Richelle Mead Goodreads Chat with Her Fans

On November 26th, Richelle Mead answered fan-submitted questions on Goodreads. A LOT of questions were submitted about movies for the Vampire Academy and Bloodlines series, her next release (The Indigo Spell), and Richelle’s other novels.

Bloodlines Movie

It’s not in the works just yet-but Richelle’s team is trying!

I would love for there to be a movie, but at the moment, no studio has taken us up on it. Fingers crossed it happen! And for me, the ideal cast would be a group of actors who haven’t made it big yet!

Vampire Academy Movie

We’ve all heard the rumors, but sadly

Currently, there’s no VA movie in production, despite a lot of rumors and an IMDB entry. We’re trying to shop it around to a studio because they’re the ones who can make it happen. Fingers crossed!

If the movie does get made, Richelle doesn’t “have an ideal cast. I think I’d like some unknown actors who are up and coming in Hollywood. :)” But even with that preference,

If there is a movie, authors don’t choose the cast, so I won’t have any say in it. Sorry! It’ll be up to the production company (Preger) and the studio. You can follow Preger’s updates here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Offici…

The Writing Life

Richelle always wanted to be a writer.

I loved stories so much that I wanted to write my own. If I wasn’t writing, I’d be a teacher. That’s what I used to do, and I loved it. Teenagers are so much fun, and you have a chance to be creative every day.

Vampires aren’t the only paranormal creature she loves. Growing up, she was a huge fantasy fan, which is part of the reason she decided on vampires for Vampire Academy.

I’d already written books about fairies and demons and wanted to try something new.

But even though she enjoys reading and writing fantasy, she’s happy with our world.

I’m not sure I’d want to live in any of those worlds. They have a lot of problems. 🙂 But it would be nice if Georgina’s world is real, and we have angels (even ones as silly as Carter) looking after us.

She doesn’t even dream about the characters.

Her favorite books include

Dragons of Winter Night by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman and The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley.

Richelle’s books are most likely not among her family’s favorite book lists, though.

Most of my family doesn’t read my books, actually. My husband usually reads early copies, though.

On juggling writing and her baby

It’s been really hard–a lot harder than I expected. My son goes to daycare during the day, which gives me time to work. That makes it extra important that I actually WORK during that time and don’t get distracted because once he’s home, it’s all about him. 🙂

Mostly I treat writing like an ordinary day job. I write while my husband is at work and while my son is at daycare. Then I try to spend evenings and weekends with them.

My son is welcome to read my books once he’s old enough! He loves to read children’s books right now–though I don’t have interest in writing any.

The Craft of Writing

For Richelle, planning her story before writing it is a necessity. She’s definitely a planner, not a pantser! She plans “as much as I can about all of my characters, as well as the plot. Knowing where you’re going stops you from getting stuck.” And it desn’t stop at planning each story, it extends to each series.

I know in advance that my stories are way too long for one book so I plan out a big plot to span several books and smaller ones to fill each book.

Even though themes can be found in her stories, they are not actually planned in. Sometimes

they just come up on their own when you’re telling an emotional story. I do plan a lot of foreshadowing, though.

Even the subplots are planned using a chart or outline.

I’ve written enough books that I have a good idea of how many pages something will take, so I’m able to lay out the subplots accordingly to make a book. And hopefully, the subplots help build the big plot that stretches over the series. It’s a complex process!

While “all the books I read when I was little” influenced her writing, actual story ideas come from her own head based on “little tidbits of life” and whatever is happening around her.

I think it’s important for writers to have lots of experiences–it helps with our stories.

Richelle also includes funny things she’s seen in real life.

If you’ve read Succubus Blues, her filling in for a barista came from something I once saw. I also knew a guy who dressed like Abe. And although my personal experiences aren’t in there, I try really hard to describe the same emotions I’ve felt in my life to make things as realistic as possible.

Richelle also does her fair share of research. She’s never been to Russia, so everything about that country in the books is something she learned by looking it up.  Common myths and legends are also incorporated into her books.

I grew up reading myths and legends. I loved them so much, and now I don’t even remember where I learned half of it. It’s just stuff I’ve “always” known at this point. I still keep up on research, especially with a new series, either on the internet or library books.

After the research is complete, where does Richelle write? In a “quiet, boring place (my home office)” with white boards to help her. Then she works on creating her characters. She focuses on creating

believable characters that readers can relate to. I try to put in real emotions because I think that’s the best way to get attached.

