Hey Cassie! I love your books and I love the fact you are very aware of racial diversity. My question is are we going to see African American shadow hunters in the main cast for future books? Also can you tell us more about Los Rosales. — axenicxspirit

Thank you. That is extremely kind of you to say. I was reading over Malindo Lo’s breakdown of Diversity in YA bestsellers and even though I was happy to see so many Shadowhunter books on the list it made me more aware of the ways in which, when I first started writing, I wasn’t aware of the lack of diversity in YA fiction, and my own shortcomings in rectifying the problem in past years. I am trying to do better and will continue to try.

There is an African-American Shadowhunter in City of Heavenly Fire (Maia of course is African-American, but not a Shadowhunter, though she has her own big plot line in CoHF) — her part is small, but I introduced her because she carries over to Dark Artifices where her plotline will be much bigger: she is part of the core group who lives at the Institute.

You’ll meet Cristina Mendoza Rosales’ father in City of Heavenly Fire as well, the head of the Mexico City Institute. Cristina in TDA is at the Institute because she’s just turned 18 and she’s doing what Shadowhunters do — traveling to other Institutes, like Gideon in TiD, to compare the way different Institutes do things. I don’t want to talk too much about her yet because characters change as you write them — I deleted an entire Blackthorn family member (Ariadne) (yes I’ve ALREADY KILLED A BLACKTHORN AND THE BOOKS HAVEN’T EVEN STARTED) because she wasn’t working with the plot structure. So Cristina as she is now is principled and thoughtful, she has a close, sometimes resentful relationship with her mother and father who have her whole life mapped out for her but she has a different vision, and she is two things I am not: calm and put-together. No, seriously, I haven’t seen my hairbrush in three days. *worries* Aspects of her could change, but I’ve pulled her very much to the forefront and given her more story and romance. I do speak Spanish but I’m trying to get myself to the point where my Spanish is as good as my French, for Cristina and the other Hispanic characters in TDA.

A few people have asked, having seen the cover of Iron Trial, what race Tamara, the heroine, is. She is Middle Eastern: specifically she is of Iranian descent, born in America. As a lot of you know I was born in Iran and Farsi was my first language and I’ve wanted to write an Iranian character forever. Cordelia in TLH has an Iranian mother and Cordelia speaks Farsi/Parsi so I’m excited to revisit the language.

"Hi I was wondering if you were really born in Tehran, Iran. I’d like to wish you a happy, healthy, and prosperous Noruz! — 1stdayofsummer"

Thanks! I really was. I was born to American parents in the Bimaristan Elizabeth (Elizabeth Hospital) on the Boulevard Elizabeth in Teheran. We lived in the neighborhood of Yousefebad at the time (we were  behind the Cinema Goldis, the English language cinema. It is probably long gone by now.) My first word: شیر .

More TLh art by the inimitable Cassandra Jean. If you haven’t read Clockwork Princess, don’t read on! Spoilery! I have also tagged this with cp2spoilers so it shouldn’t show up in your dash.

Two pairs of parabatai — Matthew and James above, and Cordelia and Lucie below. If you want to know about James’ glasses, he only wears them to read. :)