TLH Snippet

about the Dark Artifices, are Jem and Tessa going to play a similar role to Will and Tessa in the Last Hours? I really enjoyed reading about the relationship in the Infernal Devices and the snippet in Heavenly Fire. I know you said in a previous post about how letting go of characters is a part of life, but JESSA. You’re amazing, your books are amazing, and Jem Carstairs is amazing. - Lily — falling-into-rain


I would say they play very different roles because Jem and Tessa are not the parents of anyone in The Dark Artifices.

Yes, Jem is distantly related to Emma through his uncle Elias, but neither he or Tessa are the parents of any of Our Heroes in TDA. They don’t even look old enough to be any of their parents. They have a more, I don’t know, almost Magnus-y role.

By contrast Will and Tessa are James and Lucie’s parents. They are obviously enormously bound up in their lives, love them enormously, and are people who James and Lucie spend their lives comparing themselves to and seeking approval and love from. They are also a generation older than them. Their friends are Jem and Gideon and Cecily and Gabriel and Sophie and Charlotte and Henry. Their kids are their kids, not so much their compatriots.

It’s known that Tatiana Blackthorn (nee lightwood) is the antagonist in TLH. I was just curious, if she still remained close to Gabriel and Gideon, and if she ever even attend their weddings? (Is this also when she started to plot her “revenge”?) — dumbledorelovessherbetlemons

Well, she is an antagonist. She may not be the only one. And she did not remain close to Gabriel or Gideon. She hates them.

Hi Cassie, I can’t wait for TLH and I would like to know what kind of relationship there’s between Lucie and Matthew? :) — warlockintothetardis

Lucie adores Matthew. He’s her brother’s parabatai. Everyone loves Matthew. He’s one of those people. Snippet:

Matthew held out his hands. “Pax,” he said, wheedlingly. “Let it be peace between us. You can pour the rest of the port on my head.”

James’ mouth curved up into a smile. It was impossible to stay angry with Matthew. It was almost impossible to get angry at Matthew. 

hot boys in books

Hello again Cassandra! I don’t know if you remember, but I sent a fan mail a few days ago. But this one is on behalf of my sister (who sadly doesn’t have a tumblr.) I showed her one of your comments (from Twitter, I believe) saying that Julian was going to be a “sex god” and he was basically going to be hotter than the other boys. (Including the fantabulous William Herondale, who I love!) So basically her question is how?! She is a huge Jace fan, and she doesn’t believe that anyone can be better than him, so she wants to know how will Jules be hotter. Thanks and much love, Ashley P. (The Doctor’s Shadowhunter from 221b) — thedoctorsshadowhunterfrom221b

First I should say: I was joking about the sex god thing. I think someone asked me if Julian was going to be a sex god and I said yes. But mostly because I was being silly and also because I don’t think I’d say “no” about any of my characters except the evil ones. Sometimes even the evil ones. Sex God Status is almost entirely in the eye of the reader. These are book characters, they live on the page: they look how you imagine they look. What you love about them is their characterization, and each character is different. It is down to the preference of the reader who they find sexiest.

I’m glad you mentioned Will because there is also a thing I think of as New Character Syndrome. Before you have met a character — as in read a substantial amount of a book about them — you can’t imagine how you will feel about them, or how you could possibly like new characters as much as the old ones.

When I announced that I was writing Infernal Devices, while many of my readers were excited, just as many were entirely full of trepidation. They did not think they would like Will or Jem as much as Jace or Simon, or Tessa as much as Clary; they didn’t think they could possibly be as invested in the romance. There was a lot of “please, no, not these new characters, I am sure I will hate them, and Will especially" (being a Herondale, but not Jace.)

