Richelle Mead Interview

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:

Pasadena Loves YA Blog Tour + Q&A with Ava Dellaria + Giveaway

This year I was honored to be asked to participate in the Pasadena Loves YA Blog Tour and to host a Q&A with Ava Dellaria, author of Love Letters To The Dead. Be sure to check out the full interview with Ava by scrolling down.
Along with the Q&A there is also a giveaway of three books from any Pasadena Loves YA 2015 authors. For more information and to enter the giveaway just scroll down to the end of the post.

For those who haven’t attended this event before here are some of the important details…
When: Friday May 23, 2015 at 12 noon-4pm
Where: Pasadena Public Library, Central Branch, 285 East Walnut Street, Pasadena, CA 91101
What: Meet 20 YA authors / Panels & Book Signings / Giveaways and Refreshments / Free tote bags for the first 150 guests!

Cost: FREE

Authors: Keynote speaker Mary McCoy (author of Dead to Me) with Katie Alender, Victoria Aveyard, Alexis Bass, Julie Berry, Livia Blackburne, Virginia Boecker, Jessica Brody, Stephen Chbosky, Brandy Colbert, Ava Dellaira, Kody Keplinger, Liz Maccie, Morgan Matson, Lauren Miller, Alexandra Monir, Jennifer Niven, Romina Russell, Sarah Tomp, & Kiersten White

For more info, visit

Please Note: Book sales by Vroman’s Bookstore will begin at 11am. Co-sponsored by Bridge to Books. No registration required, but we would appreciate it if you would post, share, tweet, and tell everyone you know about the upcoming event! Please use the hashtag #PLYA2015.

Q&A with Ava Dellaria


Q: Tell us about your writing process?

For me, first drafts are a process of discovery. When I started out writing Love Letters, I began with the concept and a few key story points, and I thought of the early stages of writing as spending time with the characters and getting to know them, learning to listening to what they wanted to tell me.

After I had finished a draft of the book, I began the process of shaping the story. On my next draft I focused on structure and narrative arch. I drew on the feedback of friends and family and rewrote the book many times before I began working with my agent and my editor—what I presented as a first draft had actually been rewritten countless times!

Q: What writers would you say influenced your writing the most?

I feel like I’ve been influenced, in some way, by every book I’ve fallen in love with. I have a background in poetry and it’s had a big influence on my prose. (I often start out a day of writing by reading some poetry—it’s a great reminder, always, of the possibilities of language.)

Stephen Chbosky, who was a mentor to me, was a big influence on my writing. At the time I was writing my first draft of Love Letters, I was reading This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz and Welcome to the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan. They are both marvelous masters with language, and helped to inspire me.

When I began working on Love Letters, I hadn’t setting out to write a YA book necessarily—to be honest I knew little about the genre at the time—but after I’d talked to my agent about it, he told me he thought the book should be published as YA, and I started educating myself in the genre. I read some of the classic titles likeSpeak by Laurie Halse Anderson and Looking for Alaska by John Green. Those books were real inspirations for me, and helped me a lot in writing my second (and third and fourth and fifth!) drafts of the book.

Q: In your book Love Letters to the Dead the main character, Laurel, writes letters to famous dead people as an English assignment. How did you decide which people Laurel would write to?

I started out with some celebrities that I myself loved and began researching others who I thought might be a good fit. As I worked on the book and got to know Laurel, I found that her character and the choices of people to whom she would write mutually informed each other. For example, when Laurel began writing to River Phoenix, I saw the evening that she and her sister, May, had first watchedStand By Me together, and the way that his particular innocence spoke to them, as they felt the first danger of their own slipping away.

I had originally started out with a wider selection of letter recipients, but in subsequent drafts of the book those who were no longer relevant to the plot fell away. The book traces the evolving connections that Laurel makes between her own life and the lives of the people to whom she writes, so as Laurel’s character and journey became clarified, so did the decisions about the people to include in the book.

Q: If you had been given the same English assignment as Laurel when you were in high school who would you have written to?

I’ve been asked this question a lot, but never with the “in high school” caveat, which is a great addition! I’d likely have written to Kurt Cobain, like Laurel does. I could also see myself having written to Janis Joplin, or John Lennon, or a number of authors I loved, like Kate Chopin or F Scott Fitzgerald.

Q: Fox 2000 has optioned Love Letters to the Dead. What would be your dream casting?

Yes! I feel very lucky to have gotten the opportunity to write the screenplay. I have had a wonderful time working with Fox 2000 and the producers at Temple Hill, and it was a really great to get to spend new time with the characters and to figure out how to tell Laurel’s story in a different medium. As for casting, I have faith in my producers! I thought they did an amazing job with casting for Fault in Our Stars, Twilight, and Maze Runner, and I’m really excited to see who they’d chose forLove Letters.

The Giveaway

Enter to win any 3 books from the 2015 Pasadena Loves YA authors, US only, ends 5/20/2015.

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