Interview with L.J. Smith part deux

Two years ago when this blog was a tiny 20 hits per day machine I got the okay to interview L.J. Smith. I had recently found and fell in love with her Vampire Diaries series and was eager to make my mark on the book blogging scene. I credit that interview with L.J. as being one of the things that gave my blog a push in the right direction.

When I learned that L.J. had been fired from the TVD series I was heartbroken for her. After years of reading interviews, blog posts, and the books themselves it was clear to me that she loved writing this series. I asked her just a few questions about her feelings on this whole debacle, I really don’t want/need the books to be closer to the show. The only reason I DVR that hot mess is for Ian Somerhalder.

Pam:Did you know when you signed on that having the series taken away from you could be a possibility?

Lisa: Good Lord, no! I signed on over twenty years ago, in 1990, just to do a sort of upscale trilogy about vampires. Normally, back then, a book packager put together “bargain” books, using “bargain” authors and a huge amount of editing. But even before I got The Phone Call That Changed My Life, Alloy had decided that this was going to be a chic trilogy. I remember that at first Elise D.—the editor that called me to ask me to write it, saying she’d read my first two fantasy books and thought I’d be great for the job—was saying that they were going to do “special photographs” for the cover.

But once I’d actually written The Awakening, the first book in the trilogy, everybody went nuts. “Harper is dancing in the streets,” Elise D. told me gleefully. I got a call from a woman at HarperTeen who thought the manuscript had come in as a submission and was dying to buy it—and to know what happened after Stefan disappeared and Elena went out to confront Damon. And on the cover the book packager put no photograph, but an expensive drawing.

The only problem with the lovely cover was my name. If you ever get a first edition, you’ll see that it’s so small it can barely be read. Hot book, no credit to the author. That was the when I began to realize what was in store.

Well, that was the old days. After doing Vampire Diaries I did Secret Circle for what’s now Alloy (with the same kind of contract—not because I was naïve anymore but because the head of the company actually laughed at my agent when she asked for more money in advance. He wrote…”These spooky books must be getting to you,” as in “giving you delusions as to what a book by L. J. Smith was worth” and that hurt me so much). I’d written the first three books for either $2,500 or $3,500 advances—plus all the rights I was giving away, but he laughed when I asked for more.

And then I did one more book with them—for readers. While I was writing that trilogy I had so many readers write begging me to bring Elena back to life that I did, and made it a quaterlogy or whatever. Trilogy plus one. So that was very convenient, when the vampire craze began again in the 2000’s and Alloy packaged the books: two in one omnibus and two in another. And the craze? It was different from the 1980s-1990s supernatural craze because 1) It focuses on romance and 2) it is much more centered on vampires. But suddenly The Vampire Diaries were back on the bestseller list. I hadn’t even known Alloy had rereleased them.

But I wanted to write more of them. Alloy wanted me to write more. The thing was, I was no longer a cowering mouse. I’d had the grand doyen of children’s book agents, the late Marilyn Marlow, for many, many years, while I wrote The Forbidden Game, Dark Visions (which recently debuted as a Number 1 New York Times Bestseller) and the first nine books of the Night World series.

So, I had a different kind of contract when I wrote three more Vampire Diaries books, although it didn’t change the “work for hire” idea that had been set in stone when I had signed my original contracts. (“Work for hire” means the author doesn’t get most of the important rights she would if she were just writing the book for a regular publisher. It means, for me, that Alloy owns the books.)

When I wrote the “TVD The Return” books, I did it my way, because I write everything my way. I do enough research for a nonfiction book in the beginning, and get my characters so clear that they become independent people, and then I just write about them, chronicling their adventures. This is really true. I can’t write properly if I am aware of writing. I have to see it in front of me, feel it inside me. (That’s why I spent ten years with writer’s block at the height of my career, while my family dealt with cancer. I could research, but I couldn’t see the characters. If I could have written I certainly would.)

As for the new book I wrote, Nightfall, Shadow Souls, and Midnight, they were all huge bestsellers. (Even though the first Nightfall was the worst book I’ve ever written. Maybe I was rusty.) Good or bad, the recently released Midnight debuted on the New York Times bestsellers list, on the Washington Post list (up against adult books) and on the Publisher’s Weekly bestseller’s list. And then I just in the last few days got a snail mail letter from the president and CEO of HarperCollins, congratulating me on the success of Midnight, and on all having the Vampire Diaries books made into a TV show, and saying that he was looking forward to the next installment of The Vampire Diares: The Hunters. Now I have to write back to him—somehow. He clearly doesn’t know that I won’t be writing The Hunters.