I do a lot of work building my characters, but no interview style. 🙂

This prep work comes in handy when she discovers she will need to write from that character’s POV (like Adrian). Since male characters think differently from females, she just tries to be as true to the character as she can.

Maybe when the book comes out, people will tell me [Adrian’s narration] sounds like a girl.

It also ends up that some of her characters deal with issues teens try and keep hidden, like cutting and eating disorders.

They’re in there not so much to raise awareness as they are because they’re realistic things that happen to real people. I think the most powerful characters are ones we can relate to.

But the character prep work doesn’t fully help Richelle become comfortable with new characters.

It usually takes an entire book to get to know them, which is why the first book in a series is so hard for me.

Which POV does she like writing best?

I love them all, but I really love writing the funny characters, like Adrian and Dorian. Georgina, Rose, and even Sydney are pretty funny too.

Characters and plot are not the only things Richelle plans out. She also pairs the main romantic couple before writing since it’s so important. A lot of the side romances just happen though. Writing love triangles can be tricky because “sometimes I have trouble making the girl’s affection for the guy who’s not going to win believable.”

As believable as Richelle’s characters are, she does not subscribe to the Alternate/Parallel Universe Theory (that an author’s characters exist in an alternative/ parallel universe and they are just writing their life stories).

I’m afraid I don’t believe it. I feel as though my stories come from me and my experiences.

She also doesn’t get emotional when writing them in intense scenes, “because I see it coming but sometimes I feel emotional reading them later.”

The key to her amazing stories are the amount of revision she does. She keeps “revising until it feels right–which can take a long time. No book is perfect in the first draft.” But even through all those changes her main plot lines stay the same. But, the little ones? They “change a lot, though.”

Her books are finished on time because of she has a healthy respect for deadlines and her love for the story she is crafting propels her. This wasn’t always the case, however.

Since becoming a professional writer, I’ve finished everything. But when I was younger (in high school and college), I hardly finished anything. I didn’t get good discipline until I was older.

That respect is especially important with a baby in the house. Becoming a mom hasn’t changed her writing, “only the time I have in which to do it,” which is a lot less.

Beta readers and critique partners are luxuries of the past for Richelle. She used to use them, but

Now that I have a publisher and am always running late on deadlines, there’s no time for anyone to read it before it’s due.

They must have worked well for her in the beginning, though, because when she was pitching the Vampire Academy books

It only took a couple of weeks for VA to get picked up. My agent submitted it to ten houses, and only one wanted it.

Regardless of the popularity of her books, she has a little say in her books’ covers.

Usually the publisher designs them and asks for feedback. Sometimes they’ll show me pictures of models to choose, which is fun. Ultimately, they make the final call.

Lots of fan questions focused on writing tips, so here are the ones Richelle has for you:

Write what you love, and don’t worry about what others think. Also make sure you write a little each day. If you go a long time without writing, it becomes easy to break your stride.

I think writing (for stories) is about emotion, relatable characters, and a strong plot. Poetry is about creating images and making people feel things, sometimes paired with a particular structure. All writing requires a lot of trial and error. Nobody writes perfect things all the time, and you have to keep trying. I’ve thrown out my share of stories.

For me, events usually connect to each other. If not, I have to create something in the middle to make them connect.

Third person (POV) is fun, but it’s a lot harder than first. You have to do a lot more work to get that personality to come through.

The toughest part of writing for her?

Probably the toughest things with writing are balancing writer’s block and deadlines. Sometimes I get stuck, but I have to turn in books by a certain date in order to keep up with my publisher’s schedule. During those times, I just do my best to get something on the page and hope I can fix it later.

The Vampire Academy Series

The mythology behind the series is “based on some Romanian myths about good and evil vampires in the world. I took that idea and built my own mythology.” And there some really good questions about the mythology. For instance, we learned that Moroi babies on’t drink blood right away.

They take milk when they’re little and don’t drink blood until their adult teeth come in (mid-Elementary school).

We also learned a little more about how the average Moroi lives.

Most Moroi get their money from jobs. Since the books usually focus on the royals, we’re seeing people who are living off family fortunes that have been passed down and invested to make more and more money. Most Moroi don’t live that way.

