Back in April I had the immense pleasure of sitting down with Richelle Mead at Yallwest. I have finally transcribed the entire interview for you here. You can also watch the full interview at the bottom of this post.
Q: Tell us about your writing process?
A: For me my writing process has to be very scheduled because I have kids. Before I had kids I could just be like “I’m just gonna write at 2am and it’s cool”. When you have kids you gotta treat it very much like a job. My time is when they are in daycare and preschool so I can write from 9am to 4pm and if I don’t put in those hours they don’t get put in and it’s a good system for anyone trying to break into writing as well if your having trouble doing it. Set aside that time and just say from this time to this time I am writing no matter what.
Q: How far in advance do you plan a series?
A: When I sit down to write the first page of the first book I have to know how the last book is going to end and I usually how each book along the way what its big ending is going to be. That isn’t to say I have every detail planned out along the way. A lot of things do pop up. But the overall structure and the main plot arcs I do have to know. I think it makes for a better story.
Q: What is your inspiration for writing?
A: I think I have just alway been a lover of stories and I find most writers are like that. They love stories and you eventually you just want to write your own and from a very young age I was like that. I would love to read books and then I just wanted to write them.
Q: What writers would you say influenced your writing the most?
A: I really loved Lucy Maude Montgomery who wrote Anne of Green Gables. Whenever people are like “oh strong female heroine, what a new concept?” it’s really not. Even something like that you wouldn’t think Anne of Green Gables but she is strong and strong willed. And I always had, just in the back of my head, this is how girls are and this is how they should be. Another influence was Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman who wrote this Sword and Sorcery series called Dragonlance back in the 80s. Everyone who hate my cliffhangers has them to blame. Because I remember being dumfounded I read the second book in the trilogy and a main character died and someone else was kidnapped and I was like “wait this isn’t how books end”. It drove me crazy and I needed to read the third one and so now I do that in my books.
Q: How much of yourself (if at all) do you put into your characters?
A: I am all my characters and I am not. There is no character that you can say “that is totally Richelle Mead transported into a book”. Nobody’s like that but there is glimmers of me in all of them as their creator, there can’t help but be. Now that doesn’t mean to say “ow that murderous villain” like that my secret thing but their personality quirks. It’s such a mix of things. It’s a mix of me and things I see in the world and you just synthesize it into the book.
Q: You have said the idea for the three vampire races: dhampir, miroi, and strigoi, came from Romanian folklore. Where did the idea of the alchemists come from?
A: It was partially a suggestion from my friend. I had told him I need a secret society to work into this world and he was like “what about the alchemist?” and strictly speaking the alchemist of history really don’t do what mine do but it kind of gave me a springboard and I have really changed them quite a bit so I am not sure how much resemblance between mine. But that was where it came from I just wanted this kind of Men In Black kind of group to be active in the vampire world.
Q: Unfortunately the second book in the Vampire Academy series,Frostbite, was not turned into a movie. Which actor would be your #1 pick for Adrian Ivashkov?
A: I have always tried to keep my head clear of that. I rarely talk about dream casting. I find it’s easier to be open minded because then when things are cast you aren’t upset. I mean people get vicious on the internet, they get suicidal on the internet. They are like “I can’t believe my dream actor wasn’t cast” and I just want to stear away from that and just what come is what comes.
Q: Adrian or Dimitri?
A: I can’t pick. I am asked that all the time and I have never answered anyone
Q: Are you working on any other books right now? What can we look forward to?
A: My next is going to be Soundless which is a stand alone book. It comes out November 10th. It’s a high fantasy based on ancient Chinese history, it’s inspired by that. It takes place in this remote mountain village where people haven’t been able to hear for generations. There is a teenage girl, she is an artist and that makes her a very important person when you can’t hear because they are very visual. She wakes up one morning and she has her hearing back and no one has had this for years. She doesn’t even know how to describe what she’s experiencing and so she goes on this quest to try to figure out what is happening to her and her village. She is accompanied by a young man she used to be involved with so there are some issues.
You can watch the whole interview here: