In Richelle Mead's and Michelle Rowen's Vampire Academy: The Ultimate Guide, there are several "Q&A" that answer a lot of things for the VA fans. Here is a condensed version of those nineteen questions and their answers.
WARNING: May Contain Spoilers! Use Caution!
Who was Your Favorite Character to Write and Why?Edit
"I loved writing Rose in this series. Of course, when you're writing in first person POV, its easy to fall in love with your narrator. You almost have to, since you're in that person's head so much! But Rose is wonderfully complex, and that's a joy for any writer. She has a wry, witty outlook on the world that makes a nice contrast for the darkness that so often pops up in the series. She's not afraid to point out the ludicrous, and I have a lot of fun putting in her asides and observations. At the same time, behind his humor, Rose has a depth and vulnerability that I think really speaks to a lot of people. She's larger than life in many ways, but at her heart, she shares the same kind of love and yearning we all do. Those qualities are what readers really love about her and are the reason I enjoyed writing her so much.
I'm so amazed how, in all of my series, there are always a few side characters that readers absolutely adore--to the extent that I start seeing fan clubs and T-shirts made up in honor of those characters! For the VA series, Abe definitely wins the prize in this category. I get a lot of comments from readers who are excited to hear about his next wardrobe choice, be it scarves or fedoras. The more outlandish, the better! He's a great character because most of his lines are completely absurd, but at the same tie, you never doubt for an instant that he's pretty fierce when push comes to shove. One of my most memorable moments as a writer was being contacted by a reader from Saudi Arabia who was happy to see someone of Middle Eastern descent on the side of the good guys. This comment meant so much to me, especially because despite all his layers of intrigue and questionable motives, we never doubt that Abe has a heart of gold." -- Vampire Academy: The Ultimate Guide. Page 224.
How Did You Feel About the Passionate Response of Fans to the Love Triangle? What Do You Think Differentiates Team Dimitri from Team Adrian?Edit
"It was a surprise to me how early and how passionately readers began to divide themselves up between Dimitri and Adrian! Even before Adrian was a serious contender for Rose's heart in the series, he already had a faithful following. Its really hard to say for sure what makes readers pick one guy over the other. Dimitri (aside from when he's passing time as an evil vampire) shines as the choice for those who love strong, dependable men. You know he's always going to be around for Rose, and he dominates any situation he walks into. Even when he's a Strigoi, he's still a badass! On the other hand, I think the Adrian fans love his flippant, easy-going nature. Adrian knows how to turn on the romance and char, and we occasionally get glimpses that maybe--just maybe--he's not that slacker party boy he so often portrays. Every once in a while, I'll see someone with a "Team Mason" shirt. They're so sweet, but I always feel a little sad because that's the one romantic choice I can say with certainty is out of the running!" -- Vampire Academy: The Ultimate Guide. Page 231.
What was the Exact Moment That Dimitri Fell in Love with Rose?Edit
"I'm not sure that we can pinpoint the exact moment that Dimitri fell for Rose. It was definitely a gradual thing that crept up on him (and her!). I can say for sure, though, that he was awestruck by her at their very first meeting. Rose throwing herself between Lissa and the guardians, even when she was hopelessly outnumbered, is definitely one of the most powerful scenes in the series. It establishes Rose's nature right away--both her bravery and intense devotion to those she loves. Dimitri possesses those exact same traits, and I think seeing that in her was definitely a moment when the world stood still for him." -- Vampire Academy: The Ultimate Guide. Page 254.
"Writing Dimitri as an evil Strigoi was challenging on a lot of levels. First, I simply had to overcome my own difficulties with allowing a character I knew and loved to do bad things! When you write someone log enough, you really get comfortable with that character's personality. So, it was definitely weird having to portray him in a totally different--and at times, awful--way. From a craft point view, this was also a difficult writing task because I needed to make Dimitri terrifying and consumed by his monstrous side--while still giving readers a reason to be hopeful for him. If you make a character too evil and too unlikeable, readers will lose faith and stop caring. I needed readers to still love him--but also be a little afraid of him! It was a very tricky balance to manage!" Vampire Academy: The Ultimate Guide. Page 256.
