So, for those of you who missed the chat/haven't heard the news, first click here and then read this:
From Publisher's Weekly:
Simon & Schuster has signed books five and six in Cassandra Clare's bestselling YA series, The Mortal Instruments. S&S says there are more than three million copies of the series' three published titles in print. Clare launched The Mortal Instruments in 2007, with City of Bones, about a teenage demon slayer; City of Ashes and City of Glass followed. Book four, City of Fallen Angels, is scheduled for April 2011... The two new books under contract--City of Lost Souls and City of Heavenly Fire--are scheduled, respectively, for May 2012 and September 2013.
Clare will also be touring, in late August, to promote Clockwork Angel, which is the first title in the prequel series to The Mortal Instruments, The Infernal Devices. Film rights to The Mortal Instruments have been optioned by Unique Features.
So yes, in other words, City of Fallen Angels is not going to be the last book in the Mortal Instruments series. After it publishes next April, it will be followed by two more books: City of Lost Souls, and City of Heavenly Fire.
Now, you may well ask, and I understand why — why three more books? I've always said that The Mortal Instruments was conceived of as a trilogy; I didn't have any intention of continuing past Glass, initially. Two things happened to change that: One, I had written a plot for a graphic novel about what would happen to Simon after the events of Glass. When the graphic novel didn’t work out, I was left with this storyline and nothing to do with it, so I suggested the idea of a Simon-centric fourth Mortal Instruments book to my publisher, and showed them the outline for the graphic novel. They were pleased with the idea, and we made the deal for City of Fallen Angels, though at that point I hadn't written any of it yet — I was still finishing up the first book in The Infernal Devices, Clockwork Angel, which deals with Jace, Clary, and the Lightwoods’ ancestors.
As I wrapped up Clockwork Angel, the way events played out in it gave me the idea for a new villain and conflict that might beset the cast of characters from The Mortal Instruments, and connect up to the Simon plotline that I already had. I’ve always liked stories where the distant past comes forward to affect the future, so, without being spoilery, when I realized I could connect the events of Infernal Devices to the few loose ends left at the end of Glass, I realized I wouldn’t want to pass up writing that story, especially considering how much chaos I knew it would bring to the lives of Jace, Clary, Simon, Alec, Magnus, Isabelle and the rest!
Then, in October of last year, I sat down to start writing the story of City of Fallen Angels. I had a detailed outline based in part on the graphic novel idea I had had, but when it came to expanding the outline and writing the story, it just wasn’t working for me. I was on a writing retreat in Mexico with a number of other writers, and when we sat down to go over the issues I was having, I realized that the story I had thought I was telling was really a much bigger story — that my smaller, Simon-centric story had morphed into something much bigger, much more epic, and deeply involving the whole cast of characters from the first three Mortal Instruments books. I realized that what I had on my hands was not a single book that would wrap up the story begun in The Mortal Instruments, but rather the beginning of a new trilogy about these characters. (The fun part was calling my agent and editor to explain “You know that one book I was going to write? Well, actually, it’s three books!” I like to think I could hear heads hitting desks all through Simon and Schuster.) But when I submitted the outlines for the new Fallen Angels, City of Lost Souls, and City of Heavenly Fire, they were thrilled with the idea of the new trilogy — and I hope readers will be as well!
So,just to be absolutely clear: the Mortal Instruments is now a six-book series. I have made a pact with myself not to go beyond that number, but I understand if no one believes me. :) In the meantime, you can call it a saga, a series, a chronicle, or Six Things to Prop Up Your Table With. All I know is that I had a blast writing City of Fallen Angels and I can't wait to get to Lost Souls and Heavenly Fire — it's going to be an intense, dark journey for Jace, Clary, Simon and co. (not to mention a few new characters we meet along the way) and I hope people will be looking forward to reading them as much as I'm looking forward to writing them.
A few people have asked why the uneven publishing schedule (April, then May, then September, of each year.) Keep in mind that I am still writing the Infernal Devices series. This staggered schedule was the only way I could write both series at the same time and not die. In fact, Simon and Schuster has made the awesome widget below — click on the lower right hand corner and you'll get a glimpse of literally how many Shadowhunter books are coming up! It's pretty cool.
I'd also like to thank everyone who partipated in the chat — with something like 4,000 RSVPs it could have been total chaos but I think we managed to pull through it fairly unharmed. If you had a question about the new books that you didn't get answered in the chat, you can feel free to drop a question here and I'll do my best to answer!
***And yes, all these are placeholder covers. They don't look anything like the final covers are going to look!