An Author who Promises…and Delivers

The_golden_lilyWhen one of my friends introduced me to Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy series, I didn’t expect to fall in love with it. I thought that at best, it’d be a light-hearted read, something to amuse me on my commute to work. But I love her characters and the situations she gets them into. Even more, I love that she hints at the worst possible thing that could happen to her characters — and then makes it happen.

It’s hard to give examples without giving away major plot developments, so you’re just going to have to trust me on this one. It took me about two weeks longer than normal to read Shadow Kiss because I knew — I knew — that she was going to do a specific terrible thing to my favorite character. (Spoiler Alert: she did.)

She doesn’t hold back on putting her characters through the worst conflict imaginable. And just when you think it can’t get worse…it does. They hit rock bottom and then keep falling. Or, just when you think your favorite characters have escaped and will get a chance to live happily ever after, Richelle Mead pulls the rug out from under everyone. (That’s what happened at the end of the Bloodlines book I just finished.)

Now, think back to some other authors you’ve read recently. They always threaten to put your favorite characters through the mill — but they don’t, do they? Someone always manages to save them, or things work out anyway. After a while, you don’t take the author’s threats seriously, because you know they’ll just wave their hand and fix everyone’s problems at the end of the book.

Richelle Mead doesn’t do that. And it’s amazing.

I’m in awe of her ability. I hope I’ll be able to do the same thing in my series one day.

I can only hope you, dear reader, are as excited as I am!


Jennifer A. Johnson is a newly published fantasy writer thanks to The Adventure of Creation anthology. She's still revising her first novel, but you can sign up for her free newsletter to pass the time.

At Least Stab Me in the Front

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I love a good betrayal. It’s so…delicious.

Done right, it’s a shocking revelation. The heroes are devastated by their misplaced trust. The villain becomes bigger, badder, stronger. And everything changes.

A perfect example: Peter Pettigrew. (Yes, this is Harry Potter, I cite Harry Potter a lot.)

He turns over his best friends to Voldemort. People he grew up with, shared secrets with, got into trouble with. He sent them and their son to their deaths, because his master was the baddest kid on the playground. Even better, he framed his other best friend for that betrayal.

Well played, you rat. Well played.

Another good example is from Tangled, when Rapunzel realizes Mother Gothel kidnapped her.

She’s spent eighteen years living a lie. She thought her mother loved her, wanted to protect her from people who would use her magical healing hair — never knowing that’s exactly what her “mother” was doing. Worse, she is willing to keep up the charade to save the man she loves. That’s sacrifice right there (but that’s another theme for another post).

Luckily, I haven’t suffered any heart-wrenching betrayals yet. I hope I never have to. Little betrayals are hard enough — when you think someone will stick up for you, but throws you under the bus; when you thought you were friends with people but actually weren’t; or when you trust someone and they just plain let you down.

How do you feel about betrayals? Love them? Hate them? Wish they would turn themselves in for a reward?


Jennifer A. Johnson is a newly published fantasy writer thanks to The Adventure of Creation anthology. She's still revising her first novel, but you can sign up for her free newsletter to pass the time.