Do You Feel That Rose was Totally Justified in What She Did to Save Dimitri--Breaking Both Laws and Hearts? Is all Fair in Love and War?Edit
"Rose's decision to save Dimitri in Spirit Bound--and the choices she made to pull it off--was definitely a key moment in the series for her identity and growth as a person. Throughout the entire series, Rose has been shaped by two powerful forces. One is her loyalty to the guardians and the rules they've established for her world. The other is her devotion to those she loves and willingness to do anything for them. Those two forces clashed frequently in the series, but she was always able to balance them just in time--until Spirit Bound. Dimitri's salvation forced Rose to finally choose where she truly stood, an despite her faith in the guardians, it was her love for others that won out. Once that decision was made, everything else that followed was justified as far as Rose was concerned. She certainly regretted the laws and hearts that were broken along the way, but standing by and abandoning Dimitri was not an option at this point." -- Vampire Academy: The Ultimate Guide. Page 258.
How Did Adrian First Discover His Spirit Magic?"Edit
"When we first meet Adrian, he doesn't even know what his magic is called or that it might be bigger than he realizes. Adrian's had a mixed history of both belonging and being an outsider. He can easily fit into any social situation ad always stands out as the life of a party. People love him, and he's always invited to the hottest, most popular events. At the same time, there's a part of Adrian that always feels a little different, ad that's why we often see him put on this lazy, wacky persona that Rose finds to infuriating. That's Adrian's way of coping. So, when he initially thought he had no element and then later realized he had bizarre and unknown powers, he pretty much accepted that as par for his life. It was just one more way in which he didn't quite fit in with everyone else. It wasn't until he met Lissa (and other spirit users) that he began to realize he wasn't weird. He was special. That's gone a long way to change his attitudes about himself and the world (though not done much to change his crazy partying nature... yet)." -- Vampire Academy: The Ultimate Guide. Page 261.
What was it that Attracted Adrian to Rose? Is He Naturally Inclined to Fall for Girls who are Likely to Break His Heart?Edit
"Rose made things difficult for Adrian from the very beginning, and honestly, I kind of think that's what attracted him! Adrian has a lot of problems with a lot of things in his life, but charming people (especially women) isn't one of them. He's always been able to get former girlfriends, his mother, and even prickly Queen Tatiana to do whatever he wants. So, it was kind of a shock for him when Rose wasn't instantly taken in by his usual tricks. The part of Adrian that likes to be contrary ad difficult couldn't resist the challenge. It's almost impossible for him to believe that a girl wouldn't instantly fall for him. At the same time, he secretly likes that. Girls who give in too easily bore him, ad he had been waiting for someone to stand up to him. Rose's strength spoke to him and ignited a hidden piece of his personality that actually longs to be stronger too." -- Vampire Academy: The Ultimate Guide. Page 263.
Did Lissa's Parents Initially Have a Problem with Their Pureblood Moroi Daughter Having a Dhampir as a Best Friend? What Helped Them Accept Rose as a Part of Their Family?Edit
"A lot of people wonder how Lissa's parents could have been so accepting of Rose and Lissa's friendship, particularly considering what we know about the divisions in Moroi and dhampir society. The biggest taboo in this area is actually when it comes to love and romance. That's when Moroi-dhampir pairings become dangerous. Friendships aren't looked down upon as much, and it's actually pretty common for guardians who have protected a family long enough to be treated as just another family member. This is certainly what happened with Rose and the Dragomirs. Lissa's parents were understandably concerned about Lissa's safety, and they knew that having someone like Rose--who was devoted as both a friend and guardian--would be the best way to ensure Lissa was always protected." -- Vampire Academy: The Ultimate Guide. Page 265.
While Christian and Lissa's Relationship has its Problems, They're Normal Problems That Any Teen Might Experience, Like Jealousy or Misunderstanding. Was it Intentional to have a More Down-to-Earth Romance in the Books to Contrast the Epic Drama of Rose and Dimitri?Edit
"Lissa and Christian, while far from being a "normal" couple, were meant to be a contrast to Rose and Dimitri (and even Rose and Adrian). I wanted to show that not every romance is fraught with epic, world-shattering problems! That isn't to say things were always easy for Lissa and Christian. They certainly had their share of difficulties throughout the series, and it was important for me to highlight the typical ups and downs that any couple, vampire or human, might have. Some people might argue that if I'd really wanted something to contrast with Rose's disastrous love life, I should have given Lissa and Christian a perfect, problem-free romance. There was no way I could do that, though. Aside from the fact that it wouldn't be realistic, I also think those little relationship kinks and difficulties are what end up making Lissa and Christian such a power couple. Facing problems together ends up strengthening both their love and themselves as individuals." -- Vampire Academy: The Ultimate Guide. Page 269.
