Sunshine And Flowers Help Cassie Clare Write ‘Really Dark’ ‘City Of Lost Souls’

All week long (and for part of next week) we’ve been rolling out parts of Cassandra Clare and Holly Black’s interview with each other, in which they’ve revealed a little about the upcoming books in their “Mortal Instruments” and “Curse Workers” series, and a lot about the thinking behind their novels. You may have noticed that the two look very relaxed as they bask in the sunshine on a patio and giggle at each others’ questions. The video was actually shot by Holly’s husband, Theo, while the authors were at their annual writing retreat in San Miguel de Allende, a town north of Mexico City. And it turns out, all that sunshine definitely helps their dark and broody YA stories grow.

“I have great memories [of being here], because I finished half of ’Red Glove’ in a month’s time last year, which is crazy for me,” Holly said, when Cassie asked how it felt to be back in Mexico. “But I feel really great because I finished ’Black Heart’! I finished I finished! I feel really, really, really good.”

The whole idea for this South of the Border writers’ retreat came about in 2009, when married authors Scott Westerfeld (“The Uglies”) and Justine Larbalestier (“Magic or Madness” trilogy) recommended the town to Cassie as a great place to churn out pages.

“They firmly believed it was the atmosphere and the food and also being away from the daily concerns of home,” Cassie told us in an email. “So we rented this huge house with our husbands, and we invited a ton of other authors like Sarah Rees Brennan (’The Demon’s Lexicon’) and Delia Sherman (’The Porcelain Dove’). We were there for about a month and other writers cycled in and out, some for a week, some for longer.”

This year, the guests included Maureen Johnson (“Suite Scarlett”), Robin Wasserman (“Seven Deadly Sins”) and Paolo Bacigalupi (“The Windup Girl”). And in case you were wondering, it was a productive month for Cassie too.

“I’ve gotten about half, maybe more of ’City of Lost Souls’ done here,” she told Holly. “It’s funny, because it’s a really dark book. It’s got a lot of darkness, a certain amount of existential angst, and meanwhile I’m writing in these extremely beautiful surroundings, surrounded by all these flowers!”

If you’re as charmed as we’ve been by Holly and Cassie’s rapport with each other, you can have a chance to see it in action on their tour together. It begins with a big “Red Glove”/ “City of Fallen Angels” midnight book release party on Monday night at San Diego’s Mysterious Galaxy Books. Holly’s site has all of their appearances.

Come back Monday for a bit of “City of Fallen Angels” Jace scoop!

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+ Meet New ’Mortal Instruments’ Character Maureen, Simon’s Biggest Fan
+ ’White Cat’ Author Holly Black Explains The Romance Of Noir
+ Which Hot Blond Guy Would Cassandra Clare Cast As Jace In ’Mortal Instruments’?

Will you be picking up “City of Fallen Angels” and/or “Red Glove” next week?