Joyce Lamb, USA TODAY
Lots of romance authors dream of their books becoming movies. How many have dreamed of them becoming comic books? Richelle Mead’s Dark Swan series is being made into comic books and graphic novels as we speak, starting with book one in the series, Storm Born. Don’t worry, though, she’s not giving up writing novels. She’s here not to talk about how the Dark Swan comics came about, Eighties music, how she likes her coffee and what readers can expect from her next.
Joyce: Welcome to HEA, Richelle! Whose idea was it to do comic books of your Dark Swan urban fantasy series? Or are they more accurately graphic novels?
Richelle: It’s both, actually! Individual comics come out first, and then every four issues, you can get a bound graphic novel of all of them. Adapting the books into this format was always something I’d been interested in. I love this art form, and it’s always fascinating to see how others interpret your work. It all started when I met some of the great staff from Sea Lion at a convention. They later approached me about doing an adaptation of the Dark Swan series, and everything unfolded from there.
How did you go about adjusting a novel-length book to the small blocks of inner dialogue? That must have been tough!
It is tough, and fortunately, I didn’t have to do it! The books were adapted by Grant Alter, who has a really good eye for pulling out the main beats of a story and streamlining key dialogue. It’s great having someone who has those skills, since mine tend to be about making stories longer, not shorter.
A problem that most novelists have, I bet! How closely did you work with the artists on the look of the story? (It looks amazing, by the way!)
I got to be involved every step of the way. They sent every page to me for approval, in both the initial black-and-whites and then the color versions. They were very open to any feedback I had, but really, I didn’t have much to give. Everything was always so wonderful that I didn’t need to make many suggestions.
Any chance of your fans ever getting to see a Vampire Academy, Dark Swan or Bloodlines movie or TV series?
There’s always a chance but nothing in the works right now. I’d certainly love to see a film, and we have feelers out in Hollywood. So far, no studio has jumped on a project. Fingers crossed!
Consider my fingers crossed, too. Your website proclaims that you “think music was perfected in the 1980s.” I agree! Who might be your favorite ’80s songs and bands?
That’s tough. There are a lot of great ones! The Safety Dance and 99 Red Balloons are two of my favorites.
I’d have to go with anything by Howard Jones or Nik Kershaw. I bet we’d have a lot to talk about. : ) As a coffee addict, how do you take your coffee? Strong and sweet? Black and weak? (Readers need to know for when they buy you a cuppa at Starbucks.)
I actually love coffee in most forms, both drip and espresso versions. I do almost always have to put a little dairy and sweetener in it, though. And, of course, I love Starbucks. I live in Seattle, so devotion is mandatory.
What are your favorite reality TV shows? (I’m partial to The Amazing Race and Project Runway.)
I too am a Project Runway fan. I’m also partial to Survivor, Face Off and, to my chagrin, Celebrity Apprentice.
We all have to have our guilty pleasures. The dedication on your upcoming The Golden Lily is to your son, who was born the day you finished writing the book. How did you manage such perfect timing?
It was a total coincidence! I actually finished the book early (by five days, which is rare for me). Maybe my son sensed that I was done with my work and knew he could finally come out.
Please tell us about the Dark Swan comic series and what readers can expect to see from you next.
The Dark Swan comic currently is retelling the first novel in the series, Storm Born. Four issues have come out so far, which are available as individual issues or in a bound graphic novel. There are four more issues to come, which will finish off the book, and I’m really excited. So far, the whole series has been really beautiful.
Is there anything you’d like to add?
People who are fans of the Dark Swan novels will really love the graphic novel adaptation. Even if they’ve never picked up a comic before, they should check this out. The graphic novel adds a whole new dimension to the series that really brings the characters and worlds to life. I originally envisioned the story in my head, but seeing it on the page, in all that color, is amazing even for me!