Clockwork Prince, the second book in Cassandra Clare’s Infernal Devices series hit shelves Tuesday. She graciously took time out of her busy schedule to sit down with us and answer a few burning questions about Prince and her popular YA series, Infernal Devices and Mortal Instruments. If you haven’t had a chance to read the newest installment, there are a few minor plot spoilers ahead. Here, Clare talks about the heart-breaking ending of Clockwork Prince, and gives fans a few clues about what to expect for her next books.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: I know it’s still early, but what kind of response have you received for Clockwork Prince?
CASSANDRA CLARE: I’ve gotten a great response so far. You always worry because every book is different. People are like, “After your sixth book in print you must be used to it.” But you never get used to it. It’s kind of like having a baby. Every emergence into the world is different and going to be met with a different response. I knew that I put a lot of my heart and soul into this book. I loved writing it, but it has parts of it that are very sad. When you tug on your reader’s heartstrings, sometimes they can get a little upset.
Speaking of, that was a pretty sad ending! How have people reacted to the Jem/Tessa/Will storyline?
Heartbreak. There have been a lot of sensitive and thoughtful responses that have been very interesting to read…. You must subsist on the tears of your readers! It was interesting because I knew that this is where these characters were going. That was always the conception for this book. I really wanted to write a love triangle that was a perfect triangle. Most love triangles are really sort of a love “V.” Point A and point B and a girl or boy who’s beloved by those two people. But I wanted to do something that was a real triangle where every point has a relationship. So, you know, Will and Jem’s blood brother relationship was as important as their love for Tessa and her love for them. So no part of this triangle could be broken without heartbreak. And that is what I think makes it difficult to read because you can’t conceive of how you could get out of this situation without smashing one point of that triangle. And smashing any point is going to bring pain to everybody else.
You probably won’t tell me who Tessa ends up with. But do you already know who the lucky guy is?
I definitely know where it’s going. I know what’s going to happen. I know how it’s going to end. I feel people will be a little surprised, but I’m hoping they’ll be satisfied and find it a fitting ending. To me, it is.
In Clockwork Princess (the third and final book of the Infernal Devices series) do we figure out exactly where Tessa comes from? Will seems convinced that the offspring of a demon and a Shadowhunter is not possible.
Will’s right. It’s not possible. The offspring of a demon and a Shadowhunter is always stillborn. No one’s ever seen it. It’s never happened. The question is, is it possible in the case of Tessa? Is this really true? Or is there another story behind her existence and why she is what she is? You get the full picture and the whole history of how she came to be, and how her parents play into it, and how her clockwork angel plays into it.
NEXT: Clare reveals who Woolsey Scott really is
I know Tessa makes an appearance in City of Glass. Are there other Easter eggs like that hidden throughout both series?
There are. In City of Fallen Angels, Jace is in prison in the Silent City. He’s in one of the jail cells, and he sees the initials JG scratched on the wall. So, umm, spoiler! That’s Jessamine. It’s supposed to be a little hint about what happens to her [in Clockwork Prince]. How did she get those initials? The more detailing and the more layering you do, the more real the world seems. This thing that was done 150 years ago is still there on the wall of the Silent City. And now you know how it got there. It just makes you feel like the Silent City has a history. It’s not just a place where there are jail cells. It has a real history and you know the people who have been imprisoned there.
So what can readers expect from Clockwork Princess?
We’re going to jump ahead about two months from the end of Clockwork Prince. Will has had a chance to tell people his secret. People have had a chance to get used to it. We’ll see the manner in which they react. Cecily will have time to acclimate to the Institute. And basically, what we’re going to deal with because it’s the third book is the return of the Magister and the culmination of all his plans. And how Jem is a ticking clock. How long is he going to live? How long has he got? What is that going to mean for the other characters? All of that kind of comes together at once.
And how about City of Lost Souls, the next book in the Mortal Instruments?
City of Fallen Angels ended on a cliffhanger. That was equally loved and hated by my readership. [Laughs] Jace is in this place where he needs to be saved. But he’s not really Jace anymore. So the question is, how much would you do for love? And what if you have to do an immoral thing for a moral reason because you love someone so much? At what point do you have to stop trying to save this person because it’s bad for the world in general, even if you love them very much. That’s the central tension that kind of rips up the characters in Lost Souls. The group that wants to save him more than anything else, and the group that is willing to sacrifice him for the greater good.
Anything else you want to add?
A lot of people have asked me about some of the characters that appear in Clockwork Prince like Aloysius Starkweather and Woolsey Scott. A lot of people like Woolsey Scott, which I was really happy about because he’s very fun to write. I would say Woolsey specifically is important throughout on into City of Lost Souls because he is the founder of the Praetor Lupus. He’s the founder of the Praetor Lupus, so we’re going to go more into detail of them and what they do. We’re going to meet Woolsey’s offspring in City of Lost Souls, and I think that will be fun.