It took the first book, and maybe even a book and a bit, for me to start getting lots of letters from people who were just as invested in the new story and even liked Will and/or Jem better. So I guess what I would say is: there’s nothing I could tell you that would make you feel like you’ll love Jules (or James or Matthew or Jaime or any new, boy characters). There’s a reason “Show, don’t tell” is a (somewhat overused) watchword in writing: people don’t react to being told a character is awesome. They have to be shown it, in the pages of a book. I know this because I am a reader as much as I am a writer and I react exactly the same way. :)

The only way to find out how hot, or lovable, or whatever, you find Julian and/or Mark and/or Diego and Jaime, is to read Lady Midnight. I mean, I think they’re all hot and adorable in different ways. But my word will never carry the weight of a story, nor should it. I love Jules and he’s very different than any boy character I’ve written before. Whether you will love him as I do remains to be seen!

TDA snippet

She had wondered, when he’d looked into her eyes and said that he’d had to learn to make do without mirrors in the Wild Hunt, whose eyes he’d been looking into for all those years. Who’d been his mirror.

Now she knew.

Jessa stuff

Gotta keep the balance!

Hi Cassie! I loved all of your books, especially The Infernal Devices - I fell in love with Will *-*. I have a question about Jessa after CoHF: will they have children? I hope you’ll answer me :) Thank you for the amazing world you have created! — mrsherondale-eaton-waters 

Hello Cassie! I absolutely adore your books like many other people, but my boyfriend (who showed me your books) and I had one question, after Jem is no longer a silent brother, does he remain immortal like Tessa? Or will she end up losing him like she lost Will? Thank you for your time if you answer this, we’re both really curious. — sammy-mantha

Hello Cassie! I love your books!!!So… I finished to read Cohf and we know that Tessa is immortal and can have children, but I have a doubt. After so long, she can still have children? Or all these years, even with immortality, impair in any way? Thanks! — lightwoodparabatai

I love your books, and my favorite character is Jem, I just love it, then tell me we will see him next in the books of the shadowhunters? I loved him and Tessa on COHF. One more question, Jem and Tessa will have children ?? I’m so curious !!!! Please answer me !!! — anacarstairs

herondalectable said: Quick question: I know you’ve confirmed that the TMI characters will appear in future books, but what about Jem and Tessa? We know their story as far as the comic strip scene in CoHF, but what about beyond that? I’m not expecting anywhere near as much as we get of Will and Tessa’s married life (which I understand is not the main focus of TLH, but will be included as it was in TBC), but will we at least get a mention of how there doing and maybe of some Jessa babies?

gloriousburritos said: Hi Cassie! I just finished CoHF and I know this might sound weird but will Jem and Tessa ever appear in TDA since they were leaving for Los Angeles? Also, will they ever have children? I’m DYING to know because Jem is like my all-time fave character

Hey Cassie! I just had a little question about Tessa Gray. She’s immortal, but she was able to have children with Will. Is there any chance she can have one with Jem? Also, how does she put up with 130 years of periods? — 50shadesoftessagray

About Jem being mortal: Page 562 of Clockwork Princess:

Jem was mortal now. He would grow old like Will, and like Will he would die, and she did not know if she could bear it again. 

Page 711 of City of Heavenly Fire:

“So he is—Zachariah is mortal now?” Clary asked. “Just— an ordinary Shadowhunter?”
“Yes,” Tessa said. “He and I have known each other a long time. We had a standing meeting every year in early January. This year, when he arrived for it, to my shock, he was mortal.”
“And you didn’t know before he just showed up? I would have killed him.”
Tessa grinned. “Well, that would have somewhat defeated the point. And I think he wasn’t sure how I would receive him, mortal as he is, when I am not mortal.”

Jem is mortal. He has a human lifespan to live. That is a terrible thing for Tessa, but as I think you can probably tell by now, I’m not really a fan of “fixing” mortal-immortal relationships by making those who are mortal, immortal, or taking immortal characters’ immortality away. Immortality is a curse and a gift, and you undermine both aspects by taking it away easily; mortality is a curse and a gift and you undermine both aspects by taking it away easily. 

