Richelle Mead is an up and coming author in the growing Urban Fantasy genre. Her books for young adults and adults alike are well-written, quickly paced, and really stand apart with their brilliant characterizations. Given that I am a big ol’ Richelle Mead fangirl (I love all of her books), I was so very excited when Richelle agreed to an interview!
So, without further ado, we bring you the highlight of our week spotlight–a “chat” with Richelle Mead!
The Book Smugglers: Welcome Richelle, and thanks for sitting down to “chat” with us! Your newest release, Succubus Dreams, is now on the shelves in bookstores nationwide—can you give us a brief rundown of what to expect in this latest installment?
Richelle: What I keep warning everybody is to expect change! Big things happen in this book, things that alter the course of the series. I’ve said on my blog before that I have to make my characters keep growing; things won’t always stay easy for them. But, as an overview, I can tell you that Georgina has a lot on her plate in this one, per usual. She’s mentoring a newbie succubus, trying to figure out her love life, and also trying to figure out why her energy is getting sucked away in bizarre and vivid dreams.
The Book Smugglers: You currently have three separate series’ running—the Succubus, Vampire Academy, and Dark Swan books. All three feature strong but distinctly unique heroines. Of Georgina, Rose and Eugenie, who is your favorite to write?
Richelle: I like writing each of them for different reasons. Georgina’s probably my favorite because her voice is so similar to mine that it can be effortless at times. Rose is great to write too because her stories are planned in such detail that I can just zip along and not worry about getting stuck. And Eugenie’s fun because she’s the most action-packed of my heroines, so I can write all sorts of intense fight scenes for her—although, Rose is rapidly gaining on her when it comes to action!
The Book Smugglers: Also, all three of your different worlds deal with the paranormal and the fantastic in a contemporary setting; from succubae and angels, to vampires, shamen and the fey. Have you always been a fan of fantasy and mythology? What inspired you to write these paranormal creatures in an urban fantasy setting?
Richelle: Oh, yes. I’ve loved fantasy and mythology from childhood. I grew up on stories about unicorns and mermaids, and in elementary school, my teachers would defer to me for questions about world mythology. Then, as I got older, I gained a twisted sense of humor and a love of pop culture. Put those all together, and lo, you have my books!
The Book Smugglers: According to your website, you have degrees in General Studies, Comparative Religion, and Teaching! When did you decide that you wanted to become an author? How have your past experiences and education influenced your writing?
Richelle: Well, back when I was reading about unicorns and mermaids, I was also writing about them—like, from the age of 8 or so. I used to dream of being an author and eventually tried writing more sophisticated things in high school, but I could never finish them. In college, I studied all of the subjects you mentioned and strayed away from writing. Then, around my mid-twenties, I picked up writing again and had the discipline to finally finish things. I think my personal life experiences, as well as being exposed to all that subject matter in my collegiate studies, definitely were key in finally helping me complete projects.
The Book Smugglers: What’s a typical day of writing like for you?
Richelle: Embarrassingly lazy. My day is usually broken into segments of errands, working out, writing, etc. There’s no real schedule to it, though my writing increments are usually no more than 2 hours. This is both because that’s about how long it takes me to do a chapter and because my hands need the rest (according to physical therapists). So, in a given day, I may get up and eat, write, go to the gym, answer email, write, eat dinner, etc.
The Book Smugglers: Can you share with us the story of how your first novel, Succubus Blues, came to publication?
The idea came when I was listening to Anne Rice books while commuting to student teaching. I’d never read (or listened to) anything like that, something with a sympathetic paranormal protagonist. I started thinking it would be great to do that and make it funny, and slowly, the idea of Georgina came around. I wrote it pretty quickly but then slacked off in marketing it for a while. When I finally got back on track, I pitched it to agents and ended up with Dystel & Goderich Literary Management, who later sold it to Kensington in a pre-empt. I’ve been very lucky!
The Book Smugglers: Per your recent contest on your blog, who would be your ideal casting choices for some of your main characters (Georgina, Seth, Rose, Lissa, Dimitri, Eugenie…)?
Richelle: Seriously? I think I’d cast unknown actors (who would undoubtedly become stars!) for these roles, rather than anyone really famous. I will say, though, that I often think of Denise Richards and Gisele Bouchard when imagining Georgina.
The Book Smugglers: What are your future plans for your three ongoing series’? Any upcoming publications?
Richelle: My plans for the series are…to keep writing them! I’m contracted out through 2010, and eventually, I’ll have to make some decisions on what series will wrap up and what will continue. I had five novels and an anthology come out this year, and the last one of this set, Shadow Kiss, will be out in November. After that, I get a break until June 2009 when the next Georgina is out.
The Book Smugglers: What are you reading right now (and revisions don’t count!)?
Richelle: I’m currently reading Fool’s Errand by Robin Hobb, which is high fantasy and very different from what I write. It’s great.
The Book Smugglers: If you were stranded on a desert island, what five books would you bring with you?
- The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
- Beauty by Sheri S. Tepper
- Dragons of Winter Night by Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman
- Good Omens by Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett
- Succubus Blues…by me!
Richelle Mead has a MA in Comparative Religion and a passion for all things wacky and humourous. She currently lives in Seattle with her husband and four cats.
A big Thank You again to Richelle for the chat!
And, as promised, we have one copy of Richelle’s latest release, Succubus Dreams up for grabs! In order to win, all you have to do is leave a comment here telling us what supernatural creature you would choose to be. Succubus? Vampire? Some other form of Demon or Angel? The contest will close on Saturday at midnight (Pacific Standard Time). Good luck!