Friday, April 20, 2012

Cassandra Clare and Holly Black to write 'Iron Trial' series

 It's been an exciting week to be a Shadowhunter! First, we trended #WhatIsSebastianHiding, which went to #2 in world wide trending on Twitter. Then, we were treated to things to come in The Mortal Instruments series with the premiere of the City of Lost Souls trailer. Yesterday, Simon and Schuster announced that Cassandra Clare will co-writing a middle grade fantasy series called The Iron Trial with another best selling writer, Holly Black, most notably known for penning The Spiderwick Chronicles. Iron is scheduled to be released in 2014 and has already been optioned for a movie!

First and foremost, a little on the new book series. 

"Millions of readers have already been enthralled by the worlds that Ho"ly Black and Cassandra Clare have created in their own books," said David Levithan, VP/Publisher and Editorial Director at Scholastic. “Now that they’re combining forces, it's even more magical. This series is going to be one for the ages, and I am honored and thrilled to be publishing it."

"This project is the culmination of years of work and brainstorming with Holly," said Cassandra Clare. "She’s someone I've always wanted to write with, and I can’t express how proud we are of the story we’ve created, or how excited we are to work with Scholastic and David. And we can’t wait for people to read it, of course!"

"We’re so excited to be working on this series with David Levithan and everyone at Scholastic," added Holly Black. "From the moment it crossed his desk, he totally got it. He’s been the perfect reader for the books and we know he’s going to be the perfect editor too."
n this exciting new series, twelve-year-old Callum Hunt has grown up knowing three rules by heart. Never trust a magician. Never pass a test a magician gives you. And never let a magician take you to the Magisterium. Callum is about to break all the rules. And when he does, his life will change in ways he can’t possibly imagine.

MTV's Holllywood Crush spoke to Cassie about the new project. "I feel incredibly lucky to be working with Constantin on a second project," Cassie told Hollywood Crush via email. "They really get stuff done and they really include me. I'm so excited they loved the story. And Holly would say she's thrilled to have had such a huge response from the publishing and entertainment communities to the project, and she can't wait to see it as a film. We promised each other if it got optioned we'd get matching tattoos so no backing out now!" 
Cassie then went to her Tumblr to share her thoughts on 