Jem and Tessa will have a lifetime together; Jem will cross over and see Will “on the other side of the river”; Tessa will be left to mourn him. I’ve always thought of all the characters in Clockwork Princess, in many ways Tessa’s is the saddest fate. Though:

About Tessa having kids: She can absolutely have kids! She doesn’t age out of that, because she doesn’t age. Cindy Pon has even been so kind as to help me with Chinese baby names so Jem’s family name, Ke, can be represented. I imagine Tessa and Jem would want to do some traveling and letting Jem adjust to life in the modern world (I think he would enjoy having an iPod filled with violin music) — and as I said, they have their own agenda in LA — before they have children, but they can certainly have them.

About 130 years of periods: I would guess this falls under the “not so great” aspect of being immortal. However, there are pretty easy ways to not have your period if you don’t want to (birth control pills) and I’d imagine Tessa has access to magical solutions as well. Boy, I never thought I’d be answering that question!

I know you’ve confirmed that the TMI characters will appear in future books, but what about Jem and Tessa? 

At the moment, they literally appear in the first chapter of Lady Midnight.

Wessa stuff

Hi Cassie, I have a question about CP2. Will obviously knows that Tessa loves him at the end of CP2, but that night in the drawing room (when Tessa burned her hand on the fireplace poker) when she didn’t tell him she loved him, he believed she didn’t and was obviously hurt. Unless I’m mistaken, which I could be, she never explained that to him later when they started dating/got married. Did he know? I mean, he’s very smart, so I feel like he could’ve figured it out, but did he? I can’t bear the thought of poor Will not knowing :( also, will Isabelle find a parabatai? D: thanks! — isabelleligtwood

Isabelle is not going to have a parabatai. Most people don’t, and Izzy is fine and happy without one. They are a lot of work and trouble. :)

I was confused at first reading the question and I thought that the question was whether Will ever realized Tessa loved him (which, after fifty years and two kids and a fabulous marriage, if he still didn’t, Will should get so much therapy) but I think now it’s whether Will realized Tessa loved him specifically that night in the drawing room.

As you said, Will is smart, and I think he figured out why she did what she did. He knows she loved him and she also loved Jem, and he knows she let him think she didn’t love him because she was trying to set him free. He would have done the same thing.

Even if he couldn’t intuit it (and he could), she does say this:

"I know how you are with your words, and, Will—I love all of them. Every word you say. The silly ones, the mad ones, the beautiful ones, and the ones that are only for me. I love them, and I love you.”

Will began to speak, but Tessa covered his mouth with her hand.

“I love your words, my Will, but hold them for a moment,” she said, and smiled into his eyes. “Think of all the words I have held inside all this time, while I did not know your intentions. When you came to me in the drawing room and told me that you loved me, it was the hardest thing I have ever done to send you away. You said you loved the words of my heart, the shape of my soul. I remember. I remember every word you said from that day to this. I will never forget them. There are so many words I wish to say to you, and so many I wish to hear you say to me. I hope we have all our lives to say them to each other.” 

That’s pretty explicit. You have to be careful, when characters are explaining things to each other (especially things readers already know) that they don’t sound like they think the other character is a dunce who needs everything spelled out for them. Tessa has to trust Will’s understanding of her, because if he isn’t someone who could understand this, she shouldn’t love or marry him.

Hi Cassie. <3 I have this important question. Well, important to me, hih. Will you be writing more about just Will and Tessa? As in, scenes from Will or Tessa’s point of view? :) (Psst, LOVE LOVE LOVE the new art of them. <3 Thank you for sharing.) — carinaolsen

Cassandra Jean is a fantastic artist, for sure. I think that it’s important to remember that TLH is about Cordelia, Jesse, Lucie, James, Matthew and the rest — though Tessa and Will are in it, and they are certainly the most important parents. They do have, also, I think some touching scenes just about them … and they also loom large in James’ mind, and indeed the minds of many in their circle as a Great Love Story (there’s more about that and James worrying his own life can never compete in Midnight Heir.) 

