Tag Archives: Harry Potter

Meeting Cassie Clare: The YA family

I’m a book nerd. Obviously. So what to book nerds do when they find out when they’re going on vacation? They go online and see if any of their favorite authors are going to be there at the same time. At least that’s what I did last summer when I found out I was going to San Diego, and by divine intervention or dumb luck, the author of one of my favorite book series, Cassandra Clare, was going to be in town right in the middle of my vacation.

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Of course I had to go. I made room in my luggage for her most recent publication, City of Lost Souls, and headed west. I somehow convinced my parents to use the rental car and drive me to the “Mysterious Galaxy” bookstore, where a hundred teen girls and tween girls with their mothers packed into the little store. It was the floor or standing room only by the time I arrived.

I knew about Cassie through social media, Tumblr, Twitter and the like, and I am happy to report she is just as sweet and sarcastic as she seems online. She read aloud the “manor scene” from Jace’s point of view, an obvious big hit for those who have read the books. (And if you haven’t, I definitely recommend them if you like YA fantasy.)

She then opened the floor for questions. She talked about her books and what’s coming next for her beloved characters and the Shadowhunter realm in general. She also talked about her personal life, what she likes to read, where she gets her ideas from. These answers held the most interest for me. She said she never reads books in the same genre as what she’s writing, she’ll read something more contemporary, like John Green or a murder mystery. She explained that if she reads something in the same genre she’ll start to worry, “Oh my god, this book has a talking cat, I have a talking cat, I have to kill the cat!” she joked. There are always going to be similarities in books, that’s what makes it a genre, she said.

After her talk, it was time for the signing. We lined up outside in the bookstore in the lovely San Diego dusk and waited. One of the best things about going to nerdy events is that everyone there is a nerd. Some are bigger nerds than others, but everyone, at some level, is a nerd, which means more than likely you’ll have more in common with them than you would the average Joe on the street. In line there was no shortage of talk on Harry Potter, Hunger Games, the Green brothers and nerdfighteria, Doctor Who, Sherlock, the list could go on and on. Name any nerdy fandom you can think of, it was represented there. It’s great to be surrounded by people who love (OK, are obsessed with) the same things you do, without inhibition, and you can just let go and be yourself. I’ve also found people at these kind of events are incredibly nice and courteous, especially compared to say a sporting event. When we’d gone through the line, the girl I had been talking with asked me for my Twitter handle, said “It was so nice to meet you!” and gave me a big hug. We still fangirl together over Twitter occasionally.

Cassie herself was, as I mentioned earlier, lovely. She greeted me when I walked up and asked me where I was from. Her movie was being casted at the time, and they had announced who would be playing Alec earlier that day, so naturally I gushed about how attractive he is. She responded enthusiastically, saying “I met him the other day and I was just like, ‘What’s it like to be so tall and incredibly good-looking?” She also told me she was taking a poll, and asked who my favorite characters were from each series. I replied, “Is it cliche if I say Jace and Will?” She said something to the effect of, Ah, the Herondale boys. Of course not! and told me they were in the lead. She was a sweetheart and posed for a picture with me after she signed my book. It was an overall great experience, and just another reason I love my YA fiction family.

 

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Queen Rowling: A discussion of Her Majesty’s latest contribution to society

“Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.”

When I was eight I heard this sentence for the first time. Little did I know it would change my life and the lives of millions of others across the globe.

J.K. Rowling’s Potter series completely reinvented the way we think of children’s fantasy literature. Clearly it is not just for children, nor only for people that like fantasy. Harry Potter is for everyone. The question now is, can she do it again?

When the epic story of The Boy Who Lived came to a close, many began to ask what was next for Rowling. Some were demanding the next generation series about the Golden Trios’ children and their subsequent adventures at Hogwarts, while others wanted to know what the wizarding world was like when The Death Eaters and The Order of the Phoenix were only beginning to form. Rowling, however, declined both of these ideas, and claimed to be done with the world of Harry Potter.

Then, in April, Rowling announced the title of her new novel: The Casual Vacancy. There was a heightened amount of secrecy surrounding Rowling’s project, which in turn heightened the expectations and interest. Along with the title, the publisher also released a short synopsis of the plot, only making us more anxious to get our hands on Rowling’s next masterpiece.

The Casual Vacancy centers on the chain of events that occur in an idyllic English town after one of the members of the parish council, Barry Fairbrother, dies under mysterious circumstances. Other than the fact that Barry rhymes with HarryThe Casual Vacancy is just about as far from the Harry Potter phenomena as it could be; in fact, the publisher describes the book as “blackly comic.”

With such a strikingly different subject and genre, who will the audience be for this new novel? I know I want to read each and every word J.K. Rowling has ever written and will ever write, and I assume it’s the same for most Potterheads. However, I think Rowling will also pick up some new readers. Adults who were wary of Harry Potter because it’s supposedly geared toward children may be more apt to pick up a Rowling book that’s shelved in the adult fiction section. And maybe those adults, after devouring The Casual Vacancy, will realize what a proficient storyteller Rowling really is, and will give Harry Potter a go, because saying Harry Potter is just for kids is like saying ice cream or naps are just for kids.

Whatever the case, in 21 days the world will find out just how well Rowling can write sans Potter. I have no doubt I will tear through the 512 pages in no time and be left hungry for more, and hopefully the more reluctant will be sufficiently impressed at Rowling’s ability to break out of her typecast. Even if the book is a complete flop (which is highly unlikely), it will never change the fact that to her devoted subjects in the realm of witchcraft and wizardry she will forever remain Queen Rowling.

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