L.J. Smith, author of The Vampire Diaries books, hasn’t let being fired from her own series get her down. Instead, she’s started writing fan fiction about her own characters and selling it on Amazon.
Alloy Entertainment, who publishes the series, originally hired Smith in the late 1980s to write an “Interview With the Vampire for teens,” according to a new interview with The Wall Street Journal (via The Hairpin). Originally published in 1991 and 1992, the first set of books received a boost again in 2007 when Twilight mania hit the world. Alloy then hired her to write a new trilogy of The Vampire Diaries books, and soon the TV adaptation premiered on The CW.
At that point, though, things started to go badly. According to Smith, Alloy wanted the books to adhere more closely to the show’s plot lines, but she wanted to go her own way. The company dismissed her and hired a ghostwriter to continue the series. Her name still appears on the new book covers, and she still receives 50 percent of royalties from sales, but she has absolutely nothing to do with the books’ creation.
Now, though, Smith has been revisiting the world of Elena, Stefan, and Damon in a series of fan fiction stories for Amazon’s Kindle Worlds. The new program allows writers to publish fan fiction about established characters without it causing legal problems, because Amazon gains copyright permission from the original publishers and shares some of the royalties with them. So because Alloy profits from all Kindle Worlds titles related to The Vampire Diaries, and because using the service requires giving up copyright to your work, Smith is able to write about her own characters without getting sued.
It’s weird and complicated, but it works for her. “I didn’t do these books for money,” Smith said. “They’re entirely a labor of love.” Fans are probably happy, too, since it means more The Vampire Diaries stories to obsess over.