Last night, Metrotown Chapters Book Store hosted a Q&A (broadcast live on youtube.... see link below to watch it) & book signing with Cassandra Clare, best known for her book series "The Mortal Instruments" which will have a film adaptation of 1 of the books "City Of Bones" out this summer.
Currently promoting her new series of books "The Infernal Devices" which had its 3rd book "Clockwork Princess" just released, Ms. Clare answered questions about the new books and her more famous ones for 1/2 hour to a room of several hundred, mostly teenaged girls before she sat down to sign probably 2-3 times as many books as there was people there.
Not knowing anything (except what some fans in Hamilton, ON tried telling me about it when I was at the set of the film City Of Bones this past summer), I was expecting to be bored to tears thru the Q&A, but despite not knowing anything about it, was entertained at times by Ms. Clare, who clearly has a flair for storytelling & entertaining.
With another author, Sarah Rees Brennan of the "Demon Lexicon" series as her moderator for the Q&A Ms. Clare gave well thought out replies to a variety of questions, many I'm sure shes heard dozens of times before, but treated as if the asker was truly asking her something new & unique.
The fans were amazingly well reserved for a room of mainly young adult & teenage girls. As 1 of the people at the bookstore pointed out "these are readers. This isnt a Justin Bieber signing" (thank goodness).
The event started with a trailer got TMI:COB that had a failure of no audio which Ms. Clare & Brennan reacted to by suggesting they could act it out for the fans.
Cassandra & Sarah went back & forth for a minute or two spouting lines that I can only assume come from 1 of the books considering the ease of which they responded to each other. Then they moved to doing audience & online Q&A's.
Cassandra, whose real name is Judith Rumelt, talked about how she tied The Mortal Instruments & The Infernal Devices books together, a fan asked her about a rumour she planned to kill off a notable character from the TMI series, she talked about rumours fans create are often just that, rumours & how fans are so invested in the characters they will create petitions to not kill this character & send it to her. Cassandra asnswered a question about characters that are afraid of ducks that was thoroughly entertaining based on 1 of her own life experiences & it was then that I knew, she was able to make even non-fans listen to what she had to say. With City Of Bones already being made, a fan was already asking a question about if her second series of books were to become a movie, which scene would she want to see. Cassandra talks about her extra role in City Of Bones, and how she had to wear her prop ears to the airport afterwards. Cassandra talks about how an STD she created for her characters was inspired by books she read based on Victorian times where everyone seemingly had syphilis. She explains she knew that she was going to write The Infernal Devices while she was writing 1 of the TMI books. Cassandra says the more names a character has, the more important they are, which got me thinking of a TV show I watch "Psych" where 1 of the characters has been given probably 40 names over the years by his friend. he must be REALLY important. She talks about how she met her husband thru a love of books & how characters in the book both share the same love of literature. She also said who her favorite
character to write about is, why 1 of her characters has a glitter obsession, and whether she had any input on the casting for City Of Bones. Overall, it was taken in quite well by her fans, and even us non-fans observing seemed at times to be paying attention as her ability to tell stories was in fine form.
My only annoyance with the Q&A is that Cassandra insisted the actors in City Of Bones did their own stunts at the Hotel Dumort. However.... I know that is not the case, as those of us on set in Hamilton saw the stunt doubles outside the abandoned Royal Connaught Hotel washing down their mats after their jobs were done inside. Now whether Ms. Clare knew this and opted to exaggerate the casts involvement, or she just assumed it to be true, I dont know. But in an otherwise terrific presentation, it did irk me slightly that she misled the fans with this.
After the Q&A ended Cassandra signed & chatted at length with fans for over an hour & a half. When it was over, she did a few photos with the staff, then signed a quick handful of books for some of those (myself included) who didnt get a wristband despite clearly suffering from writers cramp by that point.
It would have been so simple for me to write a negative article on this entire event. There was nothing going in that made me think "this will be enjoyable". Another female author of fantasy novels targeted to teen & young adult females. My only encounters with such people prior were dreadful. A pre-dominantly teen female fanbase, again my experiences with this have been less than stellar (think squealing, crying and hyper-ventilating pop star tarts who actually think their favorite boyband member seels them as anything but a walking ATM). The fanbase of a movie based on the authors book has attacked me before. The cast & crew of the film were less than friendly. A bookstore who seemed militantly adamant that she couldnt sign going in for the 3 people waiting, and that she couldnt sign after she was done despite promising to do so when I asked her going in. (BTW - note to Chapters & all publicists. YOUR JOB IS TO SELL BOOKS...so why would you strongly discourage such things by trying to stop the author from signing books?) The idea this was going to be anything short of terrible seemed laughable.
But it actually wasnt too bad. The author was pleasant. The fans were well behaved. Cassandra kept her word, despite the staff strongly discouraging her from doing so. No complaints (except for the fact I could have been gone 90 mins sooner had the staff just allowed her to sign going in)
To the gaggle of haters I incurred without logic after my set visit this past summer. I'll give this to your author. She showed class and personality that I wish the crew & cast (Robert Sheehan being the lone exception) had shown.
Cassandra could almost make anyone a fan of her work. Who knows, maybe I might even go check out the 1st film when it comes out. In the mean time... her book will be sitting there, probably collecting dust till I sell it, or give it to someone. But she did her job, she got me to buy 1. Few other authors have had that same success.... and THAT is called just good P.R. & how you can make a fan out of a non-fan. Something other writers of this age demographic fail to see.
To see the entire Q&A check out the Official youtube video here
28 minutes is just dead space. So skip to about 28:40 or so)
Sarah Rees Brennan official Website
Cassandra Clare's official website