Silver Shadows

Silver Shadows, the fifth installment in Richelle Mead’s Bloodlines series hits shelves today. Here, Mead answers some of burning (and spoiler-free) questions about the latest novel in her Vampire Academy spin-off series.

As for all those moments that can’t be discussed about until after you’ve read the book, know this: “There’s definitely a lot of unresolved issues from this book that are going to carry over into The Ruby Circle,” Mead says. “Sydney and Adrian deal with a lot in Silver Shadows, and it’s not the kind of stuff you can just shake off.” Below, watch an exclusive trailer for Silver Shadows.

EW: The fourth book in the Bloodlines series, The Fiery Heart, had a pretty bleak ending. But the first half of Silver Shadows is pretty dark too. Did you worry about fans’ reactions to Sydney’s time in re-education? It’s pretty heavy stuff.

RICHELLE MEAD: Well, I’ve never pulled punches in my series, and I’m not starting now. Hopefully my readers know what they’re getting into when they pick up my books. Certainly there was some pretty dark stuff in the original Vampire Academy series too, so I feel like this is just an extension of that. My hope is that I did justice to the content—making it accessible to readers but still driving home the seriousness and, unfortunately, realistic nature of some of it.

Did you do any special research to come up with the techniques the Alchemists use on Sydney and the others?

I did, actually, and it was some of the most miserable research I’ve done. Some of it is just generic interrogation techniques that I looked up. But some of it is based specifically on the techniques used in “conversion therapy” that’s trying to “cure” homosexuality. The fact that that’s real, that there are humans in the world today who think those are valid methods to try to change a person’s nature is more terrifying to me than any vampire tale.

Was it harder to write from Sydney or Adrian’s point of view this time? They both deal with some pretty serious issues.

They were both equally challenging. What was hardest for me was making each experience dark enough, believe it or not. I was pregnant while writing it, and was much more interested in putting up pastel elephants in my son’s nursery. Having to step away from that to shift into a dark psychological place to write this was definitely a big transition!

Sydney and Adrian take their relationship to the next level in Silver Shadows. Was that always part of the plan?

The big things that happen to my characters are always planned out in advance, so all the “whoa!” moments in this book have been part of the master plan since the first book. It’s the little details and subplots that tend to change along the way.

Will we see more of Nina in the next book?

Nina plays a pretty big part in The Ruby Circle. There’s a subplot that’s been brewing—one I don’t think a lot of readers have paid much attention to. It’s going to come to fruition in a huge way in the last book, and Sydney and Adrian are going to have to deal with it.

Where does The Ruby Circle pick up?

The Ruby Circle picks up about a month after Silver Shadows ends, and things start moving very quickly. Sydney and Adrian jump right into the middle of the action and start trying to unravel all the complications that have risen around them. It’s good stuff.

Where do things stand with your Age of X series? The second book, The Immortal Crown, just came out in May. Is there a third book in the works?

Eventually! I definitely left us on a cliffhanger. I’m not sure when the third book will surface. Right now, I’ve got so many projects, and it all comes down to scheduling. So, we’ll have to wait and see.

Anything else you want to add?

Just that I’m so thrilled the Vampire Academy fans have hung with me through Bloodlines. It’s exciting now to see readers debating which couple they like more—“Sydrian” or “Romitri”! I love them all, and I think readers are going to be super excited to see what happens next to Sydney and Adrian.

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