Author Interview: Richelle Mead


Richelle Mead is the author of the ever popular Vampire Academy series. The much anticipated fourth book in the series, Blood Promise, is scheduled for release on August 25 for Americans and August 26 for Australians. As a bit of a teaser, Richelle was kind enough to take time out of her busy schedule to answer some questions about herself, and her beloved vampire series to get you ready for Blood Promise. Fear no, there are no spoilers in this interview, so sit back, grab a cuppa, and enjoy the show…

The age difference between Dimitri and Rose is quite big, why/how did you decide to make Rose’s love interest a much older man?

Well, it’s not that big a difference!  Questions like this are hard to answer because my response is usually “because it felt right.”   That’s just the way their story needed to be told.  When I started conceiving the characters and the world, it just came together that Rose and her instructor would fall for each other.  And of course, it adds the dangerous and forbidden element that we all love.

Lissa and Rose are an unlikely match, personality wise. If they weren’t bonded, do you think they’d be friends?

Absolutely!  They actually were friends years before the bond existed.  I think it’s a pretty common phenomenon (the friendship, not the bond!).  Sometimes we need to be around people who have different traits to complement our own, and I’ve had a lot of teens write me and say their friendships are just like Lissa and Rose’s.

The Vampire Academy world has three ‘types’ of vampires. Why/how did you decide to separate the good, evil and half breeds into three separate races?

This is actually a concept found in Romanian folklore.  I loved the idea of it, especially since it was so different from the usual images of vampires that are out there.  So, I used pieces of that myth as the basis for my world and then built my story around it.

All throughout the VA series, there have been references to Russian language and culture, especially in Blood Promise. Do you have any familial ties or previous interest/experience with all things Russian?

I actually have no connections whatsoever to Russian or Romanian culture—and struggle when people ask me to pronounce some of the VA terms!  I chose to have both cultures influence the VA world because those regions have such fantastic vampire stories in their folklore.  So, it seemed natural that Eastern Europe would be where a lot of my vampires came from.  Without having visited, I have to do a lot of research to make things work!  I read a lot and am lucky enough to know people who speak the languages.

Do you name your books, or does your publisher have some input, too?

They definitely have input.  In fact, I’d say the relationship in selecting titles is 50/50.  We can’t go forward until we have a title we all like, and Shadow Kiss is notorious for having taken months.  So, we end up constantly swapping suggestions back and forth, and every time, one hits that gets us all excited.

How easy/hard was your rise to publication success?

Publication is never easy for anyone.  There are so many variables that affect success: book quality, promotion, timing, and a lot of luck!  Any of these can have their own degree of difficulty.  Mine were mixed, which is typical of most authors.

Before the Vampire Academy books were released, you wrote adult fiction (and still do). What prompted your move into the YA genre?

I had some extra time (if only I did now!) and wanted to start a new project.  Since I was a teacher then, someone suggested YA, and I thought it sounded like a lot of fun.  I was also interested in it was because it was so different from my adult books, and writers always looking for new ways to experiment with their creativity!

What is your fave book?

I have a few faves, but let’s go with The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?

I do a lot of mundane things like reading and watching TV.  I also occasionally try my hand at gardening (with varying results) and have been dabbling in genealogy recently.  Probably one of my very favourite things is socializing with friends, which gets tough to fit in with books always being due!

For you, what is the best and worst things about being a writer?

The best part is that I absolutely love it, which is so important because even the most wonderful jobs will have hard, stressful, hair-pulling days.  It’s hard to get through those days if you aren’t passionate about your work, and I definitely am.  I love my characters, their worlds, and their stories. The hardest part is that the job rests on me.  I don’t work for anyone.  I sell my books to my publishers, and then it’s up to me to make sure I finish them.  So, this job requires a lot of discipline and time management to go with the romance and glamour.  It’s up to me to make sure I’m putting in the time and giving the books the attention they deserve.  It can be very stressful sometimes!

Stay tuned for our review of Blood Promise coming your way on the day of release!

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