Inspirational people surround us at every turn. To celebrate some of the incredible women who continue to motivate me on my writing journey I have decided to post a Monday Muse – a weekly look at the women who are my artistic inspiration.
Last week I honoured author, Jill Murphy for creating one of my favourite childhood characters, Mildred Hubble. You can read that post HERE. Today I want to introduce you to an author who captivates me from the first word right up until the Kleenex moment in her grand finale.
I’m talking about the young adult author, Cassandra Clare.
Cassandra Clare is the pen name for Judith Rumelt, born in July 1973 in Iran to American parents. They moved around a lot during her childhood living in London, Switzerland and France. She went to school in LA and eventually worked on various entertainment magazines. She started working on her YA novel in 2004, inspired by the urban landscape of New York, her favourite city. She now lives in Massachusetts with her husband.
I found Cassandra’s first book, City of Bones back in 2008 just as the second in the series, City of Ashes was released. I took both books on holiday and didn’t speak to my family for an entire week! I was totally hooked and became an immediate fan, devouring everything she wrote as soon as it was released.
Jace whirled, so startled that the knife flew from his hand and clattered against the concrete floor. Isabelle and Alex turned along with him, wearing identical expressions of astonishment. The blue-haired boy hung in his bonds, stunned and gaping.
It was Alec who spoke first. “What’s this?” he demanded, looking from Clary to his companions as if they might know what she was doing there.
“It’s a girl,” Jace said, recovering his composure. “Surely you’ve seen girls before, Alec. Your sister Isabelle is one.” He took a step closer to Clary, squinting as if he couldn’t quite believe what he was seeing. “A mundie girl,” he said, half to himself. “And she can see us.” (Excerpt from City of Bones).
The urban setting that Cassandra creates of everyday life in New York and London weaves perfectly into a sinister world of demons, shifters and vampires. It’s fascinating. She has an incredible talent for creating characters that you mourn the loss of when you close the book. I had the worst book hangover EVER when I finished the Mortal Instruments Series!
Alongside the five bestselling novels in the MI Series, Cassandra also wrote a prequel series, The Infernal Devices, which is set in England during the reign of Queen Victoria. The characters in Clockwork Angel include the ancestors of Jace, Isabelle and Alec and are as equally compelling.
London, April 1878
The demon exploded in a shower of ichor and guts.
William Herondale jerked back the dagger he was holding, but it was too late. The viscous acid of the demon’s blood had already begun to eat away at the shining blade. He swore and tossed the weapon aside; it landed in a filthy puddle and commenced smouldering like a doused match. The demon itself, of course, had vanished – dispatched back to whatever hellish world it had come from, though not without leaving a mess behind. (Excerpt from Clockwork Angel)
Many of the books I was reading at the time were quite slow and lacked any real adventure; it was Cassandra Clare who taught me that fast-paced young adult fiction was what I craved. I began to adopt that pace in my own writing and stopped being so fearful of the action. I’m happy to see that most of the reviews I receive today mention how action-packed my books are. I’m grateful to Cassandra for creating a fantasy world and characters that I could relate so well with. She made me re-think how I develop my setting and create realistic scenes full of suspense.
The tangled hair; the wide once-broken nose and scarred chin; and most of all the protruding, popping eyes, the same eyes as the woman who stood beside him, her blank stare fixed on Tessa in a manner terribly reminiscent of Miranda’s.
But you’re dead. Will Killed you. I saw your body.
The reason I chose Cassandra Clare for today’s Monday Muse is to celebrate her new release, Lady Midnight, the first of a three-book sequel series to The Mortal Instruments. My copy has just landed on my doormat so I’ll use that as my queue to finish this post and curl up with a cuppa.
Do you like a fast-paced novel or would you prefer a more leisurely pace when reading?