Op Zondag 9 November waren Cassandra Clare en Holly Black aanwezig op de Boekenbeurs in Antwerpen. De auteurs deden daar een gezamenlijke signeersessie, en aan het eind van de dag deden zij ook nog een panel.
De signeersessie werd druk bezocht, al ruim een uur voor de signeersessie stond er al een flinke rij. Om circa 13 uur arriveerden Cassandra en Holly en begon het signeren. Helaas mochten er maar twee boeken per persoon gesigneerd worden, maar dacht mocht de pret niet drukken. Er werden ook foto’s gemaakt door YA Bookbuzz van het signeren, en deze zijn terug te vinden op hun Facebook pagina.
Wij hebben zelf ook wat foto’s gemaakt.
Daarna was het een paar uur wachten tot het panel met beide dames, maar om 16 uur was het dan eindelijk zover! Cassandra en Holly werden onder luid applaus verwelkomd.
Allereerst lieten ze de trailer van The Iron Trial / De IJzerproef zien.
Daarna vertelden zij het een en ander over hun samenwerking en hoe zij elkaar ontmoet hebben. Holly vertelde dat zij elkaar zo’n twaalf jaar geleden ontmoet hebben, op Holly’s allereerste signeersessie. Cassandra had vooraf Holly’s eerste boek, Tithe, gelezen en elkaar online ontmoet. Ze kwamen erachter dat ze veel dingen met elkaar in gemeen hadden: dat ze dezelfde boeken hadden gelezen en allebei boeken aan het schrijven waren. Ze werden dus goede vrienden en lazen en beoordeelden elkaars manuscripten. Hierdoor waren ze gewend met elkaar te werken, dus daarom hadden ze al eerder het idee om samen een boek te schrijven.
Cassandra was destijds Rick Riordan’s The Sea of Monsters aan het lezen, wat ze een erg goed boek vond, en dat ze een graag een boek over kinder van die leeftijd zou willen schrijven. Holly had al eerder boeken over jongere kinderen (The Spider Chronicles) geschreven, én, met dank aan de koffie (het was vroeg), verklaarde Holly dat ze een idee had! Na een gezamenlijke vlucht op een vliegtuig hadden hadden ze het idee voor de Magisterium serie uitgewerkt.
Daarna dachten ze na over waar de serie zich zou afspelen. Holly kwam met het idee om de boeken ondergronds te laten afspelen, gebaseerd op de Luray Caverns in Virginia (V.S.), waar zij als kind eens geweest was, omdat het griezelig en donker was.
Hierna vertelden ze over de serie zelf: Het gaat over een jongen, Callum Hunt, die écht niet naar de magische school, het Magisterium, wil. Cassandra dacht dat dit een leuk idee zou zijn omdat, in de meeste verhalen, kinderen meestal wel naar magie school willen. Call will dit dus niet, omdat hij denkt dat de leraren hem zullen vermoorden. Zijn vader heeft hem dat verteld, en daarom faalt Call opzettelijk de proeven om tot het Magisterium te worden toegelaten. Hij faalt de proeven echter zo goed, dat de leraren van het Magisterium hem toch uitkiezen. Dat is waar The Iron Trial / De IJzerproef begint.
Cassandra en Holly wilden een boek over een magische school schrijven, dat niet was wat mensen ervan zouden verwachten. Call gaat dus naar het Magisterium, beleeft avonturen, en komt ook een aantal dingen over zichzelf te weten die hij niet wist. Cassndra en Holly verklapten ook dat zij het tweede boek, The Copper Gauntlet, inmiddels af hebben en volgend jaar in de herfst zal verschijnen.
Hierna volgden er vragen van de interviewer. (in het Engels)
Interviewer: In the book you have five different elements: fire, water, earth, air and chaos. If you could control one of these elements, which would it be and why? And what would you do with it?
Holly Black: I would want to control water, cause I like to swim. I reckon that if I could control water, I could swim wherever I wanted. At any time I wanted. Like right now.
Cassandra Clare: I would control chaos. One of the things about creating this elemental system was utilizing chaos as an element, which isn’t something you see al that often. And it’s sort of the idea of chaos as a force that can create anything, so I would be able to create an army of, you know, zombie warriors that would do anything I wanted. And that would be pretty awesome.
Interviewer: Did you also have some heavy conversations or fights?
