Mundie Moms

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

An Interview with Cassandra Clare About City of Heavenly Fire; TMI Wrap Up Blog Tour & A Giveaway

It's finally here!! City of Heavenly Fire is out in the world and I for one can not wait to read it. It will be a bitter sweet read. One of my all time favorite series is coming to an end. *sniff, sniff* And, with this ending, I know from past reading experiences with Cassie's books, that this ending will be bitters sweet, as not every character will make it. I'm looking forward to finding out what happens with Jace & Clary, and each of the other characters I've come to love. 

Recently I asked Cassie a few questions about the series and City of Heavenly Fire. Before I share her answers, here is a little bit about City of Heavenly Fire.

Published by: Margaret McElderry Books
Released on: TODAY (May 27, 2014)
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books of Wonder
Add it Goodreads
Shadowhunters and demons square off for the final showdown in the spellbinding, seductive conclusion to the #1 New York Times bestselling Mortal Instruments series.
Darkness has descended on the Shadowhunter world. Chaos and destruction overwhelm the Nephilim as Clary, Jace, Simon, and their friends band together to fight the greatest evil they have ever faced: Clary’s own brother. Nothing in this world can defeat Sebastian—but if they journey to the realm of demons, they just might have a chance…
Lives will be lost, love sacrificed, and the whole world will change. Who will survive the explosive sixth and final installment of the Mortal Instruments series?
Gah, lives will be lost and love sacrificed. I am just going to pretend that this series has a Disney fairytale like ending, and everyone goes off into the sunset happily ever after. 

HI Cassie! Thank you for being on Mundie Moms today. Congratulations on today's release of City of Heavenly Fire. I imagine this is a bitter sweet day for you. It's your book's release day, and also the last book in a series you've been writing for years. How do you prepare yourself for saying "goodbye to your characters in The Mortal Instruments?
Well, I’m more prepared for the end than anyone else, because it’s something I’ve been working towards for years. Endings are always bittersweet, but I’ve worked hard to give these characters a resolution that’s worthy of them, so it’s also exciting to send them off into the rest of their lives. I guess I feel a bit like a parent sending a child off to college. “Okay, I’ve done what I can, hopefully you’re ready for the world now.”

There are so many fabulous characters in TMI series. I've enjoyed seeing how each of them has grown and changed. Through out the entire series, which character or characters surprised you the most in regards to the changes and choices they made from the first draft, to the end of the published copy of City of Heavenly Fire?

Certainly Magnus, since he was initially supposed to be a minor character. He had other ideas about that! I think every character does a few zigs and zags from my initial plans for them. I would say that what goes on with Simon in CoHf and the choices he makes take him extremely far away from the way he was first introduced, as this very boyish, sincere, innocent character who exemplified what it meant to be human in this treacherous supernatural world. He’s really been through the fire.

I'm asking you these questions prior to City of Heavenly Fire's release, so I've not read the book yet, but I have to know, what's a favorite line or scene from the book that you can share with us? 

There’s a bit on page 515 of my copy, where Jace and Alec are interacting. I wanted to do some work to explore what it means to them to be parabatai when they’ve both changed so much since the beginning of the books. And Alec says “Thank you for seeing me.” I liked that, because to me that’s what most important fictional relationships, whether they are romantic or platonic, are about. We all want someone who sees us.

Let's talk about the ending. Is the end of City of Heavenly Fire, the conclusion you always knew would happen for The Mortal Instruments series/characters, or did the end change through out the course of writing CoHF?

It’s the ending I planned when I outlined the final three books. Initially I had a different idea how I was going to spin off the story after City of Glass, but when I realized it was essentially going to be a second trilogy, I outlined it very sharply because I intended to braid it into the story of the Infernal Devices. And for that I had to be very careful! The endings had to work together thematically, and also temporally — the epilogue of Clockwork Princess actually takes place during the events of City of Heavenly Fire. Reading The Mortal Instruments had to reward readers of The Infernal Devices but also not punish those who hadn’t read it! So I hope it does both, and I do think the ending of CoFA is the right ending for the series — it’s certainly the ending that was always planned.

Clary will always have a special place in my favorite fictional character heart. She was one of the first YA heroines I read and fell in love with. How would you describe the Clary we first meet in City of Bones, to the Clary we see in City of Heavenly Fire? 

I love how Clary evolves. When I set out to write TMI, I wanted to write an epic hero narrative where the hero is a girl, and a relatively ordinary-seeming girl at that. The series is structured on the hero’s journey to the Underworld — the theme of the first book is descent, the theme of the second is hell or the underworld, and the third book’s theme is ascent or heaven. As for the second trilogy, the themes are temptation ("Fallen Angels"); the fall ("Lost Souls"); and redemption ("Heavenly Fire."). The Clary we meet in City of Bones is mostly concerned with her day-to-day life: her art, her relationships with Jocelyn and Luke and Simon. The Clary we meet in City of Heavenly Fire is a warrior. She knows what she needs to do, and she’s prepared to go to great lengths and make sacrifices in order to do it. But one thing both of them share is that neither of them accepts failure. They’re both determined to fight, against any odds.


Check out where you can find Cassie this week!

