Message From The Author

Richelle Mead

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy

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Author's Message

Rules of Threes

With the release of Iron Crowned fast approaching, I’ve made a lot of jokes to nervous readers that they had better brace themselves for this one. Iron Crowned is the third book in my Dark Swan series. I also write two other series, Georgina Kincaid and Vampire Academy, and the third books in each of those (Succubus Dreams and Shadow Kiss, respectively) are notorious for their shocking, cliffhanger endings. Two years after those books came out, I still get constant email from people telling me how they cried and wanted to tear their books apart. (Fortunately, those people also still wanted to keep reading and find out what happened).

So what does this mean for Eugenie and the cast of Iron Crowned? Are there more tears in store? I can’t give away the details, but the ending is BIG. When I began planning out all of my series, I never had any vendetta against the number three. I also didn’t consciously think, “Okay, let’s make sure the third book is a heavy hitter each time.” It keeps happening because for me, there’s a certain pacing that’s required when you’re telling an epic story—and that middle point is key.

I don’t believe in formulas. But, I do believe there are moments when certain events are going to have the greatest impact. You could devastate a character’s world in the first book, and while that would still make for exciting reading, it’s not going to have the same effect that it will later in the series. Readers need time to get to know characters, to go with them through some ups and downs, and to see how characters triumph over problems. The first book or two in a series helps establish that.

It’s also important to me that series not fall into the sitcom trip, where at the end of every book, good always triumphs and the status quo resumes. That’s okay early on, but at some point, I feel a good story is going to turn readers on their heads and leave characters with a catastrophe that seems insurmountable. Whether it is or not remains to be seen, but it raises the stakes when you’re reading and you really don’t know “if she’s going to get out of this one.”

It sounds a little cruel to be thinking in these terms, about what can cause the greatest impact and get my readers’ hearts pounding. But, here’s the truth: I love it as a reader too. My very favorite series are those that break the rules and pull the rug out from under me partway through. I love falling in love falling in love with characters early on and then biting my nails to watch them overcome the impossible. My philosophy as an author has always been to write what I like to read, so I hope that plan delivers as readers get ready for Eugenie’s third installment!

- Richelle Mead

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