HB: At one point we were interviewed by someone who asked “So have you guys had any disagreements? DON’T LIE.” So we were like: “I guess we know what the answer needs to be”. We have certainly had disagreements along the way. We had a lot of back and forth about what we were going to do about it. It wasn’t really like we didn’t agree, it’s more like it was hard to get it exactly right. One of us kept having an idea, and then the other person kept going “well, not quite”. The biggest argument that we had was about a scene in which the kids were someplace and having a conversation and them some mages arrived. Cassie thought they should have had more conversation before the mages arrived, and I thought that was ridiculous. (veel gelach) And we battled, until Sarah Rees Brennan (co-auteur van The Bane Chronicles), who was there with us, ran out of the room, yelling “co-writing, it goes bad! It ruins friendships! It ruins everything!”.
CC: And then she came back in half an hour, and we had worked it out and it was fine. I won, so it was good.
HB: We’re having a fight now. It’s over a single line.
CC: Yeah, the line is “Tamara glared”.
HB: I want it out.
CC: I want it in. We’re still fighting about that. The thing is,you have to let go some control over the book, when you’re co-writing. When you write your own books, you’re in complete control. I don’t think we’ve had major problems, and I kind of like giving up some control.
HB: I think we always try to find a third option that will satisfy both of us. Like if it’s between keeping a line or taking out a line, we might choose another line.
Interviewer: Do you want The Iron Trial to be a movie or series?
CC: The movie rights were bought by Constantin Films. One of the conditions of them buying the rights was that we could write the screenplay. Which is nice, because usually you don’t get anything to do with it. So Holly and I wrote a first draft of the screenplay, and we’re working on a second draft. So I think we would be really excited about it, because it would be something that we really contributed to.
Interviewer: In your books you have a lot of magic creatures. If you could be one of those creatures, which one would you choose?
CC: I would be a warlock, because you get to live forever. Like a vampire, but you don’t have to drink blood. And I think drinking blood is gross. And I would be sad if I couldn’t walk in the daylight. I would like the immortality, without the blooddrinking.
HB: Blood is not gross to a vampire.
CC: It’s gross to me! As a warlock you can eat whatever you want. Well, you would have a warlock mark, so I could have a horn right out of my head. But I’d hope I’d have something cool like Magnus.
HB: I guess I’d be a fairy.
CC: Of course you would.
HB: And I’d make up lots of riddles. Oh, and ruin people’s lives.
Interviewer: When will the second book come out?
HB: It should come out next fall. We’re done with the first draft. We’re making it better. It should be one book every September for the next four years.
Vervolgens kreeg het publiek ook de kans om vragen te stellen. Hierzo een selectie van de leukste en meest interessante vragen.
Question: Do you know whether they will keep the cast for the (The Mortal Instruments) TV series?
CC: I don’t know, because right now they’re writing the series. I saw the TV people last week. They said to me, what you have to do with a television show is that you have to take it to a network, and the network are the ones who have a lot of input. Usually what happens to a television show is, that you take to a network with four or five actors attached to each part, and the network picks the one they want. So it would really depend on what the network wanted. So there’s no way I would know, and there’s no way any of the people making the show would know. I mean, it would be nice, but unlikely.
HB: And it would depend on whether the cast would want to do it.
CC: It would depend on whether the ast would want to do it. They would have to all be available. The network would have to want all of them for every single part, and they would have to agree not to be in any other movies for the next five years. It’s a difficult procedure to all of those things lined up.
Question: While reading The Iron Trial I was a bit confused about what the counterweight to the Makar was.
HB: We definitely are going to explain it more in The Copper Gauntlet, where they have to start to live with it. What a counterweight is, in a magic system when you use an element for magical purposes, so when you want to heat up a room with fire, the counterweight for fire is water. So when you use a lot of fire energy, water keeps you from being pulled into the fire. In each case of these elements have this counterweight. The counterweight of chaos is soul magic.
CC: So it’s a person. So that Call offers to be a counterweight to the Makar means that at some point they will be bound together magically, and will be the counterwight to the Makar’s use of chaos. It would draw on Call’s humanity.
HB If you draw too heavily on the soul to balance your chaos magic, you could end up killing that person.
CC: Not an easy job being a counterweight.
Question: Do you know whether the TV series will stick to the books?