So, no, I never imagined that while I wanted and was eager to write these books the carpet could be yanked out beneath me. I did agree that someday, after I’d written my fill of Vampire Diaries, if vampires were still in fashion, a ghostwriter could continue the series. But of course I assumed I’d be able write the endgame. Damon would end up with one of the girls, Stefan would end up with Elena or die . . . I don’t know what would have happened. But I wanted–desperately–to write TVD: The Hunters. I picked that name for the next trilogy and I picked the names for the books. I picked Phantom (and I duly wrote a book called Phantom, but no one will ever see it).

Of course I assumed I wouldn’t be writing Vampire Diaries for the rest of my life. I have many other stories in my head, flying in a holding pattern. But I also assumed I’d be the one to cry “Nay, enough!” (hey—Shakespeare)! I assumed they’d want a bestselling writer for . . . eternity.

Here’s the way a book is normally published. The author writes it, an editor makes suggestions, the author takes some and leaves some, and the book goes to print. But when I sent in Phantom instead of edits, I got a letter addressed twice the ghostwriter by name, that was about eight pages long, single spaced, telling her how to completely rewrite the book. I’m still in shock. Voodoo had been added. Tyler Smallwood’s cousin had been added as a major character. Things had been added that, to me, didn’t make sense. It looked a lot as if a bunch of editors had worked simultaneously on it.

And no matter how I begged and offered to do the book their way, Alloy wanted the ghostwriter (whom I happen to know, and know why she was free for the job, but I won’t release that information right now.)

Pam:Outside of being fired, has there been a larger effort to disaffiliate you and the series?

Lisa: I feel that it has, but maybe that’s just because HarperTeen sided so vehemently with Alloy, scaring my agent, so that she told me she was not going to represent me in this matter anymore. I was, very literally, alone surrounded by unfriends.

If, as Alloy stated to the Hollywood Reporter, they are doing this to get the books closer to the show, I can’t imagine how they would do it. Get Elena to dye her hair? Kill off her little sister Margaret and introduce a new brother Jeremy? Change Mrs. Flower’s into Bonnie’s grannie? Kill Meredith, forget her newly introduced part-vampire blood, and her whole-hearted hunter-slayer dedication? Forget where the plot has been and never let Elena go back to the Dark Dimensions?

I do have a strange, strong feeling that despite Alloy wanting my name on the cover of the books, they don’t want me around. Which would make sense, given that the books have become a worldwide commodity.

When I get email from Albania and Brazil and Canada and Denmark and England and Finland (not so sure about that one so I’ll skip the cutesy abc thing) and Israel and Qatar and India and Turkey, and Panama and Belgium, and Mexico and Australia, and Russia and Italy and New Zealand, and you get the idea. I’ve been begging my agent for a year to find out how many languages The Vampire Diaries has been translated into, or at least how many countries it has sold to, some in English (like India because of all the different dialects in different areas) but she never has gotten the info for me.

Pam: Will all the future books be in your name but ghost written?

Lisa: Not in my name. “Created by” my name, with the “created by” written pretty small. I’m having déjà vu from the first edition of the Vampire Diaries and how infinitesimal my name was on the cover.

Pam: Tell us how to support you now? What books are not affiliated with a company?

Lisa: Everything but Secret Circle and Vampire Diaries is just published by a regular publisher. This means the three-omnibus Night World series for vampire lovers who also like witches, soulmates, werewolves, etc,; Dark Visions, for a different variety of vampire; and The Forbidden Game for people who like a scary, soulful guy who has been raised in a world of complete evil but who falls in love with the only sunlight he ever saw as a child: who has become a teenager now, called Jenny Thornton.

Pam: What is the single biggest misconception in all of this? What is your response to it?

