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L. J. Smith
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L. J. Smith   L. J. Smith is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Night World, Dark Visions, and The Vampire Diaries, which is now a hit TV series on The CW. Long before Buffy and Twilight came out, readers have enjoyed L. J. Smith's supernatural stories of high school romance between vampires and humans.

Buy L. J. Smith's Books at the following locations: (downloadable audio books) (independent bookstores)
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This episode originally aired on 11/19/2009 with the following authors:
Note: The following interview has been transcribed from The Author Hour radio show. Please excuse any typos, spelling and gramatical errors.

Interview with L. J. Smith

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Bonus Question(s) that Didn't Air on the Live Radio Show

Note that you can also listen to this while you read it.

Matthew Peterson: Let me ask you a bonus question. Iíll ask you kind of a funny one and kind of a serious one.

L. J. Smith: Sure.

Matthew Peterson: Now, I know you tried to change your name to Ljane. [laughs]

L. J. Smith: Yes.

Matthew Peterson: What was your reasoning for doing it and what were the results?

L. J. Smith: My reasoning for doing this was because I thought, ďWell, why canít I be like Madonna? Or someone whoís only known by their first name? Prince, or whoever he used to be: Prince or the artist who used to be the artist Prince.Ē

Matthew Peterson: Used to be . . . yeah. [laughs].

L. J. Smith: So that was the reason, and the result was that a lot of young people called me that, but everyone who was older said, ďWhy are you throwing away a perfectly good set of initials?Ē

Matthew Peterson: Yep. L. J. Smith.

L. J. Smith: L. J. Yes. Like my parents had no imagination.

Matthew Peterson: I have a sister named Lisa.

L. J. Smith: [laughs]

Matthew Peterson: Itís a good name. So you werenít very successful at that. So youíve kind of gone back. Now youíre . . .

L. J. Smith: Well, yeah. I didnít go back; everyone else did.

Matthew Peterson: [laughs]

L. J. Smith: I didnít print a retraction or something. But everyone just ignored me. So what can I do?

Matthew Peterson: [laughs] Ah. Yeah. Well, at least youíre not ďthe author formerly known as L. J. Smith.Ē [laughs]

L. J. Smith: Yes. [laughs]

Matthew Peterson: Itís too big to fit on a book cover. [laughs]

L. J. Smith: Well, itís not too big in some of the sizes that they put my name, but thatís an argument between me and my publisher. [laughs]

Matthew Peterson: Yeah. Well, youíve written over two dozen books for young adults. Do you plan on writing any books for adults?

L. J. Smith: I have been saying since I wrote my first book that I was going to right a book for adults next. So I wouldnít hold my breath.

Matthew Peterson: [laughs] Yeah. Well, your books are good for adults too.

L. J. Smith: Yeah. I get so many letters from adults. Itís amazing!

Extra Material That was Cut from the Show Because of Time Constraints

Note that you can also listen to this while you read it (you'll need to fast forward past the bonus questions).

Matthew Peterson: [referring to The Vampire Diaries on The CW] What time? Itís on like Thursdays at 7?

L. J. Smith: Itís on Thursdays at 8, except for Central time, which is 7.

Matthew Peterson: 7 okay. Yeah. Alright, well thatís neat. Well, I have been watching it. I wasnít quite sure what I was going to get myself into, you know, with the very first episode. But I can say it has really gotten my attention. Like you said, Damon is a character. He is a very interesting person, and Damon and Stefan are brothers. They were real brothers, before they became vampires.

L. J. Smith: Exactly.

Matthew Peterson: And they were okay with each other before the thing, but some big event happened and now they . . .

L. J. Smith: Yeah. They havenít really gotten to what caused it, so I wonít ruin the surprise, but I think itís on this week.

Matthew Peterson: Yeah. Well that is an interesting story to see play.