About Cassie

Cassandra Clare was born to American parents in Teheran, Iran and spent much of her childhood travelling the world with her family, including one trek through the Himalayas as a toddler where she spent a month living in her father’s backpack. She lived in France, England and Switzerland before she was ten years old.
Since her family moved around so much she found familiarity in books and went everywhere with a book under her arm. She spent her high school years in Los Angeles where she used to write stories to amuse her classmates, including an epic novel called “The Beautiful Cassandra” based on a Jane Austen short story of the same name (and  which later inspired her current pen name).

After college, Cassie lived in Los Angeles and New York where she worked at various entertainment magazines and even some rather suspect tabloids where she reported on Brad and Angelina’s world travels and Britney Spears’ wardrobe malfunctions. She started working on her YA novel, City of Bones, in 2004, inspired by the urban landscape of Manhattan, her favourite city. She turned to writing fantasy fiction full time in 2006 and hopes never to have to write about Paris Hilton again.

Cassie’s first professional writing sale was a short story called “The Girl’s Guide to Defeating the Dark Lord” in a Baen anthology of humor fantasy. Cassie hates working at home alone because she always gets distracted by reality TV shows and the antics of her two cats, so she usually sets out to write in local coffee shops and restaurants. She likes to work in the company of her friends, who see that she sticks to her deadlines.

City of Bones was her first novel.

You can find me online at her Website | Twitter | Tumblr | Facebook 

You can find Cassie at the following places this week (US Tour stops):

Wellesley, MA
When: May 27 @ 7 PM
Where: Wellesley Middle School
50 Kingsburg Street
Get more info HERE

West Chester, PA
When: May 30 @ 6:30 PM
Where: Stetson Middle School
1060 Wilmington Pike
West Chester, PA 19382
Get more info HERE

Cassie will be signing at BEA on SATURDAY from 10-11 am at Table 1 in the Author Signing Area. Stop by! I'll see you there ;)

She'll also be signing with Holly Black on Saturday from 11:30-12:30 at table 3 in the Author Signing Area. 

The Giveaway
Thank you to Simon & Schuster, I've got a SIGNED copy of City of Heavenly Fire and a Shadowhunter hoodie to giveaway to 1 lucky winner! To enter, please fill out the form below *US residents only 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han, Book Review

Written by: Jenny Han
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release Date: April 15, 2014
Source: Purchased
Grade Level: 7 and up
Purchase: Barnes and Noble | IndieBound | Book Depository | amazon
To All the Boys I've Loved Before
Rating: 5 out of 5 shiny scrapbooked stars

Synopsis: Lara Jean's love life goes from imaginary to out of control in this heartfelt novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Summer I Turned Pretty series.

What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them... all at once?

Lara Jean Song keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren't love letters that anyone else wrote for her; these are ones she's written. One for every boy she's ever loved—five in all. When she writes, she pours out her heart and soul and says all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly, Lara Jean's love life goes from imaginary to out of control.

I need to admit a few biases right now -- I love any plot having to do with love letters and sisters. As an only child, I always wondered what it would be like to have an older or a younger sister, and Lara Jean has both. But, she also has a mom who died when her youngest sister was barely a toddler. Living in the perfect shadow of her older sister and in the proximity of her older sister's boyfriend, the boy-next-door Josh, makes life interesting for Lara Jean. Complicating the matter is the fact that her older sister has left for college and somehow the unsent letters to all of Lara Jean's crushes (including Josh) have been sent out.

Those of you who know my taste in books just gasped with me. I was hook-line-and-sinker-ed within the first few chapters. Jenny Han complicates and twists those family bonds so well that I felt like I could invite all the Song girls over for dinner and it would be like having old friends over for a drink. These girls know their roles -- the responsible oldest, the dreaming middle one and the pining-for-a-puppy youngest. But in Jenny's hands they are complex and completely three dimensional.

Jenny also handles that much maligned Love Triangle concept really well. I'm a fan of well executed love triangles, and I know even the biggest critics will love this one. As a reader, we are meant to fall in love with Josh, but Josh isn't always as dreamy a choice as he appears to be. Conversely, Peter (the big man on campus) isn't as stuck-up and jerk-ish as he appears to be. The blurring of these lines makes choices much more difficult and therefore much more realistic. I won't tell you who I was cheering for, but it may have to do with a certain boy in a hot tub who knows just the kind of donuts a certain girl likes. See? No spoilers.

Then there's Jenny's gorgeous phrasing and ability to convey the deepest sadness and disappointment as well as a poetic understanding of family ties. I think I highlighted more quotes in this story than I have in any other this year or last. Here's one of my favorites (from page 294):
When someone's been gone a long time, at first you save up all the things you want to tell them. You try to keep track of everything in your head. But it's like trying to hold on to a fistful of sand: all the little buts slip out of your hands, and then you're just clutching air and grit. That's why you can't save it all up like that.
Watching Lara Jean mature and step out of the spotlight of her older sister reminded me of so many of those "new chapter" moments in my own life. Those moments when I accepted changes, new people and yes, shocking developments. I'm placing this on my Share with the Kids bookshelf. In fact, I've already told my soon-to-be-sixth-grader about it. I have a feeling that she will love this story as much as her mama does.