Christian's Parents Turn Strigoi, and His Aunt is a Murderer. How Does He Manage to Cope With all of This, Especially After Being Shunned for Years at School? Does He Ever Believe that He too Could be Capable of Evil Acts if it Runs in His Family so Much?== "Christian has one of the most interesting pasts of any of the characters--which is saying something with this cast! From the moment we meet him, he has the legacy of his parents' decision hanging over him. Later, he must contend with his aunt's treason. These things go a long way to explain why Christian has such a prickly, rebellious nature. He doesn't doubt himself or worry that he'll follow in the steps of his family. The problem is that although he knows the kind of person he truly is, that's not enough for some people. Since childhood, he's been defined by others' expectations of him. Everyone assumes he's going to behave a certain way, and it's incredibly frustrating to him since he often feels there's no way he can convince others he's different from the rest of his family. After a while, this is kind of what drives his tendency to act out. He figures if people think he's bad, then maybe he should act bad! Fortunately, Lissa's influence has had a huge impact on him. Although he's still troubled by others' opinions, she's covinced him that going forward ad being who he truly is will eventually convince others of his real nature." -- Vampire Academy: The Ultimate Guide. Page 271.
What Inspired You to Use Russian and Romanian Mythology to Create the World of Vampire Academy that Incudes both Living and Undead Versions of Vampires?Edit
"I took a class at the University of Michigan on Slavic folklore ad mythology. One of the units we studied was on vampires, and we had the opportunity to read some really great stories and examine a lot of the symbolism behind these old tales. Years later, when I decided I wanted to write a vampire novel, I decided I wanted to base my series out of that same region. So, I went searching through Eastern European mythology again and eventually found a reference to Moroi and Strigoi that I thought could really make a great foundation for a vampire society. Dhampirs are a little more widespread in pop culture, and I'd heard of them before, though they too come from this same region. What's funny is that I decided early on that my kickass heroine would be a dhampir, simply because I liked the mix of human and vampire traits. Later, I learned that in a lot of Eastern European myths, dhampirs have a reputation for being great vampire hunters. There were those who believed that if an evil vampire was causing trouble, you needed to recruit a dhampir to come get rid of him or her. So, without even realizing it, I'd cast Rose into a traditional warrior role!" -- Vampire Academy: The Ultimate Guide. Page 273.
"People often ask, "If Moroi don't use magic for fighting, what do they use it for?" The answer is that in recent history, most Moroi have simply used their powers for ordinary , day-to-day tasks. That might seem like a waste to some people, but if I had the chance to use air magic, I would do it in an instant! I absolutely hate blow-drying my hair and would love to be able to use a little magic to zap it into place each morning." -- Vampire Academy: The Ultimate Guide. Page 275.
What was the Process for Building the World of St. Vladimir's Academy?Edit
"St. Vladimir's serves a lot of different purposes in the series, so I had to consider all of them from its creation. It's not just a school; it's also a sanctuary of sorts. Moroi parents who choose to send their children here are trading family time for safety. Students attend almost year-round and hardly ever see their parents. With those things in mind, I had to put St. Vladimir's in a location that would preserve that high level of safety--both from Strigoi and curious humans. Backwoods Montana--with its vast forests and mountains--became and ideal setting. At the same time, I also had to keep in mind that students at a school like this don't quite have the same experiences that "normal" students at a private boarding school would have. There's no easy way to get off-campus. Field trips are few ad far between because safety won't allow it. Once Moroi and dhampirs are there, they pretty much stay there. As such, it was essential to make sure the school was the kind of place where they could live happily. Everything there is the newest ad best, despite the façade of historic buildings. Computer labs, athletic facilities, ad medicine--all of it is state of the art. Academics are much more extensive than ordinary schools, in the hopes that there's something there for everyone to be interested in. Equally important are the touches of ordinary home life, like religious services, movie lounges, ad lots of ope green space. The message one walks away with is yes, you do have to spend a lot of time at St. Vladimir's... but you'll like it." -- Vampire Academy: The Ultimate Guide. Page 276.