Lisa: That I am or would be, in any shape, size, philosophy, or form ever willing to give up before I had finished The Vampire Diaries endgame. Before the romantic endgame. And here I may have to define a couple of words, Vampire Diaries style. What I wanted was to set the characters into their final romantic positions—that’s all. Alloy could have done books after that; I was willing to see “The Blood-Craving, Spine-Crunching, Yet Strangely Sensual Wednesday that Damon Had Last Week Fighting A Sea Monster” on the shelves after Damon had either 1) left without taking any of the contestants or a forwarding address; 2) knelt before Bonnie and said, “You were the human I met first in this godforsaken town. You were the first girl I kissed here. I know how badly I’ve treated you. Can you ever forgive me?”; or fought with Elena and ending up kissing her madly in mid-argument and whispering, “Run away with me. Now. On this wind. This moment. Make me the happiest dead person alive; or Stefan would be wed to Elena in the Dark Dimension as thousands of Black Magic corks are popped, and a free hospital is opened as freedom fighters worked in tunnels below; or Stefan would die nobly and Elena live a life of pure and single blessedness in his memory; or whatever . . . but it would be my channeling of the spirits, my choice, not that of a ghostwriter who hardly knows the series.

And my reaction to people getting angry at me for “leaving” the series: well, think of someone taking a wee on your grandmother’s (the nicest one’s)—or if you’re old enough, your mother’s—gravesite. And then think of the whole world as you know it doing it. Think about how that would hurt in your mind, in your soul; and you’ll have an idea of how my left pinky feels. You don’t want to get me talking about how my soul feels. It feels . . . trashed. Mutilated. Worse than its felt in a long, long, long time, Like being raped in a lonely stairwell by a guy with a knife and then being blamed for it by the Supreme Court. (And, yes, I have a referent for all but the “Supreme” court. Not me, but someone in my immediate family.

Pam: Is there anything you want to say to fans?

Lisa: Just that I want to write The Vampire Diaries. I ache all over to do them. But I’ve run out of Plans. I don’t know how to make Harper and Alloy want me, not just my name. And I still love all my fans even though they’re going to buy the ghostwritten books, even if they say they won’t. I understand. Thank you for listening to me. Thank you!

Lisa ♥

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52 Responses so far

  1. Gravatar

    How awful! After all of this, is LJ Smith going to consider self-publishing eBooks á la Amanda Hocking?

  2. Gravatar

    Wow. How incredibly and utterly heart-wrenching! I’m so sad to hear this really isn’t working out, especially after all the impressions the press had given that it was honky-dory. So not the case. I really hope something works out in Lisa’s favor, even if it’s self-publishing the final installment(s). I know we fans would love to read them and would support her.

  3. Gravatar

    LJ has been my favorite YA author for 20 years. That this has happened to her is beyond repugnant. Her agents should be ashamed of themselves as should Alloy & HarperTeen for insisting an author write something other than her own dream. It’s stupid for publishers to require a writer to write something that isn’t authentic for the sake of fans! Even fans will find it fake and not want it! I hate to think what they’ll do with The Secret Circle. I so hope that LJ finds a way to get her own hopes and dreams out in her writing. And if she decides to self-publish? Well I’ll spear-head her efforts and recruit thousands to promote and read and love her books as much as I do!

  4. Gravatar

    so very sad for Lisa about this. I cannot believe anyone could have thought she would be okay about it, or deserted the series on a whim or on purpose. Writers love our characters so much it hurts or we couldn’t write them. We don’t abandon them without fighting hard for their lives.
    Thanks for this great interview.

  5. Gravatar

    I think you guys missed the point. She doesn’t own the rights to the series so I don’t think she owns the rights to the characters. That means she cannot write or self publish them. They belong to Alloy which is why they can ask whomever they want to write them. It’s bloody tragic and sad. I can’t even imagine how hurt she feels.

  6. Gravatar

    Did LJ get any payment from CW for bringing TVD to television? If not, that is so wrong because even though she was an author for hire, she gave them life. I hope she doesn’t get screwed after putting 20 years of her life into these books.

  7. Gravatar

    What a brilliant, honest interview. I think it’s shocking they can just dump LJ like that, it’s disrespectful – contract or no contract. Her love for the novels shines through this interview and it’s a sad day to see someone being treated as shabbily as LJ has. I won’t be picking up the Hunters trilogy, I don’t want to read something LJ has written but somebody has then butchered and put back together like a jigsaw gone wrong.

    I hope LJ can someday get her version of the Hunters trilogy out there, although I assume if she tries to self-publish she’ll probably be sued? What a farce it has all descended to, the only person coming out of this with her dignity still in tact is Lisa herself. I applaud her for speaking out in such a nice way. Nobody would begrudge her if she decided to tell her fans to not buy the new books. Harper, Allow and even LJ’s agent are all shameless and should hang their heads.

