Exclusive: First look at Vampire Academy trailer-and scoop from author Richelle Mead

Spirit-BoundRichelle Mead’s Vampire Academy series has been a hit since the first book was released in 2007. The fifth and latest installment, Spirit Bound, comes out May 18. We have an exclusive first look at the book’s trailer, which will air during Thursday night’s season finale of the Vampire Diaries and as a preview before this summer’s highly anticipated movie Eclipse.

Mead spoke with EW.com about the trailer, what fans can expect from her new book, and she’s doing next.

What can you tell us about  Spirit Bound?
Spirit Bound takes place almost entirely outside of the school that gives the series its name, so that’s kind of ironic and funny. The characters are sort of on their own now, so we get to see what they do when they’re not within the confines of teachers and school rules. It’s less of a tearjerker; the other ones had these big sudden shockers that tended to leave people crying, so I would get email for weeks after the books came out that with people telling me how I left them sobbing. I don’t think there will be quite as much as that, but I can’t always tell that. This is going to be more twists in the story of the ‘Oh my God’ variety. People will still be surprised, and there’s still a cliffhanger, buy I think it will be less emotionally traumatic.

How did you create the series?
I’d been writing adult books sort of in the same genre, the paranormal urban fantasy realm, before that. I had two series, one about demons and one about fairies, and at the time I had extra time on my hands and I wanted to try something for young adults. I was kind of running out of paranormal creatures, so I thought, ‘Well, let’s do vampires,’ little knowing what I was getting into at the time with teen vampires. I had no idea it was about to become a phenomenon unto itself.

Is it hard to deal with the fact that there are so many other vampire books out there and people are going to compare your books to those? Does that get annoying?
No, not at all. There’s always a sort of idea that authors are terrible rivals and hate each other. The Twilight phenomenon if anything has helped me. Teens are so voracious; these books come out that they’ve been waiting nine months for and they read them in four hours. Then they’re looking for the next vampire book. To have so many out there, we just feed each other. Someone finishes one series and jumps to the other. It’s great to have so much interest and so many other series. I know a lot of these authors, and they’re a lot of fun to hang out with. The biggest thing is probably just when people mix up the series; they come up to me and say, ‘I love The Vampire Diaries.’ I’m like, ‘Me too, but I didn’t write that!’ [laughs]

What’s the process like while writing the Vampire Academy books? Do you know what’s going to go into each book?
I plan out all of my series. I have to know how many books it’s going to take to tell the story and what the big plots are going to be in each book and the series as a whole. I know a lot of authors who are so brilliant they can make it up as they go; not me, I need to know my direction, I need to know what my end point is, so most of them are very planned out. I outline everything. There are always things that pop up along the way, subplots you hadn’t thought of that kind of organically rise up, but all the big things haven’t changed; they’ve been there from the beginning.

I read on your website that this series is supposed to end with the sixth book. Is this still the plan?
It is and it isn’t. This arc with this character and this storyline will end at book six, and that comes out in December. Then I’m going to start — I keep calling it a spin-off for lack of a better word — a new series with a new arc, but it’s going to be the same world. We’ll have new characters in the forefront that are taking the place as protagonists of the characters we’ve already met. It’ll be a new story. It’s a way for me to keep myself fresh and start something new. I certainly don’t want to beat a story into the ground when it should end. At the same time, it’s going to give readers who are in love with this world a chance to stay with it.

Why do you think this has been such a popular series? Did the success surprise you?
It was very much a surprise to me. I was working on adult stuff, and if anything this was the side project. Because I didn’t fully realize what Twilight was becoming, and because it hadn’t quite become that anyway, I didn’t expect it. It was kind of a surprise. A few months after the first Vampire Academy came out it won some honors from the American Library Association. It was a very gradual climb. Our sales numbers were creeping up each week, I was getting more and more email from it, people anticipating the next book. The second book came out and it made the New York Times list, and it was like, ‘Where did these readers come from?’ I didn’t expect it; it’s still sort of a surreal thing for me.

The exclusive trailer we have on our website will air Thursday night during the CW’s Vampire Diaries and in movie theaters before Eclipse. How do you feel about having a trailer based on your books to air on TV and in front of one of the biggest movies of the summer?
It’s kind of unreal. I haven’t reached a point where I can take any of this in stride yet. Each thing is still kind of astonishing and miraculous to me. It’s daunting, a little bit, to think of so many people seeing that. I’m a little nervous to see it as well. It’s strange to see anyone do something with your work. Whenever I listed to the audio versions of my books, it’s like, ‘Wow, someone took that and did something with it.’ I have no idea what to expect with this; I understand they actually had a cast and did real filming. I want the books to reach as many people as possible, and Penguin is just so wonderful with promotion, to think of these things. I’m grateful and excited.