Richelle also cleared up some confusion about Dhampirs. Even though Joshua (from the Keepers) told Rose that they could have kids together in Last Sacrifice, “he was just super excited and rambling on and on without thinking about what he was saying.” Dhampirs still cannot have children together.

It’s no surprise that Dimitri was a very hot topic. He’s what Richelle had to say about him.

Dimitri’s never officially proposed [to Rose]. He just mentions it as a joke sometimes. 🙂

I don’t think I’ll ever write in Dimitri’s POV, actually. It’s probably better that way because then he’ll stay mysterious, and I think that’s part of why people love him!

Alberta slowly figured things out about R&D [Rose and Dimitri] over time.

[Are Rose and Dimitri living together?] Technically they have their own rooms at Court, but they spend a lot of time together. 🙂

Abe and Dimitri are actually pretty friendly. Abe just likes to mess with him sometimes.

Dimitri is 100% dhampir now, and even if he was Strigoi, they can’t have kids either…A bunch of mini Rose and Dimitris would be awesome! And also really dangerous!

Dimitri’s had some too-much-vodka days when he was younger.

His sister’s baby’s name is Katya (it’s a girl).

The most difficult [scenes to write in the series] was writing Dimitri as a Strigoi. I needed him to be evil, but I wanted people to still like him.

Abe was also a pretty hot topic. Richelle answered quite a few questions about his relationships with Janine and Rose. Apparently, he wasn’t an absentee parent because he didn’t care.

Abe didn’t know Janine was pregnant for a long time. Later, when he found out he did have a daughter, Janine was pretty hardcore about him not getting involved. Her independent spirit made her think she could do it all on her own, but of course, that couldn’t keep Abe away eventually.

Other Abe tidbits include:

They sent Rose to St. Vlad’s because it’s such a good school. Plus, Abe and Janine travel so much that they’re not really in their home countries anymore.

And no, there isn’t really a hunting trip. Abe was just trying to scare Dimitri!

[Abe and Janine] have other family, but no one they interact with that much anymore. I don’t think Rose thinks much about it (after all, she only just found Abe!), but it might be fun for her to encounter a few other surprise people. 🙂

[Abe’s specialization is] Earth.

He looks a lot like [the guy from the Dos Equis commercials.]She didn’t realize that there were 2 Sonya’s in the series until a fan asked about Dimitri’s sister Sonya.

It would be neat to get [St. Vladmir and Anna’s] story, but I don’t have any plans for it right now. It would take a lot of research to get all the historical stuff right, and I’d want to make sure I do it right. Maybe if I ever get more free time. 🙂

As for Rose’s bad behavior while dating Adrian. She cheated on Adrian because “She was in love with Dimitri and couldn’t help herself. It was still wrong of her, though. She should’ve broken up with Adrian first, but things happened kind of fast.”

Shadow Kissed was a seemingly important book in the series for Richelle. Not only is it her favorite

I know the ending made a lot of people sad, but it was a really powerful thing for me to write.

but by the time she got to Shadow Kissed, Richelle knew that she would write a spin off. “That’s when Jill first appeared.”

She also confirmed that the short story about Rose and Dimitri going to Russia called “Homecoming” will remain in the anthology Foretold  for now.

The publisher controls it, and so far, I think they’re going to keep it in the book. I’ll let people know if that changes.

The Bloodlines Series

Since it is her most current series, Richelle received the most questions about the Bloodlines titles. We got some background info on Sydney’s organization, the Alchemists:

I wanted to have some humans interacting in this world, and it took me a while to figure out why they wouldn’t tell everyone else about vampires. A friend of mine reminded me about the historical alchemists who loved chemistry and magical substances, and what’s more magical than vampire blood?

They needed some sort of symbol, and I chose the lily because it’s linked to purity, and they have so much of an obsession with keeping themselves and humanity pure.

Richelle also confirmed that she will write six books in the series, just like she did for Vampire Academy. And, no worries! After the series ends, the Vampire Academy world will most likely continue on.

I’m pretty certain I will continue writing in the VA world after that. But what that will be? I’m still deciding!

I still haven’t decided if I’ll go back to VA after Bloodlines, but I’ll definitely keep writing in the same world.

Other behind-the-scenes looks at writing the series clued us into why some characters are the way that they are. For example, the biggest differences between writing from Rose’s and Sydney’s points of view “are that Sydney isn’t as impulsive as Rose as thinks a little bit more before she acts. Both have really great senses of humor, which I love!”

