In our last author interview, we got to know a bit more about Erin Balser, one half of the dynamic duo behind Don’t Stop Believin’: The Unofficial Guide to Glee. With this installment we’re touching base with
Crissy Calhoun, author of Spotted: Your One and Only Unofficial Guide to Gossip Girl and the forthcoming Love You to Death: The Unofficial Companion to The Vampire Diaries.
Give us a brief idea of what The Vampire Diaries is all about and sell us on why we should watch it.
The Vampire Diaries is a show about a small town with a rich history and full of vampires. The lead (Nina Dobrev as Elena Gilbert) is probably the most compelling female character since Buffy (!), and the two vampires she keeps company with (Paul Wesley as Stefan Salvatore, Ian Somerhalder as Damon Salvatore) are alternately scary, charming, funny, but always highly watchable. The first few episodes focus more on the romance side of the equation, but when things get going, they just keep racing forward at a breakneck pace.
What other shows do you watch regularly? What are you looking for in a TV show?
Too many shows! Beyond Gossip Girl and The Vampire Diaries, I watch the NBC Thursday night comedies (30 Rock, The Office, Community, and Parks & Rec), Lost, Friday Night Lights, and lately 90210, America’s Next Top Model, Parenthood . . .
Not all of those shows fit my main criterion for a TV show: I have to care deeply for the characters. The residents of Dillon, Texas? Those are real people for the hour that I’m watching Friday Night Lights.
Your first book was a companion to Gossip Girl. Aside from sharing a network and a target demographic, what kinds of connections do you see between the two shows?
The creators of The Vampire Diaries, Kevin Williamson and Julie Plec, like to say that their show is as much about relationships as it is about things that go bump in the night. Just like Gossip Girl, the most important thing is how these characters relate to each other and how they handle what comes their way — whether that’s a tomb full of the undead or a diabolical plan to overthrow the queen bee.
Like Gossip Girl, TVD is based on a series of young adult novels. Which series do you think would be most enjoyable for fans of the show? Like the shows, do they have an appeal beyond their teen target audience?
Personally, I enjoyed the Vampire Diaries novels more than the Gossip Girl books. And as someone who hasn’t been a teen in a while, I would say, yes, most definitely they have an appeal outside the teen demographic. Both TV series veered pretty far away from the novels, so you can read them without being spoiled for the show’s plots.
In Spotted, you examined things like fashion, NYC locations, and movie references. When you turn your keen analytical eye on The Vampire Diaries for Love You to Death, what kinds of things will be following closely?
Actually there are a lot of movie references in The Vampire Diaries so that part of my episode guide will continue on. For this show, it’s more about the mythology — this show’s particular take on the supernatural — and the history of the Mystic Falls, which is so tied in to the events taking place in the present.
You’re a fan of most things vampire and are familiar with Buffy, True Blood, Twilight and The Vampire Diaries. If you had to be turned and live in one of their vamp-infested worlds, which one would it be?
Definitely The Vampire Diaries world. In Buffy, it was a rarity to be a good vampire; in True Blood, vampires die grisly, blood-chunky deaths; and in Twilight, well, I wouldn’t be comfortable dazzling people with my sparkle. And being as hard and cold as stone is just not sexy. In The Vampire Diaries world, I would just have to watch out for vervain, get one of those lapis rings, find Damon, and an eternity of good times would be mine. Plus me and Elena could be besties.
These shows offer a smorgasbord of gorgeous vamps. If you had to select just one immortal companion, who would it be?
I kind of stepped on my answer for this one above — Damon Salvatore. My heart belongs to that vamp.
And let’s do a little mash-up. What about if you had to turn a Gossip Girl character? Is there even a possible choice beyond Chuck Bass?
I couldn’t turn Chuck without turning Blair. They would be the most bad-ass vampire couple since Spike and Drusilla.
Thanks for taking the time to chat, Crissy! Want more of Crissy’s news and views on these stellar shows? Be sure to check out her blog, The Calhoun Tribune.