Tuesday 8 November 2011

Foyles Event with Cassandra Clare & Sarah Rees Brennan - 26th October 2011

Me with Cassandra Clare

I was very excited when I first heard that Foyles would be hosting an event with Cassandra Clare, I have only read the first 2 books in the Mortal Instruments series so far but I really enjoyed them.  I'd already bought the next 2 books and Clockwork Angel so I jumped at the chance to get them signed.  It was also a great excuse to meet up with some of my blogging friends and I was very excited to have Kirsty come and stay with me for a few days so we could go to the event together.

Kirsty had spotted on twitter that Cassandra Clare was going to be visiting Waterstones in Piccadilly signing stock before the event (thanks for the heads up Nicole!) so we decided to head up early and try stalk her  *cough* meet her there.  We made it to Waterstones with about half an hour to spare and found ourselves pacing around the YA section waiting for her to arrive.  After asking a couple of staff members who had no idea where she would be we decided to wait on the ground floor to see if we could spot her coming in.  I'm sure anyone who was watching us would have laughed at our crazy stalkerish fan girl behaviour, especially after we saw her get in the lift and went running up the stairs back to the YA section to wait for her.  Honestly, we aren't really crazy (well perhaps a little lol).  Luckily Nicole came to find us and tell us that Cassie was up in the restaurant signing stock and invited us to go up and join them. 

Kirsty with Cassandra Clare

We couldn't believe that there were no other fans there waiting to get their books signed but were both very excited that we got to chat to Cassie.  We had a very random conversation about Misfits and US remakes of British TV shows and Cassie was absolutely lovely.  Even though she had a huge stack of books to sign for Waterstones she seemed happy to take a few minutes out to speak to us and sign the books we'd brought with us.  We thought we should leave her in peace to get on with signing the stock though so headed towards Foyles to get ready for the event.

In the end we had time to stop for a bacon butty on the way - yum!! - before meeting up with more blogging friends in the queue for the event.  I think all of us were a little hyper by the time we met up, as you can see from the pictures below we were more than a bit excited (I don't think the caffeine in my coffee helped lol).  Yes, I hate to admit it but it's true - bloggers are bonkers (at least most of us are anyway)!

As we walked into the event we were all issued with Halloween masks (I wish I'd thought to take pics with all of us wearing them) and some of us found out we'd won goodie bags full of books, swag and Halloween treats.  The room was all decked out in spooky decorations and Cassie's books which looked fab.  Foyles really know how to throw amazing events!

There was a lot of excitement in the room when Cassandra Clare entered with Sarah Rees Brennan, we were all looking forward to hearing them talk and getting the chance to ask them questions.  They started the event by quizzing the audience though & even had prizes for the people who knew the correct answers.

Cassandra Clare & Sarah Rees Brennan

Then it was time for audience questions, I have to admit I was nervous about picking up spoilers because I haven't read the last 2 Mortal Instruments books yet so although I took notes for some of the answers I didn't write everything down (I'm hoping to forget what I don't write lol).  They started off by chatting about the lengths they go in the name of research.  Cassie was even dedicated enough to tie up Holly Black in the boot of her car so that Holly would know what it felt like!  Sarah & Cassie nearly got themselves arrested for trespassing when trying to take pictures of an old abandoned building but I think the funniest story was of them taking pictures of a Victorian house and realising there was a naked man standing in the window cooking his dinner!
    Cassandra Clare
  • Would you ever consider writing a book for the adult market?  Cassie said she would if the right idea came to her.  She did mention that whenever she thinks about adult characters she asks the question "what is their job" and at that point she gets bored and falls asleep so it doesn't seem likely she'll be writing an adult protagonist anytime soon.
  • Who is the inspiration for your characters?  Cassie said they tend to be mash ups of people she knows, fictional and historical characters.  Even if a character is based on someone she knows she said by the time the book is finished they end up completely different.  People never recognise themselves in the character that was based on them but often think that they are someone different in the book.
  • What can you tell us about the Dark Artifices series?  The series will be set in LA and later in time than the Mortal Instruments series (The MI books are stuck in 2007 because that's when she started them and the time line hasn't moved very far in the story).  She chose LA because it's a city she knows well and she doesn't see many urban fantasy stories set there.  The series will follow one of the younger shadowhunters from the MI series (Sarah pointed out that we're looking at 12 year old characters now who will be grown up by the time the DA series starts).  She did confirm that some characters from the MI books will make appearances in the new series so we will be able to see how things are going for them in the future.
  • What is the scene you're most looking forward to in the movie?  Cassie is really excited about Magnus' party, it's the first time you meet Magnus you get to see weres and vampires and of course there is also the motorbikes.
  • What books would you recommend?  Holly Black's White Cat Series, Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor and The Chaos Walking series by Patrick Ness, oh and Sarah Rees Brennan's Demons Lexicon trilogy of course lol.
  • How hard was it to link the family trees for the Mortal Instruments and Infernal Devices series?  Cassie said it was complicated but fun to work out who was related.  She had to create 5 different generations to tie the two series together and she didn't want it to be too obvious who was related when you first start reading the books.
  • How do you plan what happens to your characters?  She has a vague idea of what will happen but she gets together with other writer friends to micro plot the whole book before she starts writing.  They will go through each and every situation to work out exactly what happens and why.  There has to be a good reason for every scene or it doesn't make it into the book no matter how much she may want to include it.
  • Who would you like to meet and what would you do with them?  Sarah immediately said she would go on a date with Sebastian while Cassie chose a safer answer and said she would go shopping with Magnus. 
Sarah Rees Brennan