  8. Gravatar

    This interview totally blew my mind. The Vampire Diaries and Secret Circle books have been my favorites for years upon their release in the early 1990s. I was 11 years old when they came out, and I even wrote a letter to the publisher back then requesting them to release both series in hardcover formats since I re-read them every year! That aside, I’m appalled at how ugly the publishing world can be and how ugly they treat their star talents. It’s even more sickening to read how they laughed at Smith’s request for more money and disheartening yet to see the low up-front numbers. Sick, sick, sick.

    I love Smith’s honesty about how she thinks Nightfall is her worst book…especially since I hold the same opinion and I regret to say I definitely won’t be reading the ghost-written books. The originals are still my favorite and I will continue to revisit them on my bookshelf year after year.

    I only hope that Smith will get what’s due to her. I am a dedicated fan for life!

  9. Gravatar

    This is awful what they are doing to her! I’ve never read the books (I watch the show) but I’m kinda glad I don’t now. I won’t be tempted to buy anymore that are ghost written after she was fired from writing them.

    Very sad for LJ and wrong of the companies.

  10. Gravatar

    That’s absolutely fucking horrible. I know LJ said not to boycott the new series, but this just infuriates me, and the thought that a publisher could just kick an author off a series she’s worked on for twenty years, that her writing has turned into a success, whether she was initially hired on to the project or not, is just awful. So no, I’ll definitely not be buying this new series, and I’m definitely going to be spreading the word about the publisher’s treatment of LJ. They can make their own decisions, but seeing as how the publisher will likely try to gloss over the fact that the series isn’t actually written by LJ, I think everyone has the right to know what really happend.

  11. Gravatar

    Oh, my God this is dreadful, hearing the whole thing. I’ve loved LJ Smith since I was a kid of fifteen, had the Vampire Diaries books imported to Ireland at scandalous prices, and she’s one of my writing inspirations now I am a semi-grown up writer lady. I wish, wish, wish this wasn’t happening.

    I also deeply encourage everyone to check out her books like the Forbidden Game. I cried so hard reading that I fell off my bed.

  12. Gravatar

    Holy cow. Like other people here, I was reading L.J. Smith back in the days of The Night of The Solstice and Heart of Valor. I think I’ve read The Forbidden Game trilogy (my favorite by her) at least 10 times!

    I had started to wonder if there was something fishy going on with Vampire Diaries, and now I know my spidey sense was ringing true.

    As Cyna mentioned, I know L.J. doesn’t want to encourage a boycott, but I’m not sure I can bring myself to read anything in the Vampire Diaries series after this.

    L.J. – I wish you all the best and can’t to see you published elsewhere so I can start buying YOUR books again. :)

  13. Gravatar

    Okay, I’d like to say I’m a huge fan of the TV show. I actually like it more than the books, but I do adore the books. They are AMAZING, and I’ve read The Forbidden Game as well. I ordered the first bind-up of The Secret Circle about a week ago, and it should be here soon. This makes me SO sad. To build a world as amazing as she has for twenty years and have it taken away from you in the blink of an eye would put me in a serious depression. This is her life. Why can’t the publishers think of that?! She makes bestsellers, so I don’t see what the issue is for them. The Vampire Diaries has fans ALL OVER THE WORLD. I’m an international fan, and I’ve been to Mexico and I’ve seen the books in both english and spanish. When I first heard of her being fired, I even cried a bit. So sad. I’m not going to buy the next books in the series, even if Midnight ended in a huge cliffhanger.

  14. Gravatar

    That is awful, I feel like someone is squeezing my heart after reading that. She is such a fantastic author.

    I think maybe the fans need to do something about it to help!!!

    <3<3<3

  15. Gravatar

    As terrible as it is for someone to unceremoniously get dumped from their job, there is no excuse for comparing L.J. Smith’s loss to rape or mutilation. Clearly she has never experienced either. The lack of respect shown to true rape victims is beyond appalling. As someone who understands what rape truly is, I for one will never again read any book written by you. Shame on you Ms. Smith. Shame on you.

  16. Gravatar

    I’m appalled by your comments. I would never compare what you have been through with your publisher comparable to a violent rape at knifepoint! Shame on you L.J. You just lost a fan.

