, Jace, Simon, Isabelle, and others is available now at Amazon and wherever e-books are sold.) In terms of not liking characters, boy, do I not like Zara from Lord of Shadows.

The political situation of the faerie courts figures prominently in Lord of Shadows and Queen of Air and Darkness. The king of the Unseelie Court has a banner that shows a crown split in half, showing his belief that Seelie and Unseelie should be one court, not two, so it’s very likely we’ll go into more about how and why they separated so long ago and whether they will or should unite.

It’s very likely they’ll be involved in ongoing stories — you see a lot of them in TDA and will see more of them in TWP — but unlikely they’ll be the “main characters” again, so to speak. They’re now all 24, which is old for YA novels — practically decrepit!

I think Magnus and Anna from Last Hours would get along well. Also Jace and Will.

Nobody knows if they’ll have kids…yet! It’s a super fun idea in a lot of ways, because, of course, little kids with blond hair and green eyes running around making trouble would be fun. But discussing it now also spoils who survived The Wicked Powers — which is probably the biggest battle the Shadowhunters have ever faced.

As a writer, what interests me about love stories and couples is constantly telling different stories. All love stories should be different: It’s not just more compelling for readers — it’s more compelling for me. It means I’m never writing the same dynamic twice. Jem and Tessa are very different than Magnus and Alec or Jace and Clary or Emma and Julian. I also love huge obstacles that put themselves in the way of a romantic pairing. Often the bigger the obstacle, the more fun it is for me!

Getting to meet readers. I love talking to people I just met about these characters who’ve lived in my head for so long. I love hearing people’s stories about reading the books, especially when they talk about connecting with a character like Ty or Alec or Helen. There are always lots of hugs and tears.

Probably Magnus, so he could tell me scandalous stories from his long life. Maybe we could meet up at a café in Paris or something.

I’d like to be a warlock, so I could use magic, and I would definitely want to live forever but without the problem vampires have — no sunlight, drinking blood. I’d also hope for a cool warlock mark, like wings. You don’t want anything too extreme. For The Eldest Curses Wes Chu created a warlock who was half duck, half fish, and I was like, “Too far, buddy. Too far.”

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Note: Question submissions have been edited for length/clarity.

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