Fans of Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunters got a treat last year when the author’s Tales From Shadowhunter Academy novellas were released — complete with audiobook recordings by some fantastic narrators, like ;Outlander’s Sam Heughan and How to Get Away With Murder’s Jack Falahee.
Now, Tales From Shadowhunter Academy is finally being released as a complete collection from Simon & Schuster Audio — and EW is thrilled to offer excerpts from each of the novella audiobooks, so you can sample what each narrator brought to the work. Clare also talked to us about what she looked for in casting the performers (she’s very involved in the process), and what it’s like to hear her stories come to life in her ears.
Check out the Q&A, cast list, and excerpts, below:
- “Welcome to Shadowhunter Academy” — Devon Bostick (The 100)
- “The Lost Herondale” — Jack Falahee (How to Get Away with Murder)
- “The Whitechapel Fiend” — Luke Pasqualino (Skins, The Musketeers, The Borgias)
- “Nothing But Shadows” — Nico Mirallegro (Hollyoaks, My Mad Fat Diary)
- “The Evil We Love” — Chris Wood (The Vampire Diaries)
- “Pale Kings and Princes” — Ki Hong Lee (The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt)
- “Bitter of Tongue” — Torrance Coombs (Reign)
- “The Fiery Trial” — Sam Heughan (Outlander)
- “Born to Endless Night” — Keahu Kahuanui (Teen Wolf)
- “Angels Twice Descending” — Brett Dalton (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How did you cast these narrators? What was your criteria for each story and how involved are you in that part of the process?
CASSANDRA CLARE: I was quite involved in the process. Because this was an audio project, we didn’t go looking for people who looked like Simon, but instead for actors who we felt embodied parts of Simon’s personality: His sense of humor, his nerdy charm, and his evolving social consciousness regarding the world he’s decided to join.
Why do you prefer to have a different narrator for each story as opposed to having one person do the whole collection?
Initially, we used this model for the Bane Chronicles as a matter of practicality. It was impossible to find a single actor who could have been available to read on all the random dates when the books would need to be recorded. We found that the upside of having a variety of voices narrate was that each narrator brought their own skills to each story, and gave each tale a unique feel.
Which of the narrators sounded just the way you imagined the character in your head?
Sam was one of our most unexpected hits. We wouldn’t have thought he’d bring such Simon-ness to the role, but he totally did.
Did anyone bring new layers or shades to a character that surprised you?
We had a great group of readers, and all of them brought out different aspects of the story than you might get reading them. One of the great things about reading an audiobook is that you aren’t playing one character, you’re playing all the characters in a story. It really gives the actors room to play.
What were you excited to explore with this collection that you didn’t get to in the novels?
In the novels, the Shadowhunter Academy is a place that’s been closed since Valentine used it as a place to foment rebellion. I was interested in having a chance to revisit it, since the school is a setting that has seen so much history. I was also interested in exploring the idea of an ordinary human becoming a Shadowhunter. An important aspect of the Shadowhunter world is that they aren’t totally set apart. They aren’t aliens. Anyone can become a Shadowhunter.
What does it feel like to listen to your work aloud as part of an audio performance?
It’s wonderful to hear the work brought to life by skilled artists. The great thing about listening to actors read is that because of what they emphasize, and the energy they bring to each story, you notice things about the story you might otherwise have missed. You can close your eyes and imagine the story as it happens. It’s the exact right balance of interpretation and imagination.