  17. Gravatar

    This is a wonderful interview. It’s great to see someone being honest about their feelings on the subject while not getting down and dirty about it. Thank you for the clarity in that. I wish you nothing but the best and I hope that those idea that have been in a “holding pattern” in your head will find their way to a worthy publishing company and do you the justice you are due.

  18. Gravatar

    As terrible as it is for someone to unceremoniously get dumped from their job, there is no excuse for L.J. Smith to compare her loss to rape or mutilation. Clearly she has never experienced either. There are no words that can accurately describe the idiocy of that comparison. The extreme lack of respect shown to true rape victims is beyond appalling. As someone who understands what rape truly is, I for one will never again read or support any book written by L.J. Smith. Shame on you Ms. Smith. Shame on you.

  19. Gravatar

    Wow.
    I used to feel bad for her when she first got fired but after reading this interview it’s disgusting to realize that she used the fans to help save her job….not that it worked.
    She appealed to every fanbase and wrote them letters, especially to the Bamon massive Delena fanbase……each telling them different things about their ships that she *would* do if only she had her job back….ugh.
    Authors should learn to separate themselves from their fandoms and learn to be professional. It’s disgusting how she says one thing and then says the exact opposite – whichever is more beneficial to her to the time.
    Although I am deeply sorry for her losing whatever rights she had with TVD, the publicity surrounding it could have been handled much better.
    Thank goodness the tv show is so good even though season 2 was a bit of a disaster. I trust JP and KW know what they are doing.

  20. Gravatar

    Dear LJ – A long time ago, you were once one of my favorite authors. I still re-read your YA novels from yesteryear even though I am not a YA anymore. I am sorry that you feel being fired from writing more TVD books is unjustified, and I’m sure that it stings personally and professionally.

    However, being fired is not like being raped at knifepoint. Being raped at knifepoint is like being raped at knifepoint. Please do not conflate the two. Rape analogies are never appropriate, no matter how used and violated you feel. As as writer who must choose her words carefully while working, surely you can appreciate that.

  21. Gravatar

    It’s terribly tragic what has happened to LJ, but she didn’t and doesn’t own the series. That, I believe is a mistake on her part. In the world of art you have to make sure your protected with an agent that you trust and will not steer you in a bad direction. I would also like to bring up the point that LJ’s original TVD series was written for a young audience and her writing/content was very innocent and juvenile. TVD, the show is geared toward an older demographic and I can see Alloy wanting future books to reflect that age shift. I also have to agree with TVD Fan. The comments and comparisons LJ used all throughout this interview were just too much. I honestly couldn’t believe what I was reading when she likened her feelings to being raped at knifepoint and someone urinating on her mothers/grandmothers grave. That’s just over the top, petty and insensitive, which is totally unacceptable for a woman/author of her caliber. Overall, LJ’s words here have made me extremely sad and I will have a hard time reading anything of hers again just on principle.

  22. Gravatar

    You guys are not going to reach LJ here. I am all about letting people speak their minds but let’s direct our comments to the blog owner or generically about the content.

  23. Gravatar

    So stupid to change the flow of the books after all this time. No show or movie is like the books. Take True blood , the show is not like those books.Not sure I want to read the next one if they are going to tear it apart and make it something it never was meant to be. So sad for L.J. Smith :(

  24. Gravatar

    I agree with Amy its soo stupid to change everything after all this time Everyone knows the books are never gonna be a thing like the movie or the show i always try to look at them as two separate things cuz lets me honest books are usually better and i think Book Damon is better than the show Damon (not that i dont love watchin the show besides Supernatural its my favorite show) i know ppl must say this all the time but i wont read the new ones u didnt write it soo im not gonna waste my time on a suckish book as for the whole raped in an alley ppl dont like that lay off its her point of view i know if i spend this much time creating something to have it taken from me it would break my heart good luck LJ smith god bless and even tho i hate seein you stop writing the Vampire Diaries maybe youll finsh Strange Fate cant wait to read that one

  25. Gravatar

    Personally, I was feeling the VD was getting stale anyway. The new books are like reading fan fiction – and I have actually read fan fiction that is better. My point is Ms Smith has great talent for creating cult books, why not create something completely new? Now that would get me excited!

