Richelle Mead on the end of Vampire Academy and the beginning of Bloodlines

Richelle Mead was kind enough to let me steal her away for a quick interview during the Romantic Times convention in Los Angeles – she even braved the gale force winds on the roof for a quick photo – and then we settled down to talk about the end of one series and the beginning of the next.

Byrt: Richelle, you’ve just come off finishing the Vampire Academy series – did it end like you thought it would? Did you always know how it was going to happen, how many books it was going to be?

Richelle Mead: Yeah, I knew from the beginning where the series was going to go, what was going to happen. I have to know that, I plan out all my series’ – there are no big plot surprises for me, I know how each book is going to end, how it’s going to move the series along.  And a lot of people like to send suggestions for how they hope it’ll end, but it’s already predetermined, I’m afraid.

Byrt: Six books – do you feel like you’ve evolved as a writer, or is your process the same every time?

Richelle Mead: Everyone evolves – anyone who doesn’t evolve isn’t doing their job as a writer. You should always – whether you know it or not – be getting better and better with each book. And I think that’s certainly the case with me. You learn more about yourself as a writer – and in a series, certainly, you learn more about the characters and the world, and I think it gets richer and richer.

Byrt: I know with actors, some actors can never watch their own performances – now that Vampire Academy is done, will you ever go back and read your own stuff? For fun?

Richelle Mead: Not after it’s released. There’s so much reading that goes into it, when you’re finishing a book – you revise it over and over, you proof it 100 times. I mean, by the time that book comes out, I’ve looked at it so many times that I really have no desire to go back and check it unless it’s a reference.

Byrt: Will you be- you’ve got a child on the way, do you think you’ll be reading your books to them someday?

Richelle Mead: Who knows. I don’t know. Maybe vampires won’t be cool with them. I don’t know.

Byrt: They’ll come back in- they’ll just be coming back in style.

Richelle Mead: Nah, they never go out of style.

Byrt: You’ve got the new series, coming out, Bloodlines – and one of the main characters is going to be Sydney, the alchemist we met in Vampire Academy. For alchemy, did you have to do a lot of research, now that you’re forcusing more on a different branch of your universe?

Richelle Mead: No, not so much – a lot of the alchemists’ world in the Vampire Academy series is my own creation, I’ve kind of invented their place and their history. It’s still useful – whenever you’re dealing with any mythology or folklore – to go and look at the actual canon. And so I have looked into actual accounts of medieval alchemy and things from that era. So it’s good to have that – we’ll see little tweaks of that – but for the most part it kind of remains my own creation.

Byrt: Is there a still a Romanian slant on the mythology of your series? Or are you evolving?

Richelle Mead: Alchemy, at least as we know it in our culture, in western culture, is more- a lot of what we’ve got has come down from Western Europe. It’s certainly a tradition that’s covered all different sorts of parts of the world, but for what I’m dealing with, I concentrated more on the medieval Western Europe part of it.

Byrt: With your series, there’s always a core romance – will that be true also of Bloodlines?

Richelle Mead: There will be multiple romances. We’re dealing with a big cast of characters, so they’ll be all sorts of intrigues here and there.

Byrt: So is it safe to say Adrian will be over Rose fairly quickly? Or…

Richelle Mead: That’s a hard thing to get over. Adrian’s got to – we’ll have to see. Stay with him and see what happens.

Byrt: As a character, Rose was so physical – Sydney it seems like will be a different kind of character. Will the story then be going in a different direction? Will there still be lots of action, or will it be more of a psychological/political-

Richelle Mead: There will still be lots of action. Sydney herself won’t be so active in it – you know, she isn’t the punching kind, she’s not out there in the fights. She’s a thinker; she’s a very cerebral character, and that’s fun in its own way – because I certainly don’t want the idea out there that the only way you can be a tough, independent person is if you’re willing to throw a punch, which is not true at all. And so I think it’s going to be a fun thing to see, that you can still have a very strong, very confident character who’s a little more on the thinking side, trying to kind of smooth things out. But there’s plenty of action characters still around, and lots of things going on – so it’s not going to be totally devoid of physicality.

Byrt: Is Sydney, would you say, over her prejudices towards vampires? Has Rose affected Sydney enough that’s she’s overcome it, or is this still something she’s going to be working on throughout Bloodlines?

Richelle Mead: Rose has certainly affected her, but Sydney’s got a lifetime of that to overcome, so you’re going to see kind of a conflicting set of emotions going on with that.

Byrt: And because it is the Romantic Times convention, I have to ask – what is your favorite romantic scene, story, couple anything.

Richelle Mead: My favorite story… I’m old school, I like Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice, that classic banterering kind of love – which is certainly the kind of thing I love to write. It’s one of my favs.

Byrt: Then as a fan of the book – do you like the movie or the miniseries more?

Richelle Mead: Oh no, certainly the miniseries.

Thanks again to Richelle for taking the time to chat with us!

For more on Richelle, you can find her website here.

And for more on Bloodlines, you can find the series website here.