Review of Cassandra Clare and Sarah Rees Brennan’s talk in Edinburgh for COHF Tour

On the 3rd June 2014 Cassandra Clare kicked off her City of Heavenly Fire UK Tour in Edinburgh, Scotland.

She was joined by Sarah Rees Brennan, author of the Demon’s Lexicon series, The Lynburn Legacy series and co-author of The Bane Chronicles, and answered some questions before signing fan books.

A good friend of ours, Alison (@clarysparabatai) was able to attend the event and we were lucky enough to get her to share her experience with us!

Please follow her on twitter @clarysparabatai,and if you use any of her words/pictures then please credit them back to her 🙂 thanks!

Edinburgh city centre was packed with excited teenagers showing their affection and passion in the clothes they wore and the tickets they held. There were fangirls everywhere you went, all enjoying the glorious sunshine that was highlighting the best of Edinburgh’s stunning vintage landscape. While the majority were heading in one direction (okay, sorry, that was a bad joke), myself and four friends arrived in the capital at approx. 4.30pm and found the venue for Cassie and Sarah’s signing before nipping to get some food.

We made our way back to the venue and arrived at 6pm to find a queue stretching halfway up the street. It didn’t take long for the queue to move and after twenty minutes we were inside the Assembly Roxy clutching our copies of City of Heavenly Fire. The venue was a church – quite apt for a Shadowhunter signing, I thought, and later Cassie commented on how it had quite a strong Institute resemblance! We took our seats but soon started to recognise other fangirls we’d met previously and wandered over for a chat, phone in hand at all times keeping up-to-date on twitter to find anyone else I follow who was there. We were told that Cassie and Sarah were running late but it didn’t bother us at all, it just gave us more time to socialise!

Sarah arrived on stage at 7.15pm and quickly introduced Cassie. They said they appreciated us being there despite the fact that One Direction were playing in the city that night, too. The only member of 1D Cassie remembers is Harry because of his third nipple! Sarah asked who’d read City of Heavenly Fire already and I proudly threw my hand in the air. To prevent spoiling City of Heavenly Fire Cassie and Sarah entertained us instead by reading out some of the voicemail messages left on Magnus’ phone after the Malec break-up. It seems like Izzy in particular was very intent on getting our favourite warlock to chat. I noted a few of my favourite lines:
• Isabelle describing the Lightwoods as the sexiest Shadowhunters, “a family of foxes”, and talking about the attractiveness of the Herondales. She said of Jace, “We took their honey and made him ours.” I loved that!
• Isabelle’s cat impression at the start of one message: “Church is calling you!” and her declaration that she ships Church and Chairman Meow and they shouldn’t be kept apart.
• “It’s Simon – you know me!”
• Drunk Alec. No explanation required, hehe!