There were lots more questions but like I said I didn't write down all of the answers because I was giving myself spoilers.  Cait has written an awesome report though & has much better notes than I do (you can find a link to her write up below).  We all had a fabulous time at the event, Cassie and Sarah were both great, they bounced off each other and had us all laughing a lot.  It was great to find out more about their books and I'm looking forward to catching up with the MI series and getting started on Clockwork Angel.  I have to give a massive shout out to Neil and the other staff at Foyles for a fantastic event.  They worked really hard to make a success of it and I really appreciate the effort they put in, especially when a lot of the author events they host are free to attend.

After the event had finished and we had collected the goodie bags we'd won it was time to go downstairs for the signing.  Luckily Kirsty and I had already got our books signed so we didn't need to join the massive queue and Caz very kindly got my copy of The Demon's Surrender signed by Sarah for me.  Kirsty and I decided to wait in the pub for the others while they were in the queue so we spend a relaxing hour waiting for some of the others to meet us for dinner.  I have to say I'm really relieved that we didn't have to stand around in the queue (another big thanks to Nicole from Waterstones!).  It was a fab day and it was great to have time to catch up with blogging friends I already knew and of course meet some new faces too.  I really do love the UK blogging community :o)

Who Was There?
Cassandra Clare - Website
Sarah Rees Brennan - Website
Foyles - Website
Casey - Dark Readers
Leanne - District YA


  1. What an amazing event! I am jealous I live in U.S.A. So many author readings and signings can be a little depressing, don't you think? For the mere reason most writers sit in front of laptops all day and don't do public speaking until a publicist threatens to rip out their eyeballs. But here, it sounds like everyone had a lot of fun with the event. Maybe it helps you had two friends there to interact with each other.

    But, okay--being an adult fantasy writer, I have to say, "their job"? She thinks of their job! No wonder she falls asleep. Who cares? After you've gotten the important dynamic and intimately detailed parts of their personality and history down--the fun stuff, THEN think what kind of job this person would have to have. Job. Sheesh.

  2. lol, it still makes me giggle when i see a photo of me on someone else's (very cool) blog and go 'OOOO THAT'S ME!'

    fab post and fab event!

  3. I seem to feature in so many of your pictures lately. LOL. It was fabulous wasn't it. Very entertaining.

  4. @ Bets - it was a fab event & you're right I think it must have been easier for Cassie & Sarah because they had each other to bounce off. It was more like a fun chat between friends than an author talk & it really kept my interest.

    I do have to agree with you about adult stories though, I read a lot of adult UF & the main characters have had some pretty cool jobs but even if they have a pretty boring one it's not like it's actually mentioned a lot in the story lol.

    @ SisterSpooky - lol I feel the same when I spot my pic on someone elses blog, it's so surreal sometimes isn't it :o) It was great to see you again!

    @ Viv - I have seen rather a lot of you recently haven't I (not that I'm complaining lol). It was a fab day :o)



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