There are fans who have made their own trailers by putting together footage from movies and television shows and posting them on YouTube. What do you think about that?
That’s going back to that kind of weird reaction I have to see someone else…it’s so close to me, and then you see someone else’s interpretation, and the cast of Gossip Girl is playing my characters in these clips. It’s strange. I can’t watch a lot of them; it’s kind of funny at the same time and just weird. It’s amazing to think that I could have created something that has such a profound affect that people will splice together the clips to make this because they’re so excited about it. It’s kind of a wake up call for how these reach people; it’s not always as obvious until you see something like that.

You’re embarking soon on a two-week book tour. What are those like?
I do a lot of outreach with fans. I travel quite a bit to see then, and this year they’re sending me to smaller places, like Mobile, Alabama and Albuquerque. We’re trying really hard to get out there to connect with those readers. I think what’s really great with this series is there really is so much interaction between me and them; along with the travel there’s a very active online presence. I interact with them through all the assorted social networking sites. I read all the comments and respond when I can, which isn’t always so easy.

The second day of release, I can assume that everyone who’s at a signing has read the book. Even sometimes that first day, they got it that morning and I see them at 7 p.m. and they’re ready with questions. It’s amazing.



Comments (176 total) Add your comment
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  • Anthony

    PLEASE!!! Enough with the vampires! I used to be suck a fan of the vampire sub-genre before this craze, now I have actually become sick of hearing about all the adaptions.

    • Anthony

      such* Sorry about the mistake.

    • Jade

      Ugh. Please, cut Richelle Mead some slack. This series has been on the shelves for five years. It’s exceptionally well done and worth reading for any fan of YA. Don’t hate on a series you clearly haven’t read.

      • Anthony

        The books are fine, it’s the transition to movie or in some cases TV that I am tired of.

    • Jade

      Did you bother reading? This is the BOOK trailer. It just has actors in it.

      • Elimarie

        I’m with you, don’t worry…this Anthony is just an airhead!! XD
        These are the greatest series. Can’t wait for The Last Sacrifice!!

    • Kelly

      Relax…it is going to be okay. Sorry, the vampire genre will always be around. My advice – You might want to stop going to websites that feature the very thing you are sick of.

    • Neha

      Then Don’t read the page or watch the video! If it’s so annoying then just shut up and stick your nose elsewhere!

    • Alyssa

      ugh…..i hope these are not the real acters oh god they look nothing like lissa rose and the guy who is suppost to be dimitri is UGLY as all get out *barf* i wont wacth the movie if there is one if them ppls will play in it gag

      • Ana

        Seriously, i mean the books are always better anyway, you can use your imagination… and they are pretty ugly, plus that it’s not how they are described….

      • Emily

        I totally agree with you. The girl thats suposse to be rose is barely a badass. VA and twilight are my fav books. Richelle mead and stephenie meyer know how to write! :)

      • Linsey

        Yeah I agree…nothing what i expected rose or lissa to look like; but dimitri wasn’t that bad. I love these books and can’t wait for tomorrow!

      • Larissa

        Omg, that Lissa girl looked yucky. She looked too… manly. I think I prefer the model on the cover of frostbite better. LOVE THIS SERIES! Oh, and the succubus series.. and the — wait. I’ll stop, or else I’ll just go on and on.

        DimkaLuv<3

      • Terri

        I didn’t think the actors fit either. Lissa is supposed to be tall and thin – – she’s no taller than Rose in this depiction.

      • Ana

        Yep, twilight and vampire academy are pretty much my favorites too, although i like vampire diary books alot too

      • Ambam

        Hay I totally agree with you!

      • Ange

        grrrrrrr need better characters if this is the real thing come on reachel meed u should know what they’re supposed to look like please please try and change it if not then they r totaly butchering an awsome series blahk >:(

    • Amy

      Hey, dude, if you are tired of hearing about vampires that why are you even on this page? Just shut up so other people can enjoy “the vampire-craze.”

    • Emily

      How about enough with twilight. Vampire Academy doesn’t even have that much stuff about vampires in it. It’s a great frigging book!

      • Ella

        vampire academy is NOTHING like twilight! Once you read it, only an idiot would say the two are similar.

    • Kali

      Seriously you obviously havnt read this series! I get being sick of hearing about Twilight but don’t hate on all other vampire series because of it! VA is way better than it and there’s actually a lot of action in it! Come on at least read the books. ;)

    • zoey

      If u dont like vampires then ingore them and move on when u hear about them. and stop being a jerk about it

    • Jaikeil

      Dang, iReally Love These Books, iDGAF Who Doesnt Like It, Keep Ur Dizzy Comments To Yourself Cause Aint Nobody Trynna See That Uu Talkin Smack. If Uu Dont Like It, First Of All, Then Dont Look It Up In The First Place ! Uu Must Got Some Intrest In IT If Ur Up On The Website Lookin It Up !