If You Were a Student at St. Vlad's, What would be Your Favorite Class?Edit
"I'd probably take as many history and literature classes as I could! I love that kind of stuff, and one of the great things about the Moroi is that they have a much greater emphasis on their past and heritage than the rest of us tend to have. This makes a lot of sense when you look at what the Moroi have gone through. They've been hunted by Strigoi and forced to spread all over the world, sometimes hiding in isolation and sometimes mixing into human cities. When your people live with that kind of danger, preserving your culture becomes imperative. It's that shared heritage that continues to unite the Moroi as a people and allow them to preserve." -- Vampire Academy: The Ultimate Guide. Page 277.
Is the Moroi Royal Court Modeled on or Inspired by any Real-Life Location? What would you Compare it to in Our World?Edit
"I always picture the Moroi Royal Court resembling some of the old, sprawling universities found in the U.S. and Europe. I see lots of stone walled buildings and ivy, spread out on wide green lawns. We have to always keep in mind that the Moroi are living in a human world, and if they want to stay secret, they can't really have anything that screams "royal palace." Modeling their Court on a prestigious university gives them both a cover for humans and a presence that's still very regal." -- Vampire Academy: The Ultimate Guide. age 280.
"I'm pretty content to be a human, but if I were forced to choose between the three races in the VA world, I'd probably choose to be a dhampir. I like the sun too much and am too grossed out by the idea of drinking blood to really get excited about that! The one downside is that I'm not sure how well I'd do in combat training. In fact, I'm fairly confident I'd break my hand the first time I tried to punch someone." -- Vampire Academy: The Ultimate Guide. Page 282.
"The guardian tattoos came about for a couple different reasons. One was that I wanted a way to establish rank and honor among the guardians. I wanted people to know, at a glance, who the most powerful dhampirs are. It was also important to me to establish a unique culture for the dhampirs. So much of what they do is in service to the Moroi that it's easy to forget the dhampirs are their own people. The tattoo system ad its ceremonies give the guardians an opportunity to have something that is totally their own. What I most certainly did not expect was that readers would start getting those same guardian tattoos permanently applied in real life! I've seen some pretty amazing art work at my signings that I never envisioned when I started the series. I just hope my readers are still glad they got those tattoos twenty years from now!" -- Vampire Academy: The Ultimate Guide. Page 283.
As the Narrator of Bloodlines, Sydney is the Complete Opposite of Rose in so Many Ways. Is it Fun, or More of a Challenge, to Write this Character?Edit
"Sydney is a really great character to have as a narrator, especially because she's so different from Rose. I loved writing Rose, but it's nice for an author to be able to switch voices ad try something new. I also think having someone like Sydney to tell the story for a while will give us new insight into the VA world. Rose has grown up among Moroi and dhampirs, and from the very beginning, we're influenced by her perceptions--mainly, that vampiric life is perfectly ordinary. For Sydney, it's most certainly not ordinary. So, we get the perspective of someone who's an outsider, looking at this world through human eyes. Sydney's also much more of a careful observer than Rose is at times, so that too will provide some new insight. From a craft point of view, Sydney isn't easier or more difficult to write--she's simply different. After writing six books with one character, I've definitely fallen into a comfortable familiarity with Rose. I can jump right in and now exactly how she'll respond. With Sydney, I'm still getting to know her but I have no doubt that within a couple of books, I'll know her just as well as I do Rose." -- Vampire Academy: The Ultimate Guide. Page 285.'
What Inspired the Idea that a Spirit-Charmed Silver Stake could Restore a Strigoi?Edit
"Silver has a long history in many cultures' folklore as a magical substance. Probably the most well-known application, that's still present in today's stories and myths, is the use of silver bullets to kill werewolves. A lot of those same stories simply say any stake through the heart will kill a vampire, but wanted it to be a little more difficult in my series. Putting in the silver requirement maintained ties to mythology and also made Strigoi that much harder to kill. Charming the silver stakes with magic added one more obstacle and also tied into the idea of duality that's present in a lot of ancient vampire stories. Those stories place a big emphasis on the balance of life ad death, ad in the VA world, magic is associated with life since only Moroi can use it. It therefore makes sense that infusing those stakes with that same "life" would be needed to destroy the undead." -- Vampire Academy: The Ultimate Guide. Page 287.
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