On Shadowhunter and my series
dragonmother asked you:
So excited to see what you and Holly do together! I loved her Spiderwick books when I was younger, and I’m currently reading White Cat, since you suggested it in your list of favorite books earlier. I really think she has a good grasp at witty writing, just as you do, so you’ll both mix perfectly. Not a question, but just my ‘cant wait’.
Thanks so much. I’ve gotten lots of lovely messages and congrats so — thank you for everyone who dropped a kind word. A new project is always so exciting.
I actually did think, when I posted about this, that most people would be excited. So that was maybe wrong of me. It’s one of the things about social networking — you start to know people online and you get to think of them as “friends” and so when suddenly a lot of negativity comes from them, it throws you off-kilter because you think, “But - wouldn’t they ask me about this before assuming things?” Because that’s what friends do. But online social networking and being “friends” isn’t the same thing, and the relationship between readers and creators can be really tricky to navigate.
So, first I should say that when I first announced the Infernal Devices I got a lot of the same reaction. A lot of nice comments, which I don’t discount at all, and a lot of people really, really angry that I was writing something that wasn’t Mortal Instruments. “I don’t want anything that doesn’t have Jace and Clary in it” ranging to “anything you write that isn’t Mortal Instruments, I will tear apart and burn.”
Well. So, here we are some years later, and goodness, I am sure not all of you like the Infernal Devices, but certainly it seems like a lot of you do, and really care what happens to Jem, Tessa and Will. I had thought that’s why the reaction to Dark Artifices was largely positive — that you’ve come to trust me that even if the characters are different, I can still write a story you like (if you like my other stories. If you hate the other ones, I can only assume you are following me for Sherlock gifs.)
Now the series that starts with the Iron Trial (that’s not what they’re called — I am not really allowed to talk about the series name, anything that happens in them, any characters but Callum, or anything else about the books, so it’s very difficult to discuss them AT ALL, but let’s just call them the Iron series for the sake of expediency …)  are of course not just a different set of characters, but a different world and even a different kind of book, so I can see how that would be more alarming. Let me try to break down what seems to concern people most:
“These books are going to push back the dates of the Shadowhunters books/these books are the reason why we’re getting Dark Artifices late.”
They’re not going to push back the Shadowhunters books. And you are not getting Dark Artifices late. The Iron books have in fact not pushed back the dates of the publication of City of Heavenly Fire and Clockwork Princess. They have pushed them up.
Yes. Up. Because of the books I am doing with Holly, you are going to get the next Shadowhunters books sooner, not later.
Let me break this down. Originally, when I scheduled the publication dates of the Shadowhunter books with Simon and Schuster, we were trying to get one out about every nine months. This is an insane schedule. It is, I was told by everyone, a “not-doable” schedule for a writer, because these books are long — about 120,000 words each — and writing a book takes a while. Generally, it is assumed, a year. But I thought “I can do this! I write fast and who needs sleep!” Clockwork Angel came out September 2010, then CoFA March of 2011, and Clockwork Prince was scheduled for September 2012. Except, because I was writing so much that I wasn’t doing other things like sleeping or regularly eating, I started having intervals where I blacked out, and eventually I fell down the steps of my driveway and broke two ribs and my wrist.
And that was something of a wake-up call, because I realized if I kept on at the pace I was at, I would be dead soon, and there would not be more books.
So (because of the broken bones) Clockwork Prince was pushed from September 2011 to December 2011. City of Lost Souls was pushed from March to May. And my agent went in and talked with Simon & Schuster, and pushed back Clockwork Princess to September 2013, and City of Heavenly Fire to December 2014. You can confirm this by going to the Books page at where they still have the old publication date for Clockwork Princess listed ; — September, 2013. And when we originally started discussing the Dark Artifices, the publication date was going to be around December, 2015. Because it was clear that writing more than one Shadowhunter book a year was going to kill me and probably kill my editor too.
Meanwhile, Holly and I had had the idea for the Iron books (we actually had it ages ago when it was a particularly crazy theory and we thought ‘what an awesome book that would make! Someone should write it!’ and then realized that probably … we should) and I was trying to figure out how they would fit in my schedule. One thing you don’t want is two books of yours coming out too close to each other. That is very bad for writers, for reasons complicated and boring to go into, but it’s true. If you have two a year, you want them as far apart as possible.
So while scheduling ourselves, I decided the Iron books would be fall books, which meant the Shadowhunter books would have to come out in spring. Which meant Clockwork Princess got pushed UP from September, 2013, to March, 2013. And City of Heavenly Fire got pushed up from December, 2014, to March/April, 2014. And the Dark Artifices look to be being released in Spring, 2015, rather than winter, 2015.
So yeah. If it weren’t for the Iron books, you’d be getting all these books about six months later than they’re actually coming out. Since, again, I don’t actually want to die, this is due to the heroic efforts of Simon and Schuster in crushing their production schedule to make these books happen earlier (no ARCs, lightning-fast copyediting, hiring on in fact a specific coordinator whose job is just to push these books through production as fast as possible.) 