Maybe the best way to think about their role is to think about them as Charlotte and Henry in TID. They’re not the protagonists, but they’re background important figures who have their own relationship, do on occasion get POV scenes, and serve as a force of order in an otherwise chaotic world. :)

(There are definitely events in TLH that have specifically to do with Will and Tessa’s relationship, and Jem’s place in it, too. Just like there are also moments in TDA about Jem and Tessa. It’s interestingly difficult keeping the balance, but one could say that about the whole Clockwork series.)

Hi Cassie, I loved City of Heavenly Fire and cannot wait until the Dark Artifices comes out. I’ve seen the timeline you posted forever ago for the Mortal Instruments, but I was wondering if you could make a more detailed timeline that includes City of Heavenly Fire. Thank you so much!

Sure. Once more, with more details:

Here’s the basic timeline of the TMI books:

CoB: takes place in August 2007, the year the book was published.

CoA: begins in very early September 2007-  a few days to a week after CoB ends. 

CoG: begins in September, about 1 week after CoA ends. The whole book takes place in 1.5-2 weeks. It is mentioned that the leaves on trees are beginning to turn fall colors.

CoFA: begins in Mid-October (Halloween decorations are up, Simon mentions the month) and ends around the third or fourth week of October. In CoFA, it is also mentioned that Clary has been training to fight demons for 7 weeks.

CoLS: The prologue is set in late October. The first chapter begins two weeks later, in the 2nd week of November.

October had 5 weeks in 2007. Here’s a link to a 2007 calendar:

COHF: Takes place in early December through the end of December. It is mentioned in the beginning that people are shopping for Christmas presents. The last chapter ends before Christmas Day. Here’s where it get wibbly-wobbly-timey-wimey:

The Clockwork Princess prologue then  takes place in January, 2008, between the last chapter of CoHF and the epilogue of CoHF. Jem goes to meet Tessa.

COHF epilogue: May, 2008. It’s mentioned that it’s May, school’s almost out, etc. We see Jem and Tessa at the wedding, after their January meeting.

Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy takes up space in between May 2008— August 2013.

Lady Midnight begins in August, 2013. (Oddly, the same month the TMi movie came out. Randomly chosen, though.)


 I’ve gotten a lot of asks about where the epilogue of Clockwork Princess fits into the timeline of TMI. Here’s the basic timeline of the TMI books:

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A small bird reminded me that the Stephen Herondale and Amatis Graymark flower cards hadn’t been posted. Here they are!

Hi Cassie. I hope you end up selling the tarot cards on like because I think they are amazing and so unique to the series. I hope you sell them on a site like the book depository so I know it will ship to Australia :) p.s. I am so freaking excited for TDA!!!! — monsters-drink-tea

Cassandra Jean and I are in the middle of finalizing putting up the tarot cards for sale now. It would be a limited run through a distributor that (as far as I know) ships worldwide.

TDA and Love

Hi Cassie! I would be honored if you answer to a simple question, you say that Ty will fall in love in TDA and i would know if we already know that person, it his a new character or we know it thanks to TMI? I hope that you’ll see this and that maybe you’ll answer, thanks for your time. — cadiamocomelacrime

We don’t know the person Ty is going to fall in love with yet. (We haven’t met many ten year olds in CoHF and I think the ones we do meet are related to Ty, and I don’t really want to swim in that river again …)

IS CRISTINA GOING TO BE ATTRACTED TO MARK, OR MARK TO CRISTINA? I MEAN: ”Cristina held back from telling Mark that there was no world in which he didn’t stand out.” and you once said Mark has a love interest/parabatai. Thank you! — emmaxjules

Well, she could just be saying that because he has antlers or something. Who can say how he came back from the Wild Hunt? Cristina has a complicated love life, and so does Mark. Mark may even be carrying a torch for someone from Faerie. (Neither Mark nor Cristina have parabatai, though.)