CC: i hope they will stick to the book. I think they already did the movie, which did not stick to the storyline of the book, and hopefully they will kind of look at that and decide “well, let’s try something that’s closer to what the books are about”. Certainly when you’re adapting to a television show, you have more room to include things. The books have a lot in them, a lots of facts, stories, a lot of characters. I think, with the movie, they really struggled to fit all of that stuff in. So, for the television show, I would hope that with thirteen hours instead of an hour and a half, that they would have more space to put those backstories in. I don’t know and I won’t know until I see the pilot. So, fingers crossed. And I really hope they don’t do one of those things where they think “well, it’s the Shadowhunters, but they’re all, like you know, postal service delivery people now. (veel gelach) Cause I don’t think any of us would watch it.
Question: If you’re starting to write a novel, how do you start? With the characters or the storyline or backgrounds?
CC: Oh, difficult question, because everyone does it differently. For me, it’s characters and a couple of situations. Like I know I want to do a couple of different things and I have a couple of set characters. Like with The Infernal Devices I knew I wanted to do Victorian London and I knew I wanted a warlock who changed shape and a boy who had a curse on him and automaton monsters. I developed a story around that. an interesting story about people.
HB: I start out with an image. I just finished a book called The Darkest Part of the Forest and I start out with this image of a sleeping faery prince in a glass coffin with all these smashed bottles around it. For the Curse Workers series I thought, what if I take the fairytale of the white cat and mobsters and smash that together. You start with what you’ve got, whatever that is, and extrapolate out from that.
CC: I think most of us have a couple of characters or situations or a set of ideas and go from there.
Question: When is Jonathan’s birthday?
CC: Evil Jonathan?
Fan: Yeah. (veel gelach)
CC: Um, honestly I never think of my characters’ birthdays. Like, people always ask me and I’m like “I don’t know”. (veel gelach) To me it’s not really important. Possibly because I don’t believe in astrology.
HB: (heel hoog stemmetje) I don’t think of a character’s birthdays. (veel gelach)
CC: Sometimes. I prefer to back engineer it. Like, he’s a year and a half older than Clary, and her birthday is in August, so his birthday is somewhere in the Winter. So I could guess the month or something, but unless the birthday is really important to the storyline somehow, I don’t actually ever think about it. To me it’s, I know that it’s something that lots of people would like to know. To me it’s like, it’s not important to the character, it’s not as important as creating an arm or…
HB: I think he should be a Scorpio.
CC: He could be a Scorpio, but I don’t even know what that means. I don’t know anything about Astrology! Does it mean he’s grumpy? I don’t know. What’s an evil sign? Okay, he’s an Scorpio.
Question: (Voor Cassie) If you could bring back one person that has died during TMI or TID, who would it be and why?
CC: I would bring back Ragnor Fell, because I killed him when he was a pretty minor character. And then he became a much bigger character in The Infernal Devices and then he became an even bigger character in The Bane Chronicles. And so, he was like this really important guy and did all this awesome stuff and was really good friends with Magnus and Catarina. And I felt really bad for giving him such an off-screen death. I was like “Oh, Ragnor. Man I feel really bad about this”. So I would definitely bring Ragnor back. Also, I think Magnus would be very happy, because it would be nice to see his friend again. I know you were hoping for like Max or something, but I’m pretty content with most of the characters that I killed, I think that they (lachend) should stay dead.
HB: Yeah, I think you should bring back Ragnor too.
CC: My husband has a t-shirt that says “Ragnor lives”. That’s how strongly he feels about it. (veel gelach)
Question: Are you planning to make a TV series of The Infernal Devices?
CC: They told me that, you know, if The Mortal Instruments does well they could do a spin-off series of The Infernal Devices. so you should all watch it. Even if it sucks, cause then they might do a series of The Infernal Devices and that would be awesome.
Question: Would you ever want to date any of your main characters?
CC: I think that applies to both of us.
HB: I think it would be like dating myself. (veel gelach) I mean, as much as they’re really separate from me, in some ways I think the fact that I have to get inside of them and really think as they think, it would be strangely like dating me.
CC: Yeah, it’s hard to think of your characters that way, because you have more of a relationship with them like with your children. But I would totally date Holly’s characters, like I would definitely date Cassel from The Curse Workers, because I like his devious mind. So who would you date from my books?
HB: Will. (veel gelach) Well, you know I like a crazy guy!
CC: I know! Everyone else likes him because he reads and is sensitive, but Holly likes him because he’s crazy and chases demons around.
HB: My favourite scene is when he’s chasing that demon, and Tessa and Magnus have this conversation like outside a morgue with Will and the demon like (gebaart dat Will de demon achtervolgt). That’s the moment I knew I loved him.