* * * * * * * * * *

L. J. Smith: Where the girl is sort of saying as her predecessor, which Iím skipping forward in the series a bit Ďcause her predecessor, Katherine who looks just like her, wants both boys to be with her. Elena ends like that too. Elena ends up in the position of wanting both Damon and Stefan, which is like Elena. Although she learns a lot of things, she still is Elena and she canít really see why monogamy should apply to women when so often it doesnít apply to men. [laughs]

Matthew Peterson: To men. Yeah [laughs]

* * * * * * * * * *

L. J. Smith: [referring to Night World] . . . and it was supposed to be written around the millennium, but unfortunately, during the millennium I was either chasing toddlers or giving help to my sister in the hospital when my brother-in-law was ill. So I kind of skipped the millennium, and I go for the Mayan calendar which says the world will end in 2012. So weíve still got a few years left. [laughs]

Matthew Peterson: Yep. I know thereís a movie coming out with the world ending: 2012. [laughs]

L. J. Smith: Oh really?

Matthew Peterson: Yep.

L. J. Smith: Oh yeah, those Mayans knew everything, I guess.

Matthew Peterson: Yep.

. . .

Matthew Peterson: So the last book, Witchlight, that was 1997, so there has been some time.

L. J. Smith: Right, and this book, the next book, takes up in modern times, so I had to kind of accommodate for that and sort of get around the fact that my characters would be too old to really catch the attention of the teen audience. But I did get around it. The characters are frozen in time, just like King Arthur and his knights, waiting to come back when the need is greatest, and I say they should come back now, but . . . [laughs]

Matthew Peterson: Yep. And this is also a vampire series?

L. J. Smith: Itís an everything series. In fact, the book is coming out right now, which wonít make much difference to your show, but they entitled it The Ultimate Fan Guide to Night World or something like that. But anyway, itís a fan guide and so there are many different species. There are witches, shape shifters, ghouls, old souls, shape shifters, werewolves, and a few others that I canít put my finger on right now, but I should probably.

Matthew Peterson: [laughs]

. . .

Matthew Peterson: . . . and so the last book will be called Strange Fate, coming out 2010.

L. J. Smith: Um . . . itís coming out. . . No, [laughs] that was sort of a dream.

Matthew Peterson: [laughs] You canít write three books in nine months any more?

L. J. Smith: No. Well, I almost have to, but, see, the books today are much, much longer. I went back and looked at the books that Iíd written, or you can look at the omnibus of the Night World books and see that each one holds what was three full books back in the 1990's.

Matthew Peterson: Uh huh.

L. J. Smith: So, what Iím writing now is three times longer . . .

Matthew Peterson: Ah.

L. J. Smith: . . . than what I was writing then as three books.

Matthew Peterson: Yeah.

L. J. Smith: So I canít quite get three books done in nine months. No.

Matthew Peterson: Yeah. Well, these are teenage books, young adult books, and I know those books are getting fatter and fatter as the years go by.

L. J. Smith: They certainly are.

Matthew Peterson: Yeah. And so the next Vampire Diaries book thatís coming out is Shadow Souls, 2010.

L. J. Smith: And that will come out in February. And it really will come out because Iím supposed to be starting copy editing it today. So . . . [laughs]

Matthew Peterson: [laughs] Well, whatís a little something about that book? Shadow Souls.

L. J. Smith: Shadow Souls is my favorite book, can I say that? [laughs]

Matthew Peterson: Yeah! Thatís allowable. [laughs]

L. J. Smith: My favorite book. Itís just the one that I have enjoyed most writing, since I think the first Vampire Diaries book in the Vampire Diaries series. Itís one in which Elena, Damon, and Elenaís two friends, Meredith and Bonnie, actually go to a sort of upper layer of hell in order to free Stefan, who has been imprisoned.

Matthew Peterson: Mmm. So Damon and Stefan, they have this relationship. Damon wants to kill him, he kind of . . . heís still his brother though, he still wants him to live. [laughs]

L. J. Smith: And theyíve also made a promise to Elena to watch over each other, and the one thing about Damon is that he is a gentleman, whether he is a gentlemen of the Renaissance or of the Civil War period, he never breaks his word.

Matthew Peterson: Yeah.

L. J. Smith: So if you can get him to give his word that he wonít bite you, youíre safe.

Matthew Peterson: Youíre safe. [laughs] Well, thatís great.

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