It has recently been brought to my attention (thank you Twitter and @melissaswims) that L.J. Smith will no longer be writing her popular series, The Vampire Diaries. I believe the last book in the series written by the author will be The Vampire Diaries: The Return: Midnight, the seventh book in the series, which is due out on March 15, 2011. (And which I’ve had on pre-order for longer than I can remember.)
Although her site still lists upcoming books eight through ten, tentatively titled Phantom, Evensong, and Eternity, the series will no longer be written by the author due to creative differences, among other issues. She does mention, however, that some of her writing may be included in Phantom.
The author, on her blog, asks readers not to boycott the series simply because she will no longer be writing the books, which is a true testament to the grace and love for her characters that Ms. Smith has.
I have been a fan of this series for awhile and am a fan of the television show, which is quite a departure from the books, but just as good in its own right. I enjoy seeing the two very different Elena’s – one blond, with a bit of a harder edge, and one brunette, with an inherent goodness.
It will be interesting to see how the series changes without the original author’s voice behind the words. I have already seen a change in the newly released books from the original books in the series written back in the 1990s. The author’s growth and familiarity with the characters has shaped these new books into something very different, and in some ways even more enjoyable than the very first books.
I realize that due to the popularity of the television show that some adjustments with the direction of the characters is being made to the books, but one of the elements I’ve most enjoyed in the books (and on TV) is Elena and Damon’s on/off relationship. And the tension between the characters, especially in the last book, has really kept the series entertaining six books in. I certainly hope that they don’t do away with this completely in future books. One thing I can say for certain about the books written thus far is that there has never been a dull moment, which is atypical in a series as long as this one, spanning decades.
I do not plan on giving up on the series simply because Ms. Smith will not be writing them. From what I’ve read, I don’t sense any bad faith with this shift just simply a difference in direction for future books. For me, it solely depends on the level of writing by the new author and whether the storyline keeps me engaged as I’ve been for the first six books in the series, as to just how much longer I will continue on.
I just find myself saddened, feeling almost as if the series has ended and the characters have all died. Because, even if the new books are written with just as much skill, I’ll just know that the Stefan, Elena and Damon that I’m reading about aren’t quite the same ones I’ve known before.
I’ve read some other books of the author’s and look forward to seeing what else her oh so creative mind will produce.
I am sorry to see her go, but will always be a fan of her writing and will treasure her last complete Vampire Diaries book, which I cannot wait to read in March.
(And yes, watching the TV show while writing this post made me a bit morose.)