    I do get her point about feeling “raped”, I’m a writer and if this sort of crap happened to me I’d feel violated, the stories are apart of the writer, kind of like having a child, and to have someone or something come along and butcher it… Admittedly at rape knife point is too melodramatic and insulting to victims. Violence is hardly the same. I think she was just upset and made an error in judgement. She probably regrets saying it. This is the woman that has strong feminist views in her books!

  26. Gravatar

    Rape is like rape. Getting fired is not like rape. Getting fired from a book series you neither own nor control is a possible foreseeable consequence. It is not like rape.

    L.J. Smith has other series – one she has never even finished – that she owns and can write for. VD was complete even before she wrote Dark Reunion. She could have spent her comeback actually finished Strange Fate, fulfilling her obligations to another publisher and her fans. You know, the fans that waited for years for her to get over her personal tragedies so she could write again. The ones who waited for ‘Cassie’ the special snowflake fan to let us know when Smith had contacted her since most of us weren’t special enough to talk to her directly.

    I’m sure the next books will be really well written if the editor taking over the writing is the same one that helped all her other books be what they were. The newer books seem to be written by a completely different person.

    I won’t even get into all the two-faced pettiness! At this point, childish behavior has to be expected.

    Everytime there was word Smith was going back to her writing, I’d eagerly check the shelves at the bookstore to see if SF had finally been written. After these comments, I cannot support her anymore. A lot of authors “overshare”, but rape?! RAPE?!

    I cannot support someone who uses the word ‘rape’ so ignorantly and offensively.

  27. Gravatar

    Okay, everyone who started commenting on this rape/pee analogy really needs to chill. We all know its a horrific experience that leaves one feeling rather empty inside, as if someone had brutally taken their inner spark, happiness, and innocence of life by violating one’s body and soul.

    Well that’s how L. Jane feels and even if she never experienced it on hand, her getting trashed like that by the publishers is how strongly she felt when it happened (except it done to her career). It’s obvious she loves writing her VD series and feels strongly for her characters (every writer can relate to that). She’s got talent and such an imagination that many people see it from around the world. I’m very much angry at Harper Collins and Alloy (can’t believe this still exsist in the publishing world; thought it only happened in politics) and I feel for L. Jane.

    When I first read her book it was in the eight grade and that was when my love of reading started to blossom. I can only pray that something changes. This injustice can’t be allowed to live! And if it does, I will not buy the new trilogy. Consider Midnight the last of the VD books i will read. Anyways, love you L. J. Smith!

  28. Gravatar

    Oh, L.J….
    I am filled with the deepest of sorrows for you… I will promise in front of the grand Celestial Court with their fair maidens and gruesome inhabitants that call the Dark Dimension home that I will not by the books written by this ghost writer. These are your… children; your creation! This is pure injustice and I wish and wish that Saber, Talon, and Sage were here (like here, here, not in the hearts of YOUR books) to teach these “Alloy” people the insanity of what is being taken place.
    If you would be willing to publish YOUR true versions of what is to happen in TVD (which, as you must know, your fans are dying to read) we will be truly honored to have the chance to know the REAL ending… Even if we, your fans, must create a charity, or support group, or some help to pay you for a chance to read the endgame of TVD….
    Please,please, please, keep us in the loop of anything that you are writing….
    Your humbled fan,
    Nikole T

    P.S. Thank you for your wonderful contests on your website <3

  29. Gravatar

    @Dayana – people commenting on the offensive analogies do not need to chill. If LJS feels being fired has been “a horrific experience that leaves one feeling rather empty inside, as if someone had brutally taken their inner spark, happiness, and innocence of life by violating one’s body and soul” then she can USE HER WORDS and say that, since she’s supposed to be an author who is skilled with words and all. I am guessing that at least 90% of her fans are women. By choosing to write such an offensive analogy to communicate her own hurt over being fired, she is very, very likely to end up offending a good number of her own fans. She’s an adult and a professional author, she has to take responsibility for what she writes and not shy away from reality.

  30. Gravatar

    I found this interview really highlighted the difference between the publishing world in the 80s/90s and today. Back then people were hired to write series, but they didn’t own them. Finding out that the author who created and wrote the favourite series of your childhood has been fired when the publisher wanted to go a different direction is, well, heartbreaking. LJ Smith might not own the books but it was her imagination that created them. Although I didn’t read TVD when I was a kid, I was all about The Secret Circle (I have never liked or cared about vampires), I am still saddened that it can come down to money and marketing in the end.