Hi Cassandra Clare, thank you for your books you’ve written so perfectly and your imagination, which I fell in love it. A question arises after your previous answer me. I hope you can answer. It is about whether we will see in the book scenes where Emma be jealous of another girl in love with Julian? I appreciate your response and with love. Arely — atena-moon

Hi, Cassie. My name is Hayley and, like everyone else asking you questions, I’m in love with your books! I adore the way you write and I hope to be just as successful someday. I wanted to ask you if there’s a possibility for Emma and Mark. (I don’t know if this is how you ask. Hopefully it is.) I know it seems everyone is already shipping Emma and Julian, and their story will be amazing no matter the outcome, but they’re parabati. There is no romance allowed between them and I think they’re better for each other as brother/sister. My thought is, Emma already shows some interest in Mark. It could be good for Mark to help heal Emma’s wounds from the Emma/Julian romance and for Emma to help him get over his time in Faerie world. So, is there a possibility for them? I’d love for you to answer this, but even if you don’t, I’m just glad that I actually got up the courage to write you and that you actually read it!! Thanks!! — nerdygirly811

Sure, this is a fine way to ask. Ye olde ask box.

Emma does notice Mark is cute in CoHF, though he is sure spirited away before she can declare her love (and I’m mostly kidding: her thinking Mark is cute is a function of her growing up. We often notice older brothers, sisters, of friends first because they’re older, therefore admirable, and around, therefore nonthreatening.) 

Otherwise I’d just say slow down, pardner! We don’t know if there’s going to be an Emma/Julian romance for sure, or whether Emma will have wounds to heal. (Well, it’s me, probably everyone will have wounds to heal.) 

I guess I would say that Mark, after coming from years in Faerie, does not view relationships the way everyone else in his family does. “in love” and “monogamy” do not go together in his mind. If you went on a date with Mark, you could expect him to kiss everyone else at the bar. Everyone else.

Hi Miss Clare! I love all your books. You broke my heart into a million pieces, especially when I read Will’s death. Anyway, i’d like to ask, is it wrong to ship Mark and Emma? It feels really weird but idk, my mind is like, “Go Mark and Emma!” but I also ship her a little bit with Jules. It would be great if you answered my question haha thanks :D — mikaaaii

You can ship Emma with anyone you want. You can ship her with Mark and Jules. Though there really isn’t an OT3 to be had there given that Mark and Jules are related. 

It’s interesting to me because when people say “I hate love triangles!” (I mean, I clearly, am biased because I love them) they tend to remain drawn to triangulated relationships. Which is fine. For me, a love triangle requires two people to be in love with the same person and for them to have about an equal chance of securing that person’s love. But there are a million ways to triangulate relationships without actually having a love triangle. One, for instance, is to introduce jealousy, merited or not. Another is to introduce another person as an obstacle but not an equal love interest. If Tessa had loved only Will and felt obligated to Jem because he was dying that would have been a triangulated relationship but not a love triangle. Even a villain can triangulate a relationship. Wickham triangulated Elizabeth’s relationship with Darcy in Pride and Prejudice, but few consider it a love triangle: it however works as an important story engine! So even if you hate the love triangle, hate not the triangulation. It’s probably in a lot of your favorite romances. :)

*Sorry I gave a speech about writing love triangles to the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and this stuff remains stuck in my brain!

Also: thank you guys for being so interested in the TDA characters so early on! It keeps me going.


I was just wondering how you choose which POV to tell a scene from. Like why the prologue in Heavenly Fire was told from Emma’s point of view and not Sebastian’s. I enjoyed Emma’s perspective but it seems like it could have been a chance to get a look into his mind? Thanks and if you post this could you take my name off?

Name redacted from incendiary question about viewpoints. :) No, I am just teasing. This falls into the category of “Writers, why do you do the things you do?” Which I always think is interesting, because the choices we make shape our work, but — even if I explain my reasoning, you don’t have to agree with it. :)

Prologues are an interesting thing in writer-land because they actually are controversial. Some people love them. Some people hate them. The big argument against them is often that if the information in them is important, why is it not in the main body of the work — i.e. why isn’t it just “Chapter One”?

