Amherst author Cassandra Clare is about to have another big premiere for "The Mortal Instruments."
In 2013, "City of Bones," the first book in her best-selling young adult fantasy series, was released as a big-budget film starring Lily Collins and Jamie Campbell Bower. Box office numbers were less than stellar, so there was no sequel. It seemed like an opportunity missed; Simon & Schuster reports that the series has more than 24 million copies in print.
In 2014, though, news broke that the franchise would be rebooted as a television series, and last year, McG, of the "Charlie's Angels" movie and "The Mysteries of Laura," signed on to direct. The show, called "Shadowhunters," stars Katherine McNamara as Clary Fray, the heroine played by Collins in the film. The series will follow Fray as she discovers a secret world of demons and the Shadowhunters who fight them. The first episode airs on Freeform (the new name for ABC Family) on Jan. 12.
We checked in with Clare this week to find out how much time she spent on the set and whether she'll be watching the premiere at home in Massachusetts.
Q. Where will you be watching the "Shadowhunters" premiere?
A. I believe at McG's house, with the cast and the producers. I wasn't originally going to fly out to LA, but he promised me there would be synchronized swimming. That's only sort of a joke — he did promise synchronized swimming, but of course I wouldn't want to pass up an opportunity to watch a TV show with the people who created it and worked on it. I'm curious to watch them watching.
Q. Has the show prompted a lot of traveling? How much time have you been able to spend at home in Mass.?
A. I haven't been very involved in the show, so not too much traveling. I went up to the set, which is always fun, getting to watch the cast and crew work and create a whole world on screen. I've been to New York twice to promote the show, once for Comic Con, which was wild. Some of the cast is very experienced, but for some it's the first time they've worked on something like this, so to be with them while they experience people being so excited to meet them and so enthusiastic is fun.
Q. Has the TV show made it difficult to keep to a writing schedule?
A. With TV shows, or movies, it's always long periods of quiet and then flurries of activity. There have often been requests for publicity, interviews — even this interview I'm doing now — that do cut into my writing. I don't think there's a way around that. You do your best to find a balance, and try to keep your stress levels down.
Q. With "Shadowhunters" on ABC Family/Freeform, we must ask: Have you read/Are you a fan of "Pretty Little Liars"?
A. I did watch the first season! Marlene King, who's the showrunner, wrote actually a very good early draft of the movie of "City of Bones," and she also sent me the whole first season of "PLL" as a box set. Then I kept meaning to continue it, but all the publicity and the business of the movie cut in, and now I don't have time for TV watching. I don't think I've completed a season of anything in ages! It's a goal.