    As for the author’s use of analogies, well, sometimes people write/say things they don’t completely mean while being very emotional about it. It’s not done out of maliciousness and sometimes you want to take it back after. I have no comment on that other than “these things happen”.

    I still own my original copies of The Secret Circle and read them almost every summer. I have owned them for over 22 years now. LJS’s Heart of Valor and Night of the Solstice are also read every few years. Her books got me through a lot of stuff as a teen and I appreciate everything she’s ever written and I extra appreciate her candor in this interview!

  31. Gravatar

    I’m sorry to see this happen. No matter how LJ planned to end the story, it was her call.
    In my opinion, trying to mimic the tv show makes no sense. Sure, I enjoy the CW series immensely, but I scorn stuff like “Stefan’s Diaries”. Book Stefan was born in Renaissance Italy, and that’s that.
    Heck, I’ll probably buy the ghostwriter’s books: I wanna read what they’re gonna do with the characters and I wanna complete the VD set. But now I have an awful customer opinion of HarperTeen and Alloy Entertainment.

  32. Gravatar

    I hope she get to sue them really baad and they lose; now I created a hate for Harper Teen…

  33. Gravatar

    [...] up about being let go from her contract with Alloy. In Smith’s revealing tell-all interview wit Bookalicious she discusses her varying contracts with Alloy and the many bumps she experienced with the company [...]

  34. Gravatar

    [...] contract with Alloy, and she is not happy about it. In Smith’s revealing tell-all interview with Bookalicious, she discusses her varying contracts with Alloy and the many bumps she experienced with the company [...]

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    I still have the first edition The Forbidden Game books. I love, LOVED that series. Was hoping they would be made into a movie to TV series.

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    Love the site. Very well organized. Come visit me.

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    No one probably cares anymore since this was a couple weeks ago, but I feel like the rape/pee analogies work, though the rape one is a bit gruesome. For LJ, this isn’t just some run-of-the-mill job like most of us have. This is something she has created from her mind and heart and spent a lot of time on. I mean, did you read the part about how much research she does?

    OK, so you spend 20 years working hard on these books and then just when it’s getting popular again, you get shoved off the ship and have everything you worked for get distorted and the characters are doing things they would never do. Someone else is wrecking her world and defiling it essentially. That sounds a lot like rape, doesn’t it? That also sounds like someone desecrating something you love. It’s a metaphorical rape and sometimes that analogy is warranted, like in this case.

    In other words, get over it and stop being so uptight.

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    So glad you ran this interview. LJ Smith was my favorite author growing up (and I still re-read the original Vampire Diaries books sometimes). Horrible to read what a position she’s been put in. Totally frustrating.

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    OK, first of thanks to Bookalicious for posting this interview :) It really helped me to understand more on how L.J. Smith is feeling after losing something so dear to her: Even if it is just a book series to some of you guys

    And that’s were I get to the second part of my comment :| I fully understand how some of you people who are angry about how LJS describes what it’s like to have this taken away from her (you guys know who you are), since I have actually been a victim of rape in the past myself, but all the hatred you’re throwing at her is totally unecessary >:| In fact I suggest you actually look up what the word rape means, because from what I recall it means having something that’s important and precious to you forcefully taken away from you :( As people who’ve gone through this, you should know how upset and angry this makes you feel. The guy who raped me got away with it scott free because he’s a lying manipulative rat, and even worse it turns out he did the same thing to someone before me and got away with that too. If I’m angry at anyone in the world for what’s happened to me it’s him, not anyone else :| Especially not at someone for speaking their mind and saying exactly how they feel about having something precious forcefully taken from them who know exactly what they’re talking about

    Andie (writer and rape victim)

    P.S. If you really don’t want to read her books anymore, just stop reading them. There’s no need to make a grand announcement about it: That’s just rude :/

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    Wow I love LJ Smith. I have read her books since I was a teen. I was gutted for her when I read about the Vampire Diaries situation. Truly shocking. She is such a lovely person. x

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    Oh, I love L.J. Smith! I actually cried when I found out HarperTeen had fired her from writing The Vampire Diaries!
    It’s wrong, and unfair. That’s why I’ve been trying to spread the word, tweets, and sign petitions! And of course, I will NOT buy the future Vampire Diaries’ books.
    I have actually not read Midnight even though I bought it on March 15th!!!
    I just can’t read it knowing that so much will be revealed (I’ve read some snippets from the story) and that the next books will be written by a ghost “writer”!!!
    The Vampire Diaries I fell in love with was written by L.J. Smith, and she will always be my author.
    I owe her so much, I wish one day I could tell her how her books have changed me so much! I lover her characters, story plots, and her!
    Love Lisa J. Smith!

