Tracing Cassandra Clare’s fantasy career

AMHERST — Cassandra Clare doesn’t have much time to sit around and think. The wildly popular fantasy authoraverages more than a book a year, which means she’s always on deadline. Still, she can’t ignore her big 10-year anniversary.

  “It’s definitely made me very introspective about my career and what gives it longevity,” Clare said.


In March of 2007, Clare released her debut novel, “City of Bones,” the first in her “Mortal Instruments” series. That book tells the story of a New York City teen named Clary, who discovers that she’s a Shadowhunter, meant to fight evil demons invisible to regular humans, referred to as “mundanes.” She inhabits a world that is realistic and familiar (with a protective mom and a friend in a band) yet steeped in the paranormal. She also learns about family, and, more importantly, how it feels to falls in love.

Clare was in her early 30s and living in Brooklyn when she sold that first book to the Simon & Schuster imprint McElderry Books for a $25,000 advance. It seemed like a lot of money then.

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“I certainly didn’t know it was going to be a success,” she says, “and I’ve been surprised ever since.”

 A decade after that first release, Clare has put out 15 books in her “Shadowhunters Chronicles” world. She has an international fan base, and there are more than 50 million copies of her novels in print. Her work has also inspired a Hollywood movie and a television series — whose second season will continue next week.

Her most recent novel, released May 23, is “Lord of Shadows,” the second in her “Dark Artifices” trilogy. It is a 699-page tome filled with battles against supernatural creatures, and lots of kissing.


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