I understand wanting the next book in a series as quickly as possible. But eventually you do push up against the limits of human endurance. Even if I tossed aside the Iron books and just wrote Shadowhunter books all day every day they wouldn’t get published any faster. My publisher and I have seen the folly of trying to put out more than one a year and they have told me, flat out, in no uncertain terms, it isn’t ever going to happen again. One Shadowhunter book, regularly, every year. No disasters, no surprises. I could hand them the finished manuscript for Clockwork Princess tomorrow and it wouldn’t move the date up a day. 
It should also be said that a year between books is really standard for publishing. There was a year between every Hunger Games book, a year between Percy Jackson books, a year between the Divergent books, the Matched books — you can pretty much predict the publication date of the second book in a series by looking at the first date and adding a year. This is not an unusual or long time to wait. The fact that I have two Shadowhunter series complicates things, but fairly soon (as of 2014) I won’t, and then you’ll be getting Dark Artifices books every year, probably at the same month. Which is completely standard. (For Harry Potter of course, the exception to all rules, it was a lot longer — usually two years between books, sometimes three. You might not remember waiting but — I do!) 
And speaking of Harry Potter, I do also see a lot of people being very confused about middle grade, and fearing that they wouldn’t want to read it, wouldn’t relate to the characters, that there would be no romance or relationships.
A lot of those people have Percy Jackson and Harry Potter gifs all over their dashes. Two series that pretty much define modern middle-grade fiction.
I think the confusion may be because Holly wrote The Spiderwick Chronicles, which are what is generally known as “chapter books” - they’re not exactly middle grade, though some middle grade kids do read them. They’re younger. Middle grade is Eragon, Percy Jackson, Harry Potter, The Golden Compass — even Maximum Ride and Sabriel are sometimes considered middle grade. What we are writing is a classic coming-of-age story (with some odd twists…it is us) about a boy who ages from twelve to seventeen in the course of the series. By the end, Callum will be older than Jace. And there is romance, and relationships. 
There are a lot of adults who read YA, because they like a good story, no matter the age of the protagonist. And there are other people who dismiss those readers as stupid and the books as inferior because they’re about teenagers. And I think that’s silly. The Hunger Games is a good book (incidentally edited by the same fab editor who is editing the Iron series) — and I think dismissing it because it’s about teens is shortsighted. I genuinely think the best thing to do is judge a book on its individual merits, and not the age group you perceive it as being marketed at. There’s nothing more wrong about reading middle-grade than there is about reading YA, whatever your age. 
I’ve also seen a few people really puzzled that the movie rights were sold when “nothing is written.” Actually the majority of the first book is written. Holly and I have been working on this world for years, and the book for a long time. I’ll make another post about co-writing, the process of, since some people have expressed interest — but for now I’ll just say that it doesn’t seem to me that anyone’s noticed that I’ve been writing a middle-grade series at the same time as the Shadowhunters books, or noticed any loss or lack of focus on TMI and TID. Again, in the time that I have been writing the Iron series, the publication dates of the Shadowhunter books have been moved earlier, not later.
So, in the end, to return to Infernal Devices and the beginning of the post — while there were a lot of people against my writing The Infernal Devices, without it the second Mortal Instruments books might not exist because TID allowed me to take a break and come back to TMI with fresh enthusiasm and new ideas. Though I always wanted to continue TMI, without TID I might just have been too exhausted by it to keep going. It’s hard to live in the same world with the same characters day in and day out, and being able to go back and forth between stories energizes me and makes me happier and more creative. I genuinely love the Iron Trial series, and the characters and the world, and being happy writing those books lets me come back to the Shadowhunter books without feeling (as I know a lot of writers who just do one series sometimes do) miserable and trapped. It lets me keep loving the Shadowhunters and means more, not less, stories about them for you, by me. It’s even good for the TMI movie — because the rights to the Iron books were acquired by the same people, and Holly and I are executive producers on the Iron project, it means more involvement for me with Constantin, more of a partnership, more investment in both projects on both sides. I’ve seen this described as a bad thing for my fans, and while I’m sad that you feel that way, I genuinely think that 1) if you give the Iron books a chance, you’ll like them and 2) if you don’t want to give them a chance, which is okay, it won’t make any difference to your enjoyment of the Shadowhunter books. After all, thanks to them, you’re going to get the conclusions of TMI and TID faster, so even if you never read the Iron books, you can still thank them for that. 
And again — thank you SO MUCH for all the kind messages. I was, and am, so excited for you to read the books. I hope you will be excited too, and by telling you guys exactly what was what, I wanted to make sure that excitement wasn’t spoiled by anything.
 TMI fans, how do you feel about Cassie branching out in the exciting new venture? Are you happy she is adding a younger audience to her readership or do you fear that these new books will take time away from the storyline? Let me know your thoughts! Share your comments below.

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