Question: (Voor Cassie) Do you have any more information about the upcoming series?
CC: Well, it’s called The Dark Artifices and it’s set in Los Angeles, instead of New York. It takes place about five years after the end of City of Heavenly Fire. It focuses on characters that would have met if you already read City of Heavenly Fire: Julian Blackthorn, Emma Carstairs and Julian’s family, Mark Blackthorn. I’m working on finishing it right now. It’s really fun to write and you get to see characters from The Mortal Instruments and five years down the road you can check in with them and see what they’re doing and who’s got what job and who’s married and who’s still together and who has kids and all that. So I think it’s kind of cool to see where they are and their future, and I’ve also really enjoyed writing about Emma and Julian and Julian’s family. They’re really fun characters and I really loved them, hopefully you guys will love them too. I’m really excited about it.
HB: The book is great. It’s super beautiful and chuck full of fearies. (lachend)
CC: Yeah, there’s like all these faeries, cause Mark, their brother, was taken by faeries in the sixth book of The Mortal Instruments and that’s the last we’ve seen of him, but in the beginning of this book he comes back and it’s like, well is he back with he family because he wants to be or is he still loyal to the faeries, what’s he doing, is he a double agent? And so, there’s all these faeries and they’re like talking with Mark. They have all this fancy language, and they never lie, but they never quite tell the truth either.
HB: You know, I’d date Mark Blackthorn.
CC: Is it because he’s crazy?
CC: He is crazy. His years with the faeries have left him somewhat insane. I just wanted to write about L.A. because that was where I grew up, so it’s all my life, my old childhood and all the stuff that we did. Now the characters get to do it too.
Question: I’ve seen a lot of people complain that The Iron Trial is just a Harry Potter rip-off and I was wondering how you feel about that.
HB: Well, it’s funny, the book that I wrote before this was a vampire book, so I’ve been used to answering questions like this question.
CC: Like, Twilight for a year and a half, right?
HB: It was like, “So, how do you feel about writing a book about vampires?”, like Twilight has been the only book about vampires in the universe. You, the thing about coming into writing a book with a magic school in it, is that you are throwing your pack into a ring where people are very, very, very familiar with other books and really, really love them. I mean, Harry Potter is possibly the most famous book in the universe. Aliens are reading Harry Potter. Aliens are sorting themselves into Hogwarts houses. And it’s a little intimidating to say “we have written a magic school book”. But I think the thing is, that there have been more magic school books that predate Harry Potter. Diana Wynne Jones wrote books that we loved, Jane Yolen wrote books that we loved.
CC: For me and Holly, we tend to see this complaint coming from people who saw Harry Potter as the magic school book, they grew up with it and it’s also the best known one in the world. But it’s not the one that we grew up with, we had different magic school books. So, when I read Harry Potter, one of the things I liked about it was that it referenced to all this other books. Like, moving paintings that talk in a magic school, that’s from Jane Yolen. And a train that leaves from King’s Cross Station and takes you to magical school and no one else can see it, that’s from The Secret of Platform Thirteen, I’ve read that before. A boy who has a scar on his forehead and black hair and green eyes who is visited by a magician who gives him an owl, that’s The Books of Magic by Neil Gaiman. Well, so I understand Harry Potter is super well known, but there’s can’t never be another magic school book. And I tend to think, well maybe you should read other books that aren’t Harry Potter. You would probably realise that the things you thought were unique to Harry Potter were not unique to Harry Potter. They are actually common to the whole genre of magic school books in which we are participating. It is part of the genre the same way Ironman is part of the superhero genre. Of course they overlap. And we could not have existed without books like Harry Potter and Percy Jackson, because they set up a series of expectations. They set up this idea that if you’re going to read a boy who is going to be a magician, that he’s going to be a hero and he’s going to be the powerful magician they have all been waiting for and that he’s going to save the world. And if you’ve read The Iron Trial, you know none of those things are true, in fact their opposite is true. But, it’s only surprising because those are the assumptions you made given that you know Harry Potter. We sold our book to the same people who published Harry Potter and they said, “We don’t know, we haven’t sold any magic school books since Harry Potter, but this is like the opposite of that, the opposite of Harry Potter, and we want to represent both sides of the spectrum”.
Question: Did any characters from your former books inspire you?
HB: I definitely think that there’s certain kind of characters that we both really like, and that you can even see relationships between them. I definitely see parallels with Call with some of the books that I’ve written before. I definitely see some of Jared from The Spiderwick Chronicles in Call and I see some of Cassel from The Curse Workers in Call. But I also see some of Cassie’s characters in Call.
