Richelle Mead (pictured, via) wrote theVampire Academy series about two supernatural best friends.
Q: What characteristics of the Vampire Academy series will be retained in the spin-off, Bloodlines?
A: We’re essentially keeping the same paranormal world, so we’ll have all the same creatures and rules that we know from the first series—along with many of the same characters. And even though the narrator has a different style from Rose [Hathaway], many of the things readers know from my writing will be there: humor, lots of emotion, and those dreaded cliffhangers!
Q: Can you give any hint about which sideline character will be featured as a main protagonist in Bloodlines?
A: More than a hint actually! I’m very pleased to report that Sydney the Alchemist will be our lead and narrator, supported by Jill, Adrian, and Eddie.
Q: Besides Rose Hathaway, which characters from Vampire Academy will probably make a cameo in the new series?
A: We’ll get to see Dimitri [Belikov]—which will make people happy, I’m sure. There will also be a visit from someone who’s become a surprise cult favorite: Abe Mazur, Rose’s shady but loveable father.
Q: What type of new research will you conduct for this spin-off that is different from what you did for Vampire Academy?
A: I’ve had to research a lot about Medieval Alchemists, as well as magic users from that era and Classical times. A lot of what Sydney’s people do was completely made up for the Vampire Academy series, but now that we’re delving into her past, it’s important to really flesh out the Alchemist organization and see what they’re all about. I love taking real folklore and mythology and then tweaking it. That’s how the vampires in this series came about.
Q: What are the writing challenges you will expect to encounter with this spin-off that you didn’t face with the original series?
A: With Vampire Academy, I was creating a completely new entity. There was no precedent or
background to worry about. Bloodlines is tricky because it has to connect to the original series and keep some consistencies. On the other hand, it’s still essentially a new project, and I’m having to get to know a new narrator for the first time in five years—which is difficult at times. It’s a balancing act of old and new.
Q: What advice can you give to writers who find themselves with the specific task of writing a spin-off?
A: This is still new to me, so I’m not sure my advice is the best yet! Probably I’d say what’s true for all storytelling: tell the story you’re passionate about. A spin-off binds you to certain rules, but as long as you love it and you aren’t trying too hard to conform to something, the writing will deliver.
Q: What do you recommend young writers to read?
A: Everything. I learned more about writing from reading good authors than I probably from formal classes. Read everything you can get your hands on, and pay attention to the writing. This is a really great time because there’s so much amazing YA out there. The genre wasn’t nearly so big (or of such quality) when I was growing up.
Q: Besides Bloodlines, what else are you working on?
A: My two adult series, Georgina Kincaid and Dark Swan, are both coming to a close soon, so I’m busy wrapping those up. Vampire Academy and Dark Swan are also being made into graphic novels that are coming out this year, so it’s been fascinating watching those projects develop.