  • baj24

    Hush Anthony. These books are actually quite good. Can’t wait for “Spirit Bound”!!!

  • VAFan

    This series is amazing! Easily my favorite in the whole genre. I can’t wait to read Spirit Bound!!!

    • kayleigh jo

      you are totally right va series is like the best book anyone can read!!!!

  • shaunna

    yeah. most vampire books suck these days! but vampire academy is really awesome! its not the lovey dovey twilight stuff.

  • Lilla

    Everybody is entitled to there own thoughts but I love the series she is an amazing author and you know what I’m going to be 45 this month and truelly enjoy the books.
    What makes it better is she actually talks to her fans.
    I can’t wait to read it . : )

    • Bella

      I like your comment and your name, Lilla :)

    • Terri

      Lilla,

      I’m right there with you. I’m in my 40’s and this is one of my favorite book series. I have to admit that I’m a huge fan of her Succubus and Thorn Queen series as well. She writes great characters that you care about. That’s the mark of a great writer.

    • mollie

      i agree w/ lilla and i’m goin to be 33 this yr,and i just love them w/ all the action and romance. i’ve read them 3 or 4 times, and i wouldn’t mind seein them put them put into a series if they do them right. some people sometimes don’t pretray their charaters right on screen as they should.

  • lisa

    agreed! these books are fantastic! Richelle Mead has done an amazing job writing them and i thank her for it. If you dont like reading about them anthony than dont but to post something like that isnt necessary. There are plenty of us out there who look forward to reading about them.

  • Christina

    I really like VA and can’t wait until the spirit bound comes out. I also hope the months goes fast for the last book comes out. my sister in law likes the books too and my neighbor.
    I just can’t wait to see what happens with Dimka and Rose also Adrain, but I also want to see if Lissa and Christain get back together. and if Rose ends up killing Dimka or saving him.

  • VAcritique

    i’m kind of disappoint with the video but anyway the series is amazing and don’t hate on it. i’m mad cuz i’m going to miss the preview tomorrow, damn!

    • Cindy

      Agreed – that trailer was anticlimactic; can we see some action and get a feel for the story please? I haven’t read the series, and after seeing that trailer, I don’t know if I will.

      • VAFan

        You’re right! It would more accurately be called a “teaser” instead of a “trailer”

      • Rose+Christian

        you should read them… they really are great books… that was just not a very good trailer! lol

  • Stephanie

    Out of all the vampire books I have tried, Mead’s Vampire Academy is simply the best. Her adult series are also fun and exciting reads. And some icing on the cake, she is a really nice person. I had the pleasure of meeting her over a year ago and she was great, signing 8-10 of my books. Cannot wait for Spirit Bound.

    • Bookerguy

      How about Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles?

      • Momo

        Rice’s series, in my opinion, has better writing, although the latest of Meade’s VA series really shows her growth as a writer and was her best yet. But the one thing that Meade’s series has that Rice doesnt is a kick-a$$ heroine that’s snarky, compassionate and intelligent. So I guess it depends what type of vampire novel you want…

  • Tirzah

    Anthony, if your tired of all the movie’s and tv shows of book’s, then dont watch them! theres no law saying you have to. and the books are great!! and they deserve a trailer, witch they FINALLY got!!! Cant wait for spirit bound!!!

  • Lisa

    Love the books, hated that trailer. I can’t wait to read it.

    • mary

      Lisa, i agree. I love every VA book, but really people shouldn’t try and copy it unless its like a movie or something. Can’t wait for Spirit Bound! and in a few days it will change to the next book coming out by Richelle Mead =]

    • Ange

      toaly agree with u on that one and they could at leaste get some better looking characters and seriously need to see some actual action here like rose and dimitri being bad ass like they’re supposed 2 be grrrrrr >:( love th books though fantasticaly awsome have the entire series loved the last sacrifice

  • Jen

    Personally I LOVE VA – Mead has a lot of really good books on the shelves – but VA is one of my favorite – I’m excited for Spirit Bound to come out :)

  • Arielka

    So happy and excited!! Waiting for Spirit Bound!

  • amanda

    I agree, the trailer was not good. Sure that guy was hot, but still…not good

  • Julia

    I understand Anthony’s dismay at the explosion of the vampire genre. I too have trouble going to the store and finding anything to read that is not vampire related. But along with the others, I greatly enjoy Mead’s work (adult series included). She is the only one I have stuck with and I have read many. Luckily, on Mead’s website, she easily dismisses any idea of a movie to come out which I know would tragically ruin excellent books as that is the only way Hollywood ever does it.

    • holly

      i kind of agree but its just some of my friends hate to read so i want them to see why i am so crazy to read them and get the next book so a movie would be okay becuse they can not ruin a book as good as this on i am a huge fan and i have read almost all of her work

      • Rebecca

        People can ruin any book by turning them into a movie. Just look at harry potter! Also I love to read too but my friends love to read.

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