Author L. J. Smith Fired from “The Vampire Diaries”

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Yesterday, on author L. J. Smith’s blog, she confirmed that she was, in fact, let go from writing the ongoing, hugely successful series, The Vampire Diaries. Here’s what she had to say:

First, I want to thank my readers for all their messages of support. I’ve gotten far too many emails to answer, and I really appreciate the kindness and emotional sustenance you’ve given to me at this difficult time.

Second, if you’ve asked me a question about the future books or the endgame of The Vampire Diaries and I’ve been vague about what’s in store, I’d like to take this opportunity to apologize. I really wasn’t looking forward to the day when I would have to talk about this.

Third, and most importantly, I want to ask anyone who was thinking of it, not to boycott Harper’s or anyone. It just doesn’t make sense. Although I wanted and still want more than anything to be able to continue The Vampire Diaries series myself, there’s no point in not trying the new books. (And remember, for fans of Bonnie and Damon, and strict Stefan and Elena fans, the immediate dynamics may be more to your liking.) Besides which, Midnight, which is all mine, is coming out in March, and I believe there may be some of my writing in Phantom.

Thanks again to all the fans who have shown loving and loyal kindness to me.

If you, like me, are scratching your head, wondering why on earth publisher HarperCollins would fire a New York Times bestselling author from writing a New York Times bestselling series, Adam Whitehead, writer for The Wert Zone, explains:

The Vampire Diaries is unusual in that the series premise was (apparently, going by fan comments in this SpoilerTV link ) conceived by the publisher and given to Smith as a work-for-hire project. Whilst Smith conceived of the characters, the world, the rules and so forth, HarperCollins owned the project and its copyright in their entirety. Apparently, during the recent books Smith was moving away from the character interrelationships which HarperCollins considered the core of the series. Smith has thus been replaced.

The Vampire Diaries TV series is apparently unaffected by the news.

Oddly, the news comes on the same day that The CW has officially commissioned a pilot based on another work of Smith’s, The Secret Circle trilogy.

This is an odd situation. The first Vampire Diaries book was published twenty years ago, so the relationship between author and publisher goes back some time. Thanks to Smith’s work, the series became a bestseller and has spawned a hugely successful TV series. It’s unusual for a publisher to exercise this kind of power, though it’s also unusual for them to have it in the first place: in most cases the author retains copyright on their series, so this kind of move would be impossible to pull with most authors. Interesting to see if more information comes to light.

As to who will be completing the series, the only news now is that it will be completed, by another author who has yet to be named.

[via The Wertzone]
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