Me, I like a prologue. I find that they give an opportunity to tell an event in the world from the perspective of a character you’d never otherwise hear from — for instance, Aloysius Starkweather’s perspective in Clockwork Princess. Yes, we can be told the information later in the narrative that his granddaughter died receiving her first runes, but it’s much less visceral than experiencing it on the page, and it’s interesting to be in the head of someone whose viewpoint you’ll never get again (as in 1878, Aloysius is pretty far gone in senile dementia). Similarly, we get Valentine’s viewpoint in City of Ashes and then, as far as I know, never again. And it gives us the birth of the fear demon, which means that when Agramon shows up later, we know what it is. No one else in the book besides Valentine could have been there for that, or they would not later have been surprised about Agramon being around.

Sometimes prologues indicate a time skip, big or small (the prologue of CP where we see Will and Jem at 12, or CoLS where we see Simon two weeks before the rest of the book takes place.) Sometimes they exist to set a mood (Will’s prologue in CP.) Prologues do a lot of different jobs.

As for why I chose to tell the prologue of The Dark Artifices from Emma’s viewpoint and not Sebastian’s — I have written Sebastian’s viewpoint before, in City of Lost Souls. Mostly as a way to let people know he was Up to Something with Faeries, but not what. But the prologue from Sebastian’s point of view would have been near-impossible without revealing his involvement with the Fair Folk, given that they were with him at the time. He would have had to spend the whole prologue deliberately not thinking about 1) the faeries right next to him 2) the existence of Edom, to which he is about to return 3) his overall plans, including his visit to the Adamant Citadel.

Unreliable narrators are great, but usually they’re unreliable because they’ve bought into their own mythology about themselves. Being coy is something else — just not revealing what a character is actually thinking — and Coyness in Writing is a whole other topic. It drives my critique group nuts though; whenever anyone’s being coy with info they get yelled at.

There are important factual things we learn in the prologue about the story — that Sebastian is attacking Institutes — but even if I’d never planned to write the Dark Artifices, I’d still have told it from Emma’s point of view. To me the Blackthorns have a symbolic weight in City of Heavenly Fire. They represent the stakes of war. 

Without any representation of the people — ordinary Shadowhunters, some innocent children — that Clary and the others are trying to save, they become something blurry and distantly symbolic. We can understand that they want to save their parents, and those trapped in Edom, but when what’s at stake is saving the lives of Shadowhunters overall, putting faces and personalities to those lives matters.

(Also, in the fact that they escaped the Institute, they bring important information about what Sebastian’s doing to Idris — and they could still have done that if the prologue had been Seb’s viewpoint, but from his view they would have been a bunch of fleeing kids, nameless and undifferentiated. It would have taken all the meaning out of the scene where Emma wakes up screaming for her parents and Julian gives her Cortana. It would have taken a ton of meaning out of the end, when Helen is sent away — the meaning of her being separated from her family is greatly dulled if we don’t know her family.)

So I guess if the overall question is: how do I pick who tells a scene, which POV it’s from, usually I ask myself, Who undergoes the most change in this scene? Think about the engine that propels stories as three C’s: conflict, choice and change (ideally change brought about by choice forced by conflict.) Jace tells the scene between him and Alec, because he changes the most during it. Emma changes the most during the prologue. She makes the biggest choices, her whole life is transformed and she is changed as a person. Sebastian doesn’t change at all. So as well as me wanting to establish what the stakes of the war were, to put a face to all the lives that would need saving over the course of the book, I also wanted to show the birth of a hero, the inciting incident that makes someone who they are. The superhero origin story. :) Which I think is a fun thing to experience, whether you ever read the Dark Artifices or not. :)

TDA snippet

Now he looked at her sideways. “You don’t think I look like a Shadowhunter any more?”

“Do you want to?” Cristina asked.

“I want to look like my family,” Mark said. “I cannot have the Blackthorn coloring, but I can look as much like Nephilim as possible. Besides, if I wish to be part of the investigation, I cannot stand out.”

Cristina held back from telling Mark that there was no world in which he didn’t stand out. “I can make you look like a Shadowhunter.”