Spirit Bound by Richelle Mead

The set-up: After Rose failed to kill her ex-lover, Dimitri, who turned Strigoi (evil vampire) in a previous book, Dimitri sends her creepy-stalker death threat messages. Meanwhile, Rose graduates from the Vampire Academy and goes to the Moroi (nice friendly vampire) Court. From there, everything falls apart. Not the plot, really, although the thread of it winds around, but Rose’s life and handle on the world.


Main character’s goals: Rose wants to change Dimitri back from his evil vampire state (think Buffy wanting to save Angel), but failing that, she is determined to kill him (think Buffy wanting to stake Angel).

My reaction: BIG SPOILER HERE, BUT IT ISN’T REALLY A SPOILER BECAUSE THE BOOK DOESN’T EVEN HAVE AN ENDING….Please please please can we just have a beginning, middle, and end in a YA fantasy anymore? Please? I thought this was the last book. Imagine my surprise when instead of a happy ending we are left with Rose about to go to trial for murdering an important Moroi vampire. Imagine the swear words that poured from my mouth in a very un-mommy-like stream. Mmmkay, spoiler over.

Of interest to writers: You CAN write a sequel-begetting ending without cliffhangers. I have seen it done before and done well. Try Birthmarked by Caragh O’Brien, for one of my favorite examples, or The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan, which I have reviewed here and here, respectively.

Bottom Line: I love Rose Hathaway. She’s tough and gutsy and not afraid to call the Moroi queen a “sanctimonious bitch.” Bella Swan would pee her pants even thinking about doing that.

Second Bottom Line: I have had it with YA fantasies not ending. I am now all about the contemporary fiction. Well, after I read the last in the Vampire Academy series.

NiFtY Author: Elizabeth Kolodziej

Gods, witches, werewolves, and…vampires! Timed just right for Halloween weekend, I give you a NiFtY Interview with Elizabeth Kolodziej, author of Vampyre Kisses.

BH: What’s your one-paragraph pitch for your novel, Vampyre Kisses?

EK: Vampyre Kisses is an enthralling story about a young woman, Faith, who meets a 400-year-old vampire named Trent. It isn’t long before Faith learns that she herself is a witch with a long family history. After finding out that Trent is a vampire along with being a terrific kisser he helps her find a way to take control of her powers. Soon powerful gems are stolen from the werewolf royalty and vampire master and they must be found. The reader will take a journey through a new kind of universe that is full of gods, vampires, witches and werewolves.

BH: Tell us a little about your path to publication.

EK: Well, I did try to go the traditional route, but I didn’t have any agents that wanted to take my story on. After awhile I decided to self publish my book. I truly believe that the book is great and with good marketing on my part I can get a wide range of people interested in it. I have readers all over the USA along with readers in the UK, Spain, and India. But I would warn anyone thinking of self-publishing that it is not easy. It takes you putting in your own money, lots of time, and being very open minded to do well.

BH: Okay, your bio saying that you’re a “young fiction writer” begs the rather rude question: how old are you? “Young” could be twelve or eighty-five, depending on perspective.

EK: hehe. I haven’t gotten this question yet! To be honest, I am a little over 90. Haha. J/K. Actually I am 25, which is young. I don’t care what anyone says!

BH: How long have you been writing fiction?

EK: I don’t remember the exact age I began, but I have been writing since I was around 8. I would read books on whales and then write research papers on them. I did this for fun; yes I was a nerd and still am. I wrote a few short stories when I was around 10 that were fiction. When I was 13 I began my first book but I never completed it though I was pretty much at the end of it.

I have always been the imaginative type though. I like to make up fantasies in my head. It actually really helps my writing because I can see the character in my head and the gestures that they make.

BH: I read on your website that Vampyre Kisses is the first in a planned series. How many books do you have planned? Have you outlined them all, or do you have a more general vision of the series?

EK: Right now I am almost half way through the second book. It is going to be called something like Lupine Secrets or Lupine Seductions. I haven’t decided yet. This book is outlines. For the third book I have an idea of what I want to do but nothing on paper yet. I think I could get a good five books or more out of this series. I have many ideas going on in my head when it comes to these characters.

BH: Faith is described as a girl who is mostly content but craves excitement. What sets her apart from the average young woman?

EK: Faith is a young adult in her early twenties and truthfully, I wanted Faith to be not average but just a regular person with a working job and dreams. When she finds out that she is a witch is when she starts having to learn and grow up quickly. What may make her unique is how she easily embraces the supernatural world she is thrust into. I find that it is easy for her because a part of her as been searching for where she belongs, for her witch side to be let out. I really hope that is apparent to readers in the book.

BH: The model wearing the Vampyre Kisses T-Shirt on your website is obviously not you. Any clues to the mystery man’s identity?

EK: I guess I can let that cat out of the bag. The mystery man is my muse. He is the one who would comfort me during my most depressing writers block and help me by letting me bounce ideas off of him. My number one cheerleader and someone who without, this book might not be written the way that is.

BH: What is your favorite book on the craft of writing?

EK: I would say one of my favs is the book, Book in a Month by Victoria Lynn Schmidt. I am very big on organization and this book offered me this. That book or The Art of War for Writers by James Scott Bell. I think that book is just fantastic in what it can teach you with such few words.

BH: What is the best writing advice anyone has given you?

EK: The best advice I ever got was from my professors at George Mason University who told me that to write a good book one must read many books, even the ones you don’t think you’ll like. This proved to be very correct. Even reading Milton’s Paradise Lost, which was the most difficult thing ever, really showed me other ways to make descriptions and connect with my own characters.

BH: Thank you, Elizabeth, for answering my questions and sharing your book, as well as your thoughts on the writing life!

Want more? You can visit Elizabeth on her website, as well as Facebook and Twitter (see below)…and if you’d like some vampire along with your Halloween, websites where you can purchase Vampyre Kisses are listed below as well.

Publisher’s Website: http://bit.ly/9aYtXo

Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/dpJsLC

Amazon: http://amzn.to/byci6O

Kindle: http://amzn.to/bMzSKN