And, Jill isn’t seeing ghosts at school like Rose did when she went out of the wards because “[the shadow kissed] don’t see ghosts right away. It took Rose a couple years.”

Mason and Micah look a like, but that’s it. “It’s just a total coincidence that they look alike, one that messes with Eddie a lot! 🙂 But they aren’t long lost brothers or anything.”

Eddie can prepare a turkey because he’s “able to visit his mom sometimes, and she likes to cook. Also, he took culinary science at St. Vladimir’s. :)”

The scrapped first chapter from Bloodlines that was written in Adrian’s pov really did happen. “This was a rough, unpublished chapter and a few things changed–liked Adrian’s birthday.”

And speaking of Adrian, there was definitely a lot of love (and questions) centered around him.

Adrian is using more and more spirit, it’s constantly having an effect on him, and we’ll start to see that happening in Bloodlines.

[Book 4 is in his POV] because of the plot. It’s going to be getting bigger, and not all of it will happen while Sydney and Adrian are together. In VA, I could follow Rose and Lissa both because of the bond, but I can’t do it here, so it’s time for another POV.

[She comes up with his witty quips] Most of it’s made up on the spot. Sometimes I’ll be out and hear or think of something and then save it for later. 🙂

He still would’ve been upset [after the break up with Rose], but not quite as much upset. Cheating hurts a lot more than a regular breakup.

I wanted there to be another guy to distract Rose, and I wanted him to pretty much be the opposite of Dimitri. As the series progressed, Adrian took on a life of his own and grew into more than I could ever imagine!

I pronounce it in an America midwest way: Ih-VOSH-kov. I have a feeling the Russian would be different.We won’t see any more of Mason’s ghost, but he’s always on Eddie’s mind, so we may hear a little more about him.

[Adrian and Sydney as a couple was] an idea I’ve had for a while, especially when she sees him in Last Sacrifice.

And as I suspected, Dimitri doesn’t know about Adrian’s feelings for Sydney, but Sonya suspects.

Richelle had this to say about writing Adrian and Dorian from the Dark Swan series:

They’re both so much fun! We know they always say such funny things, and I think my favorite part being in their heads is understanding what makes them say those funny things. I also really like being able to show their serious sides inside of them–which outsiders don’t always see.

Readers were also curious about everyone’s favorite Alchemist, Sydney. Here’s what we learned:

[Is from Utah because] Salt Lake City, and Utah just seemed to feel right.

She is an Aquarius.

I chose Sydney [as the main character] because she’s human, and I thought it would be really neat to see the vampire world from an outsider’s point of view. Plus, she’s so different from Rose, so that was a fun change.

Sydney would definitely be in college if she weren’t doing this, and yup–you could probably expect Dr. Sydney Sage PhD if that was the case. 🙂

If you’re one of the fans who have noticed a pattern in the series’ love relationships, Richelle’s “not consciously trying to do a pattern. It’s just coincidentally worked out that way!” She doesn’t “currently have any human-human [romance] plans, at least for this series.”

I’ve broken all the info for The Indigo Spell out into a separate section, but as far as general things we will see at some point in the series, here’s the list:

  • We’ll hear more about Daniella for sure.

I don’t know about Tasha and Mia.

  • There will be another trip to the Moroi court, but Richelle is not sure which characters will be there.
  • Rose will have a larger part in the story near the end of the series.
  • We’ll learn more about the Strigoi.

[We will find out what happens when a pregnant woman is turned into a strigoi (i.e., does the fetus turn strigoi also).]

[We will find out out why Strigoi can’t awaken a second time.]

A Strigoi could try to compel a Strigoi, just a Moroi could try to compel a Moroi. It’d be a showdown of whoever had the strongest will.

  • We will learn more about Abe, but Richelle isn’t sure whether she wants to do a story about Abe and Janine. She definitely doesn’t have the time for a short story on them right now.

Anyone who likes to look ahead shouldn’t look for a Fiery Heart synopsis “until after Indigo is out.”

I’m still outlining the Fiery Heart, but it’s tricky already. The male POV isn’t so hard, but two POVs require you to be cautious about the plot. I know how to write a book-length plot for one character, and I have to half that per person now to keep things under control. It’s difficult, as is passing off the story chapter by chapter.

