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Guest Author - Richelle Mead

Richelle Mead is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of urban fantasy books for both adults and teens. Originally from Michigan, Richelle now lives in Seattle, Washington where she works on her three series full-time.

A life-long reader, Richelle has always had a particular fascination with mythology and folklore. When she can actually tear herself away from books (either reading or writing them), she enjoys bad reality TV, travelling, trying interesting cocktails, and shopping for dresses that she then hardly ever wears. She is a self-professed coffee addict, runs on a nocturnal schedule, and has a passion for all things wacky and humorous.

Richelle's Young Adult series, Vampire Academy, is published by Penguin Books in the UK. This best-selling series has won honours from the American Library Association and been on a number of lists. It follows the war between two races of vampires, living and undead. Rose Hathaway, a 17-year-old half-vampire, is training to be a bodyguard for the living vampires and finds her life complicated by the dangers that involves, as well as an illicit romance with one of her teachers.

How did you get into writing?

I’ve been writing my entire life, but I didn’t get serious about it until about five years ago. I began writing on the side while I was getting my second master’s degree, and once I finished the book, I was lucky enough to sell and publish it. From there, I wrote more books and eventually made writing a fulltime career.

If you could be any character out of any book, who would you be and why?

My characters have too many problems! I’m not sure I’d want to be any of them. Georgina, a character from my adult novel Succubus Blues, can shape-shift, which would save me a lot of time styling my hair in the morning.

Do you read other books in your chosen genre to help you with writing style and ideas?

No, I actually stay away from other books in my genre. Part of this is because when you work with that genre so much - i.e. writing it every day - reading it for fun isn’t actually, well, fun. I also kind of want to keep my head out of that genre anyway. I have my ideas and novels planned out already, but it’s nice to keep my head clear of other possible distractions.

What's the hardest thing about writing?

Time. I write three series for two publishers, and there’s never enough time. I have to turn around a first draft every three months, and the previous novel is usually being edited at the same time. It’s all manageable, but self-discipline is key - and that’s what’s really hard. There’s no boss to tell me what to do. I work at home, and it’s important I keep myself on track to make all these deadlines.

What ingredients make up a good story in your opinion?

The basics. They’re tried and true! Compelling characters, snappy dialogue, tight plot, etc. Everything plays a role, and the greatest stories excel in all of them.

How do you get your story ideas?

There’s no easy answer, no one place. We live, we experience things ... it all builds in the mind, and that’s where an author gets his or her stories. The myths my novels are based in come from their original historic sources, of course, but everything else I create is a result of countless experiences that have shaped me into who I am.

Will you be exploring any other folklore in future novels?

If I start a new series, I’ll probably look into other source material - most likely something Celtic, since that was one of my specialities in school. But I’m a ways off from that! I’ve already got too many series on my plate right now.

Is it easier to write for adults or teens?

There are pros and cons to each. Adult characters are more relatable age-wise and more in sync with my humour, but there’s a lot of room for wild emotions and actions with teen books, which is fun. That being said, teen books are often edited a lot harder than adult ones - so the process itself is difficult. Fortunately, in writing for both age groups, I get the best of both worlds.

Vampires are so, so popular in literature at the moment - why do you think they appeal to the reader so much?

That’s the big mystery! I honestly can’t say. I think the fact that they’re so often portrayed as dangerous and sexy is a huge factor. Romance stories with a ‘bad boy’ interest or forbidden love have been popular for ages, which is what that factor plays off. If vampires were being written as more monstrous than human, I don’t think we’d see them enjoying such popularity - at least not as romantic options!

To find out all the latest news on Richelle’s writing visit†www.richellemead.com.

Book Review

Vampire Academy: Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead

Published by Puffin
Published on 7th December 2010
RRP £6.99
ISBN 978-0141331881

The final heart wrenching episode at St Vladimir's Academy. Rose is on trial for high treason and the death of Queen Tatiana. Someone is trying to frame her and it looks like even Dimitri might not be able to save her now Ö Also, this December, the Vampire Academy titles are being re-issued with the new look cover as pictured right.

Recommended for readers 12+