When I was younger, I used to adore LJ Smith. My dear friend Steph, who passed away three years ago this month, introduced me to her Nightworld series, and I quickly devoured them. Afterwards she introduced me to The Secret Circle, which was also finished quickly, and The Vampire Diaries, which I was less thrilled about, but still enjoyed.
In the late '90s, LJ Smith stopped writing due to personal reasons.
My friend and I were devastated; what would happen to our favorite characters?!? How dare she leave us hanging! We were forced to reread and reread our books over and over and over again until the spines became creased and they started to fall apart.
But with the popularity of Twilight came a new hope. LJ Smith started to write again, and began to add more novels to her Vampire Diaries series. While I still wasn't thrilled with them (I was WAY more into Nightworld... I was totally obsessed with a secondary character who only shows up in two chapters in one book... I was a weird kid...) they were fun to read.
And then LJ Smith got fired from her own series.
I was shocked, as were many of her fans. It turned out that she had never owned the series to begin with - she had been hired, as a young writer, by this publishing company to create an Interview With the Vampire series for teenagers. They owned the copyright, the characters, everything she had come up with, and did not agree with the way the story was going. So, they fired her and hired other writers to continue with the series.
How crappy is that?
Last week, though, I stumbled across an interesting article on The Mary Sue, and after checking LJ Smith's website, I learned it was true. Apparently, she is able to continue to her version of the story, which picks up after Midnight, by publishing it as fanfic through Kindle Worlds. (You can read more here.)
While I'm not a big fan of Kindle Worlds (why would you want to buy fanfic when you can go on An Archive of Our Own or Fanfiction.net and read it for free) this is a pretty amazing way to use it - and it took some pretty big cajones for LJ Smith to do! Bravo Ms Smith! Bravo!