On top of the world with Cassandra Clare

Auckland Writers and Readers FestivalToday I climbed what felt like the steepest hill in the world, but it was worth it, because at the top of the hill, in the poshest hotel I have been in for a long time (butlers! giant chandeliers! ladies who lunch!), I got to sit and chat with Cassandra Clare.  Here for the Auckland Writers and Readers Festival, Cassandra is speaking at both general festival events, and several sessions aimed more specifically at teens, including the festival’s schools’ programme, and the Wordy Day Out.

Cassandra is a best-selling author of two fantasy series for teens, the Mortal Instruments series (currently up to book 4: City of Fallen Angels), and the prequel Infernal Devices series (book 1: Clockwork Angel).  I love these books, and am constantly waving them at people, both young and old, and so it was a great privilege to be able to meet Cassandra and talk with her.

I’m not going to say much else here, because you can listen to the whole interview below (apart from the bit where there was a small technical hitch involving a waiter, the pause button and some spaghetti bolognese).  I will also be attending Sunday’s session on Fantasy writing, at which Cassandra is speaking, and will no doubt have some more to share about that later.  For now, grab a cuppa and turn the volume up, and have a listen to this interview. I began by asking her what percentage of her audience were adults:


[9 minutes 8.8Mb .mp3]

Students excited by writing? You bet!

At the schools programmeCassandra Clare was one of several young adult authors on the programme for high school students at the Auckland Writers and Readers Festival. She held the attention of several hundred students with ease as she answered some perceptive questions about the writing process.

Schools from as far away as Hamilton had made the trip, and the students were interested in all sorts of things – her opinions on Draco Malfoy (hard done by as a character), whether her work would be available in graphic novel form (yes) and how she got to be where she is now.

There was a refreshing buzz in the air as they queued to get books signed. I spoke to a couple of students in the line, Rebecca and Charlotte from St Cuthberts. Rebecca was literally jumping for joy after seeing Garth Nix and Sean Williams; Charlotte had been to Cassandra Clare’s session, as had Anna and friends from Hamilton. Teagan Johnson also shared her thoughts.

[4min, 3.7Mb .mp3].

Warning: the author of this post may explode with excitement

coverAuckland has The Big Day Out, The Girls’ Day Out and now it has The Wordy Day Out – the coolest event at the Auckland Writers and Readers Festival.  As soon as I saw this event featured in the festival programme, I knew I had to get to Auckland no matter what.

For those of you who haven’t been drooling over the programme for the Auckland Writers and Readers Festival, The Wordy Day Out, on Saturday is “a fun day featuring some of the best, brightest and liveliest authors around – all of whom happen to be labelled YA (young adult) authors.”  Looking through the list of authors attending, I think they got the description spot on.  Some of my favourite YA authors are there, including New Zealand’s own Brian Falkner, Bernard Beckett and Karen Healey, as well as some amazing international authors, including Cassandra Clare, Garth Nix, and Meg Rosoff.  There really is something for every fan – whether you’re into fantasy, horror, adventure, thrillers, gothic or sci-fi.

I’m truly buzzing with excitement, waiting to listen to these fantastic authors whose stories I love.  I’ll hang on every word and be first in line to get my books signed after each session.  Stay tuned for my report next week.