I am beyond thrilled to be hosting L.J. Smith today for Harper Collins 28 Days of Winter Escapes in promotion of her new book The Vampire Diaries: The Return:Shadow Souls This is pretty much a dream come true for me since L.J. Smith's books have meant so much to me and my life as a reader. Please be sure to visit the official 28 Day Giveaway site to learn how you can win a copy of the book! I now give you L.J. Smith!
- Elena and Stefan have an undeniable bond. What, in your mind, is the biggest clue that you’re in love with someone?
Hmm, I think that it would differ with different people—and especially with a selfish lover versus a giving lover. For instance, Damon is also in love with Elena, but he doesn’t typically make sacrifices to please her. He’s a selfish lover—but in the new Vampire Diaries books he will learn a thing or two. Stefan is a giving lover, and he already knows that being able to make sacrifices (from what to do on a winter afternoon to putting his life on the line) is the biggest clue that he’s truly in love with Elena. He’d even let her hold the TV remote . . . if he had a TV.
- Stefan and Damon are always in competition for Elena’s love, among other things . . . is it possible that the brothers will ever get over their rivalry?
Well, that happens to be the very focus of the new trilogy. In Shadow Souls and Midnight the brothers are forced to work together—or at least on the same side. But while Stefan would probably try anything for Elena, Damon is more like a half-tamed panther relentlessly stalking her every move. The question each day is: Will the good, helpful Damon come out or will the wicked, wild Damon emerge? So it really depends on Damon—who’s not very dependable.
- Which brother, Stefan or Damon, would you rather go on a date with?
If I get to be Elena, or even Bonnie, I would want to go out with Damon. I’d probably be scared half out of my mind—but I’d have a wickedly spectacular time and it would be an experience to remember. Unfortunately, I don’t think Damon would date any other female as much as dine on her. In that case, of course I’d go with Stefan. His gentlemanly manners would keep him from revealing that he was thinking about Elena the whole time.
- What gift do you think Stefan would give to Elena on Valentine’s Day?
Ah, there is a little story about this that I am going to post on the Internet—or perhaps gather together with other little stories that had to be cut from the books. Therefore, I know exactly what Stefan gave to Elena for Valentine’s Day—although he has never spent a day in February with her. So I’m afraid I can’t reveal everything about it yet, but clever readers will realize that in Shadow Souls Elena has a gift from Stefan that we never actually see him give her. A gift that she values more than even her diary! There has to be a story behind that.
- Would you rather receive flowers and chocolates or a handwritten card and photograph from a special someone on Valentine’s Day?
I want all of them! And where is the perfume and diamonds? (That’s my inner Elena being greedy.) But although it’s hard to give up the flowers—I love flowers!—I would deeply appreciate a handmade card and photograph. Of course, of all the guys Elena has dated, only Stefan would be likely to make her a card. He might well have been a skilled artist and he would certainly have more patience than Damon.
- How do you beat the cold nights of winter?
Some people might think that this is a silly question, when the “cold” nights of Southern California in winter only dip into the 50s on a bad day. But I live in Northern California, where we have actual seasons, and it gets cold enough to leave frost on the lawn at night. I beat those chilly nights with a snuggly down robe, a crackling fire, and a big cup of steaming chai tea. (You can’t live in the Bay Area and not love chai tea.)
- What would your suggested destination be for a romantic vacation with a vampire boyfriend?
Ohh . . . it would have to be incredibly beautiful—and I wouldn’t want any other people around. A château in France, a castle in Italy . . . fortunately my vampire boyfriend could afford things like that (vampires tend to live a long time and get very rich). But let’s not be mercenary. What about a simple yacht and a deserted island of our own where we could toast each other with Black Magic wine and then nibble on . . . well, I’m sure we’d think of something.
- What book are you looking forward to reading this winter?
Very unromantically, I am just starting The Brain That Changes Itself, about neuropsychology, and a book about the materials and methods employed by the U.S. Secret Service. But I am also “reading” my own mind’s writing, which includes new books in the Vampire Diaries and Night World series, and a few books so new I barely have titles for them, like The Moonbride and Brionwy’s Lullabie.
- Do you believe in soul mates?
Of course I do! While I’m not quite sure that there is only one person in the world who is your soul mate, and while I don’t think that if your true love dies you will never find love again, I do think that people can fall in love very deeply and that that love can last a lifetime. If that doesn’t describe a soul mate, what does?
- Do you have a favorite quote about love to share?
Oh, many! But I like this simple beginning to “Vivien’s Song,” by Alfred, Lord Tennyson:
In Love, if Love be Love, if Love be ours,
Faith and unfaith can ne'er be equal powers:
Unfaith in aught is want of faith in all.
Of course, this is Vivien singing and Vivien is the one who lured Merlin into a hollow tree and trapped him there in the story of King Arthur. I can just imagine Damon using the same sort of “logic” to try to trap Elena into doing something she’d regret.
I do have an alternate, if that isn’t quite the mood you had in mind. I have always loved the final words at the death of Jean Valjean in the play Les Misérables:
And remember the words that once were spoken:
To love another person is to see the face of God . . .
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