How do you feel about the Vampire Diaries TV show?
I think it is a brilliant story, brilliantly written, beautifully acted, with terrific direction, cinematography, and music. I couldn’t improve it (except perhaps to image Nina blond and put Meredith back, and a few other things). Of course, I still wish that someone as talented as Kevin Williamson would come along and tell the story the way it is told in the books, but that doesn’t dull my appreciation of the version that is out.
Will there be more delicious Delena moments in Midnight?
Shadow Souls is the book I have enjoyed writing the most since the original Vampire Diaries book, The Awakening. I didn't worry about going into a different dimension and crossing the boundary between "urban fantasy" and "high fantasy." I just followed my heart and wrote.
And I can't deny that there is a strong chemistry between Damon and Elena. But this is, after all, a love triangle, with Stefan at the other point. And with Stefan back, Elena's guilt is enormous. I think that I may have gone with my own personal feelings a little too far in Shadow Souls--and now poor Damon is racked with human emotions and reactions to Elena. Anyway, I hope that the Delena squad understands that, well, those problems may make Damon end up doing things that he otherwise wouldn't do. Besides, Damon is the Bad Boy of the Vampire Diaries. He has to do some naughty things in order to keep his mind at ease.
Anyway, brace yourself for Midnight—and keep Shadow Souls on hand to read if you get worried, and be prepared for a wild ride.
I like your strong female characters. Why do you write about them?
Because I want to create role models for teenage (and even younger) girls who read my books. If you look at the books, just about every heroine has a future career or goal in mind (even fickle Elena Gilbert is determined to one day return to the Dark Dimension and help free the slaves). Some of my characters, like Rashel Jordan of The Chosen, and Jez Redfern of Huntress (both from the Night World series) are already immersed in their careers as vampire-hunters. Poppy North (also Night World, as are the next few girls) has an ambition to travel the world, and Mary-Lynnette Carter wants to become an astronomer. Hannah Storm wants to be a paleontologist (although these days she’s probably got her hands full helping to run Circle Daybreak.)
Some of my characters don’t start out as strong girls. They start out as shy, introverted or gentle girls, like Cassie Blake of The Secret Circle, or Jenny Thornton of The Forbidden Game. Then the story is about how they become stronger, through their terrifying experiences and their concern for other people. Strange Fate has this kind of a heroine, Sarah Strange.
About Twilight . . .
Sorry, but I don’t comment on Twilight at all, now, except to say that I haven’t read it or seen the movies. Yes, I do appreciate readers who know my books—some of them who have known them since the Vampire Diaries came out back in 1990-91 and Night World somewhat later—and who make lists of the similarities between my books and the Twilight series. I appreciate most the readers who’ve read all my series and thus can make complete lists. But I’m not sure what, if anything, I might “do” about the lists.
Why do you write urban fantasy?
I suspect it is because it was fantasy literature that had the most influence on me when I was a child and adolescent. I’ve often said that as a child I was certain that magic must exist, and that I would find it. But by the time I was twelve or thirteen I realized that if I wanted magic I was going to have to make it for myself. I was already a writer by then—I’d started with poetry when I was four or five, and showed my work to teachers by age 6. But I was a storyteller from a much younger age than that. As far as I can remember, I always had several stories going on in my head and many of them partially written down. My first two published books were only “urban fantasy” in the sense that C. S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia are. But my first bestsellers were the next books I wrote, The Vampire Diaries. Once I got started with vampires and witches and so on, I got so many letters (yes, snail mail—this was the old, old days) asking me to write more that I did write more.
I want to write a book, but I don’t know what about. How do you get inspired?
I’m not going to be much help, I’m afraid. I am always doing one story or another in my head, so you could say that my problem is being too inspired—many of my stories never get written down because I can’t keep up with the thoughts in my mind. There is one exception. For ten years I suddenly had writer’s block, before the end of the Night World series. My sister’s husband was diagnosed with Stage IV cancer, and my mother with terminal cancer. While I was immersed in this, I had no inspiration at all. I couldn’t finish the book I was in the middle of writing. There were no stories in my head. That was the worst time of my life, and I could find no way to break through the block. But I tried meditation, going without reading or watching videos at all so I was stuck in my own head, taking care of toddlers, writing just any old junk on a keyboard, writing in a notebook instead of on computer, writing diary entries, and writing nonfiction. Nothing helped me, but it might help you.
I want to be an author someday . . . How do I become a writer?
I think there are two things I would advise for someone who wants to be a writer. The first is to keep reading—not just vampire books, but any and all books that even slightly catch their interest. Reading will open the world to you.
And, second, write a little something every day. It can be as simple as a long text conversation (but remember that when you’re sending in your first book, grammar counts!) or writing in a diary, or scribbling down an idea for a story. But the absolute best training is to try to write stories in a normal conversational style, to keep a blog that you update frequently, to write fanfic, or to write poetry (if you want to be a poet—or even if you don’t.)
Fanfic? Is it okay for me to write fanfic based on your work?
Of course. I’d be a hypocrite and an idiot to try to stop it. I don’t mind what you do with my characters as long as you don’t rub my nose in it. I might even run a contest for the most interesting (G-rated) fanfic ever written in all the years since my various series first came out. The same with art—which I’m glad to see, always.
Will you link my blog or site to your site?
Yes. Just send me the link, and a brief description of what your site is. If it’s for adult fanfic—you know what I mean—just tell me so I can include it in the link section. I am very sorry to have dropped the ball on two or three foreign blogs that wanted me to link to them. With my old site, it took a long time and a lot of money to change anything about the site. I hope this site will be different.
I really enjoyed your Vampire Diaries books. What should I read next?
If you liked Vampire Diaries, then you might enjoy my Night World series
--it's primarily about vampires, but it also mixes in werewolves, shapeshifters, witches, etc. In these stories, you'll find vampires who've fallen helplessly in love with their human soulmates--but it's the law that any Night Person who loves a human must be punished by death. If you like Damon, you'll probably also like the vampires Ash Redfern, Quinn, and Morgead--not to mention James Rasmussen of Secret Vampire,
the first book in the Night World
series. (BTW, you can find the first chapter of Secret Vampire
in Sneak Peeks