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    I have actually been interested in the ‘Vampire Diaries’ for a while now, constantly passing them in the bookstore and contemplating if I should get it or not, but after finding out that the original author isn’t going to be the one to finish the series puts a huge damper on things. I just don’t like the idea of taking on author’s story, their connection, away from them just to make it more like the television show.

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    This is so terrible but I feel like she herself has raped the original books. Nightfall was bad but then came shadow souls which I couldn’t even finish, it was complete trash. Then Midnight where she kills Damon, who I have loved since I was a preteen.

    So I have very little sympathy for the whole situation. She should never have continued the series.

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    @camp at the end of midnight damon is comin back

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    I can’t believe this. I’m sorry to hear this. I have waited so long for Strange Fate to come out, but if it comes out and says created by lj smith and by (insert name) I WILL NOT BUY IT I PROMISE YOU. However if it appears to have been written by LJ Smith I will def buy, however, since it has been so long I will have to go back and reread the first 3 books… LOL.

    Belinda in GA

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    I have to say I really wasn’t thinking at the time of reading on what difference the writer made. Silly Me!! My daughter got me into the books and she had said I am NOT buying or reading any more of these books because the remainder are to be written by a ghost writer. Well I thought how bad can it be.
    Let me tell you Pretty Bad!!! You can tell the difference and after reading the new one I am right there with my daughter and all other of LJ’s readers in saying no ONE can do it like you do; the passion, the stuff that keeps it interesting and flowing it comes from your heart and no one else can do that. Unless they let you write them I will not be reading any more of them the last was a tremendous let down. They are Crazy and are going to loose a lot of readers because of this decision. I feel so let down like we will be hanging on a wire here forever never able to complete our story. :-( I guess we have all learned lessons here Good Luck to you LJ and I will look for others of your writings!!! Best wishes Loyal reader.

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    [...] Smith” (Unsolicited) – I’m not entirely sure if I will read this or not, given the whole drama that went down with the series essentially being taken from LJ Smith. That kind of bothers me on a moral [...]

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    This truly sucks…. I can’t even believe that she was fired! I admit I have read the first ghostwritten book, but it was not and will never be as good as the books that were actually written by LJ Smith. The Vampire Diaries series are still my favorite books and I love the TV show. I wish LJ was still writing the books because the ghostwriter will never be able to be as amazing as LJ was at writing the series. The Vampire Diaries series changed my life and I cannot believe LJ smith the woman who wrote the beautiful story isn’t writing them anymore! I was so upset when I found out. LJ I am so sorry for you and I hope you will write much much more because if you do I will definitely be reading them! I am so sorry LJ you did not diserve this :(.

    Love, Emily

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    I am so SAD this has happened to L.J. Smith. She’s been one of my favorite authors for years now, and then is just beyond words… She’s a wonderful person for saying she doesn’t want people to boycott the company that did this, even after they did this to her. We love you L.J!! I will always support anything she writes, although I can’t support the new vampire diaries. The soul has gone out of the story – you can feel it when you read it. I’m so sorry this happened to her. </3

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    [...] Van Hylckama Vlieg, P. (2011). Interview with L.J. Smith Part Deux | Bookalicious. Retrieved from http://bookalicio.us/2011/05/interview-with-l-j-smith-part-duex/ [...]

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    I am huge fan of the show, never read the book I was probably a toddler when it was released and have not stumble upon it until the show was created. I can’t compare books with the show and from what I read the show have gone a totally different path but I am truly grateful to L.J Smith because she created Vampire Diaries without it the show would not have existed . It’s a shame she lost the right to continue/finish the story she created.I’m planing to read the book soon and would definitely buy the ones she wrote and would probably download the other via e-books at piratebay. lol

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    Well, now she can write all the Vampire Diaries books she wants, and get paid for them, now that the new Amazon Kindle Worlds fanfic platform has licensed the Vampire Diaries book world.
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?docId=1001197421

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