CC: Yeah, there’s some of Jace in there, because he’s pretty sarcastic and rebellious. And you know, all of your characters are, in extent, you, so there’s always going to be a little bit of reminiscent overlap. I think there’s certain things about Call, that are like what I think Jace might have been like when he was twelve.
HB: Well, I don’t think I’ve ever written anyone like Aaron before.
CC: Neither, have I. I remember seeing somewhere that he was built in the hero factory. (lachend)
Question: While writing a book, have you ever become so emotional that you cried?
HB: I have cried. Only once. And it wasn’t at a time when I thought I would, since I never cry when writing a death scene. There was this moment where, after all these terrible things had happened, the main character came back home to where his grandfather was. And it was a scene where it was just after everything had happened, and I just sat crying while writing it, thinking “This is so weird”. This never, ever happens to me and I’m completely dry eyed no matter how many terrible things I write. But I did actually have that one time.
CC: Yeah, I’ve cried. And I’ve felt you don’t always cry when you think you’re going to, sometimes you’re, you know, whatever catharsis it is, is at an odd time. But I definitely cried while I was writing the epilogue to Clockwork Princess, because it was about how life inevitably proceeds and death inevitably happens and also aging inevitably happens and loss happens, and you can never go back to a place or a time. But it was so sad to me, like it’s a true thing about life and I think we have a responsibility to write about the truth about life. It was a very, it’s very much central to the idea of being immortal and I wanted to kind of explore the aspect that if you’re immortal, you’re standing still while everything else is moving forward, and that means everything you love will be carried away. So I definitely teared up while I was writing it.
Question: How do you decide on the cover of a book? And how do you make it.
HB: Alright, terrible news. We don’t decide. Our publishers do allow us to have input, but by and large, they make decisions about what the cover is going to look like, and we get to pick from somewhat limited options.
CC: Also, when you’re starting out as a writer, don’t even think that you’re going to ever, ever going to be able to pick your cover, because you’re not. Like I got the cover of my first book in the mail, like “I hope you like it, we’ve printed this many”, so I thought “Okay“. (gelach)
HB: I’m sure it’s not great news for all of you who want to become writers, you’re like “Wait!”
CC: But, as you become a more established writer, you do get more control and you start to get control written into your contract. At this point you do get to say “I don’t like that or I do like that”, but usually you’re making small changes, like “I don’t like that font or I don’t like that colour or I don’t like that position”. You can make some alterations, but mostly you just get presented with a cover and “hope you like it”.
CC: For the Magisterium, Scholastic was actually really awesome and she gave us two different covers and it was like “pick your favourite”, but even then you’re picking from two options.
HB: And they were definitely herding us to one option.
CC: Oh yeah, that’s true. They were like “Pick from these two options. We like the first one. If you want to pick the second one, I guess you can pick the second one, but…
HB: No one will like it.
HB: We actually really liked the second one, but we also liked the first one, so it worked out.
CC: You’re still sad about the second one?
HB: Sometimes. It was really different, so.
CC: But from foreign publishers, you won’t even see those. You’ll maybe see them four years after the book comes out, when you’re wandering through a bookstore in Mongolia and you’re like, “That’s my book. Why does it have a horse on it?” No one will tell you. no one will communicate with you, and if they do it will be in a language you don’t understand. And then they will also not respond to anything that you say.
CC: We’re sorry to depress you, but this is the truth. Do we have anything happy to say? (veel gelach)
HB: Um, sure. Lots of, I don’t know. Tomorrow’s my birthday!
CC: I know Clary’s birthday is August 22nd, because it’s my best friend’s birthday. So she has her birthday in City of Bones, so I did actually have to figure out when it was. So it’s my best friend’s birthday, so I’ll always remember it. And later I had to figure out that Jace was born in January, so I don’t know what that makes him. And The Bane Chronicles comes out next Tuesday and I’m very happy about that. I’m excited! And I think that’s it! Thank you all so much!
Hopelijk heeft iedereen die naar de Boekenbeurs in Antwerpen is geweest ook genoten van deze bijzondere dag, en hopelijk kan iedereen die er helaas niet bij kon zijn er nu toch een beetje bij zijn.
And Thank you Cassie and Holly, for coming (somewhat) near our home! It was an amazing day, and we would love to have you (back) in The Netherlands or Belgium in the future!