Then the Q&A began and Sarah’s bad aim in throwing a t-shirt to the person to ask the first question led to a room full of laughter, and even Cassie was distracted from answering a question for a second and burst out laughing when Sarah accidentally knocked some stuff over on the table – they were both pretty hyper I’d say, it was great fun to see them laughing together.
Cassie carried on answering audience questions, and the topics became very interesting…
1) Magnus was her favourite character to write.
2) She can’t chose between Wessa and Jessa, or TMI and TID – there are different highlights in all of them.
3) Cassie made Isabelle’s eyes dark because she has a friend who has dark eyes and two blue-eyed parents. She laughed about the Valentine’s other daughter theory and told us that her favourite ever theory is that Tessa is Church and she’s living a secret life as a cat… and that Luke and Church were having an affair… and then that meant Luke and Tessa were together??!!
4) Q: Would she go worldwide with her Shadow world – and specifically whether we’re going to see Scottish Shadowhunters (Yes, please!!!)?
A: The Chinese Shadowhunters are missing Jem. The Mexican Institute will feature in TDA and the Paris Institute in TLH. She then contemplated the idea of a Scottish one and imagined Shadowhunters in kilts! (I think we’d all like that very much!!)
5) When creating new characters Cassie described the process as a blender effect – inspirations from history and people she’s met and just a variety of aspects mixed together until the person moulds into the character she wants them to be. She chooses names she loves and searches movie credits and phonebooks etc. for names she likes. Clary was named after a friend who lives in London.
6) (Fair warning, this next little bit isn’t very PG…) Cassie was going to write Sarah into her books as a syphilis prostitute. Sarah’s part was edited out though, unfortunately, but from it Demon Pox was born!
7) Q: Are you ever going to write a happy Herondale?
Cassie: The Herondales are all just really emotional, they have extreme highs and extreme lows.
8) Q: How did Maureen kill Camille?
Sarah: *picks up water bottle* Well, when someone thinks they can trust you, they don’t tend to expect- *pretends to hit Cassie over the head with the bottle*
Cassie: I wanted Camille’s death off the page so that we could focus on Alec’s reaction and confusion to the entire situation. Maureen has been getting stronger and stronger with each kill she’s made and she’s always been a bit crazy… Has anyone seen this week’s Game of Thrones? (S4, episode 8. If you haven’t, SPOILER: eyes being squished out and skull crushed with bear hands – nasty stuff! Poor Camille!)
9) City of Heavenly Fire has been the hardest book for her to write so far because of how many moving elements she had to draw together: loose ends, setting up TDA, killing people etc…
10) Sebastian is a dark version of Jace.
Sarah: Anyone tried hugging him until he doesn’t feel evil anymore?
Cassie: Nobody would survive!
That wrapped up the questions and then the signing began. I hadn’t managed to ask my question but it was verging on spoilery for City of Heavenly Fire and I would’ve had to word it very carefully anyway so I didn’t mind. We were sitting about halfway back so we had to wait for a little while to get our books signed. I decided to buy the first book in Sarah’s Lynburn Legacy: Unspoken. When we eventually got to the front of the queue everything was a bit chaotic because I had two books for Cassie to sign (CoHF and CP) and Unspoken for Sarah. Sarah was first to sign, and she gave me a little gift because I had Unspoken, that was a lovely surprise! When Cassie was giving me back CP and CoHF she said she really liked my necklace (angelic rune) and my hands were so full that it was awkward but I managed to give her a little gift – a little badge with the Scottish saltire on it – and she was really happy and put it on straight away. It meant a lot to me that I made her smile like that even for a second. Cassie said that she hadn’t had any opportunity to see much of Scotland and asked where in Edinburgh she should go. I was baffled because I’m not from Edinburgh and I was like, “Um… the castle?” They both laughed at that and Sarah said she’d seen it out the window on the way here. I told them that Eilidh (@TMIScotland) was sorry she couldn’t be there and that she’s in New York and immediately Cassie and Sarah were both like, “Oh, she’s lovely! We met her in Italy!” I was so glad that I actually got to have a conversation with them rather than just a few words, it was awesome! I was about to go to keep the line moving and Cassie asked if I could give Eilidh a t-shirt from her, which was lovely! I felt everyone staring at me as I walked away from the table with the t-shirt because hardly anyone else had one. I waited for my friends to all have their books signed and then we stood and talked to twitter friends again for a while and we got a group photo before we had to head home at around 9.30pm.
In the car home I opened my little gift from Sarah: it’s a little necklace with a 1 pence on it! I’m very curious to read Unspoken now and find out its significance. We were all so excited on the way home and full of so much energy because we’d had such a great time. Even now just remembering it all is making me smile. It was such a great experience to be in a room full of people who are as passionate about these characters and stories as I am. It’s hard to believe that TMI is done but by the sounds of things, Cassandra Clare has many more feels lined up for us all.

– Alison (@clarysparabatai)

Massive thank you to Alison for writing that up for us! It’s so nice we are able to share in the experience even though we were unable to actually attend!

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