Chatting Vampire Diaries with LYTD4 Authors Crissy Calhoun & Heather Vee!

As we kick off our official countdown to the Season 5 premiere of The Vampire Diaries, we have a very special treat – an interview with the authors of Love You to Death – Season 4: The Unofficial Companion to The Vampire Diaries, Crissy Calhoun and Heather Vee! So let’s get right into it …

Who would each of you name the Season 4 MVP?

Crissy: Gotta go with Ms. Nina Dobrev. Think of how many variations of Elena she played in Season 4, or even within one episode. Then throw some doppelgänger vs doppelgänger scenes on top of that.

Vee: I would also pick Nina Dobrev, for all the reasons Crissy just mentioned; it really was her season. But I’ll also give shout-outs to Kat Graham and Claire Holt. I thought each of them brought an extra spark to Bonnie and Rebekah, respectively.

Is there a particular Season 4 episode that you think everyone should watch again before the new season begins?

Crissy: Oooh, good question. I think anything with Silas mythology will prove useful. I recently rewatched the last four episodes in prep for Season 5 (from “The Originals” to “Graduation”), and that felt like a good refresher, but I think revisiting Shane’s exposition bombs about Silas would be good. Bonus: Atticus Shane back on your TV.

Vee: Did we mention we have an unhealthy Professor Shane fixation…? Well, everyone should watch “The Originals” again in preparation for the season premiere of the show after The Vampire Diaries on Thursday, October 3. That’s a freebie. In terms of TVD, I’d agree with Crissy that the Silas stuff is going to be important heading into Season 5. I’d say rewatch “The Walking Dead.” I can’t help feeling that there is important info embedded throughout the episode, and it’s fun watching the scene with Bonnie and Silas in the tunnels now knowing Silas’s true face.

Crissy: Agreed! There’s a line in that episode that’s like, “Oh well, now we will NEVER SEE his true face.” And you just know — now that we have seen Silas’s true face — how much fun the writers were having screwing with us. Those rascals!

How exactly is it that you can pack 23 episodes’ worth of content in 250 or so pages of awesome? Is witchcraft involved?

Crissy: The breath of a dying witch, five shirtless beefcakes brandishing swords, some Aramaic carved in for good measure … It’s complicated business, book-writing!

Vee: But we got some awesome tattoos! In all seriousness, the show makes it incredibly easy. Every episode is dense with plot, mythology, character dynamics … I think the challenge — and Crissy really honed my focus, being a hardened veteran and all — is being able to separate the wheat from the chaff and strike that perfect balance between in-depth analysis and a lighthearted touch.

It must be a challenge to keep up with a series that has such a rich life outside of the episodes themselves. How do you keep track of it all, and what keeps you motivated/dedicated?

Crissy: I am sort of terrible at keeping up with stuff outside of the series’ canon. I am spoiler-phobe, so I tend not to read anything until after an episode has aired, and even then it’s tricky. Vee is way better at it.

Vee: Unfortunately, co-running a fansite, I long accepted that spoilers were part of the deal. I used to live for it, and we’d dig up all sorts of insane info back in the early days, but as the site grew, so did attention from entities with trigger-happy lawyers. And, after a while, you start to want your life back, and you realize that your site visitors are loyal, and maybe you don’t need to be up at 3am every night in case someone tweets something vaguely important? I’ve often joked about writing a combination how-to/tell-all about being a fansite owner just because some of the situations you find yourself in are so bizarre.

I actually don’t read many articles leading up to episodes anymore because I find I enjoy the show a lot more when I go in knowing as little as possible. And, as much as I genuinely adore the cast, I’m not interested in following the ins and outs of their personal lives. I love supporting their projects and following them on Twitter, but the “celebrity” part of it all is not something I gravitate towards. It’s not built into my personality.

I’m not sure if there’s one single thing that keeps me motivated/dedicated after nearly five years of this craziness. I know at that adding Abby, Kate, and Holly to the site staff has helped immeasurably (and I love and adore them) and loosened me up a lot in terms of enjoying fandom. Crissy is a big motivator, in and of herself, which she will find hilarious. I’d be lying if I didn’t say there are ups and downs, but I genuinely love the show (even when I’m not particularly enjoying it, as has happened from time to time) and I love analyzing and theorizing, and now The Originals spinoff is blowing in like a breath of fresh air, and — it’s a cycle, you know?

What are you looking forward to most in the upcoming fifth season?

Crissy: Paul Wesley having a good time being bad. Anytime in the past four seasons that Damon, Stefan, or Elena/Katherine are being bad asses, you can just see the actor is having such a ball doing it, and it adds a certain energy to the episodes and to the actors they’re playing opposite, I think. Plus the mystery of Silas and what his new endgame will be now that Katherine took the cure is so full of TVD-goodness possibility.

Vee: Ditto on Paul. I still get chills thinking about those first five episodes of Season 3. But I’d have to say I’m most excited about Katherine. The show has tended to use her sparingly, which I’ve always felt was smart, because she’s such a huge, overwhelming personality and I think that could tend towards caricature if the show isn’t careful. But now that Katherine is human, and vulnerable, I can’t wait to watch her adapt. Mortality or no, Katherine Pierce looks out for number one, and I can’t wait to see how her survival instinct carries her through this newest development.

Special thanks to Crissy and Vee for chatting with us! And be sure to pick up a copy of Love You to Death – Season 4: The Unofficial Companion to The Vampire Diaries from your favorite bookseller!

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