On the possibility of graphic novels

I’d like to see Bloodlines made into graphic novels. It’ll depend on if Penguin wants to keep doing it. Unfortunately, with a graphic novel, it’s impossible to include every little thing, especially those quirky details. 😦 Editing is inevitable.

Indigo Spell

Richelle re-confirmed that The Indigo Spell releases on February 12, 2013. And while she’s been pretty mum on the plot, she did let loose a lot of information about who will be in the book in addition to little hints about what to expect.

So far, it has been confirmed that Lissa, Christian, Rose, Abe, Ian (from Last Sacrifice), and Dimitri will all be in The Indigo Spell. Roses’ part will be small and we may not get to see her with Dimitri.

I’m not sure yet if I’ll write more about R&D. We’ll see them occasionally in Bloodlines (especially the later books). Who knows? Maybe I’ll write more books about them when Bloodlines ends! 🙂

We will also get Adrian’s POV in this novel and through the rest of the series, and we may find out his middle name. The relationship with Eddie and Angeline will continue, but not hot and heavy like Rose and Dimitri were. They will be “much more casual.” This could be why Richelle said

Angeline has a lot of good scenes coming in The Indigo Spell! Stay tuned. She’s super fun.

Sydney’s family will show up, too. And, the focus on Sydney as an alchemist and her abilities with magic will be focused on “pretty equally” which is also confirmed by Richelle’s quip

The Indigo Spell is full of magic and witches!

Events that will happen in the story include Sonya’s wedding, a visit to an alchemist training facility [we will also learn more about re-education], and a restaurant visit

There’s a restaurant called Pies and Stuff in The Indigo Spell, but I can’t give away what happens there. 🙂

Oh, and the morning glories on the cover? They are important to the story.

Even though the first chapter of Indigo Spell is online, Richelle isn’t sure if the second one will make it to the web since it’s a decision made by her publishers.

Teasers for Sydney and Adrian can be found at http://blue-succubus.livejournal.com/293284.html. There’s no word on when more will be released, however.

I’m not sure when more teasers will come, probably early next year. And there won’t be any ARCs, I’m afraid.

Obviously, Richelle won’t give away the ending of Indigo Spell other than to confirm that it is a cliffhanger. But if she rated the cliffhanger on a scale from 1-10

I think suspense will be a 6, and impact will be a 9. 🙂

The Georgina Kincaid Series

Some fans also had questions about Richelle’s Georgina Kincaid series, which led to a revelation for the story’s inspiration

Succubus Blues came to me when I decided to try writing a normally “bad” character as someone good. I was also fascinated by writing a love story like hers that would have so many problems.

and which character she particularly enjoys writing

Georgina is probably my favorite POV because we have the same sense of humor.

About Seth, we learned

 I’ve actually never thought about writing from Seth’s POV, though I have thought about more short stories from Georgina’s. A lot of it comes down to time. I love those guys so much and would love to revisit them…it’s just hard squeezing it all in with my son and the rest of my contracts! 🙂

There are 10 [Seth’s other lives finding Georgina] but we only glimpse a handful of them.

And the (slight) possibility for new stories in the series.

I never thought about that! Maybe we will if I ever write some more Georgina stories. I miss those guys!

We also learned more about Carter.

Carter is the way he is because I didn’t want him to be like others would expect. Angels don’t have to look like angels to do good deeds. I think that’s true for ordinary people. Drab people can do amazing things. Jerome is his opposite. He’s a flashy dresser but does bad things. It’s a cliche, but you really can’t judge a book by its cover.

I would love to write about Carter too, but I don’t know when I’ll have the chance. It may be a very long time! Right now I’m so swamped with other contracts that I have books to write for the next few years. But maybe someday! He’s awesome.

Game Board of the Gods

The first novel in a new series, Richelle was very clear that this series has absolutely nothing to do with Vampire Academy or its spinoffs. It “is a futuristic adult novel.”

There is romance, but like all of my books, there’ll be lots of problems along the way! 🙂

The book isn’t 100% finished yet.

We might get teasers in 2013!!!

As for it’s characters, all Richelle would say is

Gameboard doesn’t have anyone exactly like Adrian, though the main guy does have his share of vices.

The Dark Swan Series

If Richelle does another book in the series, she is undecided whether it will take place right where Shadow Heir left off or a few years after.

I’d also like to do a 5th Eugenie book someday. Right now, I’m so swamped with my current contracts that I’m not sure when I’ll be able.

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