Writing life

Holly and Cassandra

For Holly Black and Cassandra Clare, writing away from home means TimTams, grilled alligator and dips in the pool have become part of their typical day


Right now, Cassie and Holly are in Port Douglas, Australia, finishing up the third Magisterium book and getting ready to talk about the second, The Copper Gauntlet, at the Brisbane Writers’ Festival. Writing in a rented house with our partners, Holly’s kid, plus fellow author Kelly Link and her family, is pretty idyllic. So far, our day is part vacation and part work and has gone like this:

6am – Holly’s toddler wakes up and talks about the tropical birds he hears outside, trying to identify them. He drinks oat milk, pokes Holly and her husband.

7am – Husband finally gives up on sleep and carts child off for breakfast in the main house.

9am – Holly crawls out of bed and makes some coffee. Drinks coffee. Opens laptop to see all the email come in at once. The weird thing about being in Australia is that a whole US day goes by while we’re asleep. 

10am – Now, caffeinated and having read/replied to email, Holly starts writing the book. She tries to write about 500 words in the morning, so that when Cassie gets up, she can write the next 500 words.

11am – Cassie comes downstairs, already having checked her email, ready to go into town and get some food. We do that. Holly drinks carbonated coffee. At the grocery store, we pick up supplies for the day, including a ration of TimTams. While there, we discuss what will happen next.

1pm – Home again. Cassie writes 500 words. She listens to Taylor Swift. 

2pm – Cassie joins Holly in the pool, where she has snuck off to. We frolic with the kids and adults. Kelly Link’s daughter likes to play a game called Rusalka, which was taught to her by Sarah Rees Brennan and involves drowning us. We drown over and over again. 

4pm – Holly writes another 500 words. 

6pm – Cassie writes another 500 words. She teaches Holly’s child a game calling Gently Falling Raindrop which involves lying on the ground and screaming with your arms and legs in the air. 

7pm – We eat dinner. We’ve grilled some weird stuff, like alligator and kangaroo sausage. Cassie sneaks a peanut butter sandwich. Holly puts her child to bed. 

9pm – We discuss what is going on in the third book and what needs to happen next. We finish up other things we’re working on. We go back in the pool. We write email or essays or more words of Magisterium until we’re too tired to do it any more.

10pm – Some other people crawl off to bed, but not us!

1am – We go to bed, to do it all again the next day. Holly goes to sleep.

2am – Cassie reads horror novels in secret!!!! Then she is too scared to leave her room.

By the authors

Magisterium: The Copper Gauntlet

Cassandra Clare (and others)

Callum Hunt’s summer break isn’t like other kids’. His closest companion is a Chaos-ridden wolf, Havoc. His father suspects him of being secretly evil. And, of course, most kids aren’t heading back to school in the magical world of the Magisterium . . .

It’s not easy for Call . . . and it gets even harder after he checks out his basement and discovers that his dad might be trying to destroy both him and Havoc.

Call escapes to the Magisterium but things only intensify there. The Alkahest - a copper gauntlet capable of separating certain magicians from their magic - has been stolen. And in their search to discover the culprit, Call and his friends awaken the attention of some very dangerous foes - and get closer to an even more dangerous truth.

As the mysteries of the Magisterium deepen and widen, bestselling authors Holly Black and Cassandra Clare take readers on an extraordinary journey through one boy’s conflict -and a whole world’s fate.

Magisterium: The Iron Trial

Cassandra Clare (and others)

From the imaginations of bestselling authors Holly Black and Cassandra Clare comes a heart-stopping plunge into the magical unknown.

Think you know magic?

Think again.

The Magisterium awaits . . .

Most people would do anything to get into the Magisterium and pass the Iron Trial.

Not Callum Hunt.

Call has been told his whole life that he should never trust a magician. And so he tries his best to do his worst – but fails at failing.

Now he must enter the Magisterium.
It's a place that's both sensational and sinister. And Call realizes it has dark ties to his past and a twisty path to his future.

The Iron Trial is just the beginning. Call’s biggest test is still to come . . .

Find out more about the authors

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