For those who love to delve into the world of fanfic as either a writer or a reader, you should check out Kindle Worlds. It is an exciting platform from which fanfic authors can submit original works for publication. Amazon Publishing secured licenses for several popular shows including Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars and The Vampire Diaries, just to name a few. Writers can submit novels, novellas and short stories inspired by the Worlds that are licensed. Don’t see a world you are interested in? Not to worry because Amazon Publishing is in the process of securing more licenses to expand their worlds.
I mention all of this because we sat down to talk with Alicia Dean, a launch author for Kindle Worlds. An established author with quite a repertoire in the genre of paranormal and suspense, Dean shares with us what it is like to create stories for characters and a world that someone else built.
You wrote books for both Vampire Diaries and Gossip Girl. Were you familiar with these shows before you started the project? If not, how much “research” did you do to familiarize yourself with them?
Alicia: I was very familiar, or perhaps obsessed is a more apt description. I didn’t really have to do research, but I spent a LOT of hours in front of my TV with my laptop, rewatching Vampire Diaries and Gossip Girl episodes.
Both of these properties were books, then TV shows. So are your novels based on the TV show or the books or both? (I’ve been confused about this concept from the beginning.)
Alicia: Mine are based on the shows. I think most, if not all, of the Vampire Diaries and Gossip Girl stories are based on the show. The agreement is with Alloy Entertainment, so I would assume that would be the case.
Alicia: It’s different in many ways. For one, my original novels are created out of my imagination, while these were created out of someone else’s. In many ways, it was easier for me, because the world and characters were already established. In original novels, I have to build characters and setting from the ground up. In some ways it was more difficult, because I wanted to stay true to the show and characters that I loved so much, yet, I wanted to make it my own. I had to work within the frame of what the show had already done, or at least, that was what I wanted to do. So, I had to work hard to get my facts straight and in some areas, I failed. I was concerned about being able to find a voice for these stories and to truly capture the characters. Hopefully, I did a suitable job of that.
They gave us free reign to go wherever we wanted with the stories, as long as we followed the guidelines, which were mainly to do with sexual heat levels and offensive language. I didn’t want to stray too far from the concept of the TV show, so I picked up where the last episode I’d watched left off and went my own direction with the plot.
Are Kindle Worlds books fan fiction?
Alicia: To me, the Kindle Worlds stories are more tie-in novels because they are being done with approval from Alloy Entertainment. The fact that they can be published is a big difference from fan fiction. Fan fiction is more of a community of people who share chunks of stories on web sites, stories that seem to be created out of the fantasies of the fans for the most part. Kindle Worlds stories are actually ebooks. The launch authors were approached based on the fact that they were established authors rather than that they wrote fan fiction. And, of course, fan fiction is free.
Alicia: My books have done well, but have not by any means sold millions. From what I can gather, some of the authors like JR Ward are seeing tremendous sales.
What’s next on your list, either for Kindle Worlds or otherwise?
Alicia: I am working on two short stories simultaneously, one is set in the 20’s and one in the 50’s. I have started a sequel to the Gossip Girl story “We All Fall Down”, but haven’t completed it yet. I plan to complete that soon, and I plan to write a third story, a sequel to my Vampire Diaries Kindle Worlds stories.
Time for you favorite fannish encounters.
Alicia: The best interactions were this past November in Atlanta. Nathaniel Buzolic, Kol in TVD, when he gave his talk, said that he was lonely, that he needed a girlfriend, and that Kol was lonely too. I was getting his autograph, and I had him sign my card. He asked what the deal was on the cards and I told him I’d written two Vampire Diaries stories and that I resurrected Kol and gave him a love interest. He laughed and asked who, and I told him. He was very friendly and adorable.
I also had Ian Somerhalder sign my postcard and I didn’t think he’d even pay attention to what he was signing, but he said, “Hey, what’s this?” and I told him I’d written Vampire Diaries stories for Kindle Worlds. He smiled and said, “Really? That’s cool.” And I said, “Yes, and I made Damon bad again. I miss Bad Damon.” He laughed and winked and said, “I miss him too.”
Ready to read? You’ll find all of Alicia Dean’s books on Amazon.