L. J. Smith (author)

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L. J. Smith
BornLisa Jane Smith
September 4[1]
Orange County, California, U.S.
Pen nameL. J. Smith
EducationUniversity of California, Santa Barbara (B.A. 1987)
San Francisco State University
GenresYoung adult, horror, science fiction, fantasy, romance
Notable worksThe Vampire Diaries
The Secret Circle
Night World

Lisa Jane Smith is an American author of young adult fiction best known for her best-selling series The Vampire Diaries, which has been turned into a successful television show. Her books, particularly The Vampire Diaries and Night World, have been in the New York Times Best Seller list and have been nominated for five awards.

Early life and education[edit]

Smith was born in Orange County, California.[2] Her reported date of birth varies, with sources noting as early as 1958 or 1959 or as late as 1965.[2][3] As a child, she grew up in Villa Park, California and attended Villa Park High School.[3] It was here that her high school English teacher, Zoe Gibbs, gave Smith the confidence to write.[3]

Smith studied experimental psychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara.[2][4] She later attended San Francisco State University to obtain teaching credentials.[4]


Smith began her career as an elementary school teacher,[5] but left in 1989 after three years to pursue writing.[3][6]

Smith has said that she realized she wanted to be a writer sometime between kindergarten and first grade, "when a teacher praised a horrible poem I'd written",[7] and she began writing in earnest in elementary school.[8]

Her first book, The Night of the Solstice, written during high school and college,[9] was published by MacMillan in 1987, followed by Heart of Valor in 1990. They sold poorly, as they were labeled for 9 to 11-year-olds and not for young adults, as Smith wanted.

The Vampire Diaries series was commissioned by Elise Donner, editor of Alloy Entertainment in 1990: Smith immediately wrote the scene when Elena, Bonnie and Meredith are decorating the gym and the heroine meets Damon (scene later included in the first novel), while, as for the other characters, she adapted those of The Garden of Earthly Delights,[5] an adult book she was writing. She chose the setting of The Vampire Diaries in Virginia because she has family there and was inspired by the small towns and lifestyles.[10]

Three trilogies followed: The Secret Circle (1992), The Forbidden Game (1994) and Dark Visions (1995). The first installment of Night World series was published in 1996, followed by eight more over the next two years.[11]

In 1998, Smith began a decade-long hiatus from writing, returning in 2008 with a new website and a series of new short stories. The Vampire Diaries series was reissued in 2007, followed by reprintings of The Secret Circle trilogy and Night World series in 2008–2009.[12] The Night of the Solstice and Heart of Valor were also reissued in 2008. Three new Vampire Diaries installments were published in 2009 and 2010.[13] The series was later adapted into a TV series (The Vampire Diaries) in 2009, as well as The Secret Circle, which became a TV series of the same name in 2011.[14]

The final volume of The Vampire Diaries written entirely by Smith (The Return: Midnight) was released in March 2011. Smith submitted a draft of the next installment (The Hunters: Phantom), but after a dispute regarding a pivotal plot twist, her involvement was terminated by the publisher and the episode was revised by a ghostwriter.[15][16] Subsequent Vampire Diaries installments have also been ghostwritten. She was also replaced on The Secret Circle series, by ghostwriter Aubrey Clark.[17][18][19]

Personal life[edit]

Smith previously resided in Concord, California in 1991 and still resides in Northern California with her dog.[3][20] In 1998, Smith took a decade-long hiatus from writing to take care of her sister's children when her brother-in-law was diagnosed with metastatic melanoma.[20] During this time, her mother died from lung cancer.[20] In late 2015, Smith almost died from an undiagnosed granulomatosis with polyangiitis that kept her hospitalized for two months and on a ventilator for weeks: she suffered severe damage to her kidneys, heart, liver and gallbladder.[21]


Night World Series[edit]

  1. Secret Vampire (1996) ISBN 0-340-69994-9
  2. Daughters of Darkness (1996) ISBN 0-340-68982-X
  3. Spellbinder (1996) ISBN 978-0-671-55135-3 (called Enchantress in the UK and Australia versions)
  4. Dark Angel (1996) ISBN 0-671-55136-1
  5. The Chosen (1997) ISBN 0-340-69003-8
  6. Soulmate (1997) ISBN 0-340-69004-6
  7. Huntress (1997) ISBN 0-340-70953-7
  8. Black Dawn (1997) ISBN 0-340-70954-5
  9. Witchlight (1998) ISBN 0-340-70955-3
  10. Strange Fate (TBA)


Short stories[edit]

Published on Lisa Jane Smith official website.

  • Thicker Than Water – Featuring Keller, Rashel, Galen and Quinn
  • Ash and Mary-Lynnette: Those Who Favor Fire
  • Jez and Morgead's Night Out

The Vampire Diaries Universe[edit]

The Vampire Diaries Series[edit]

  1. The Awakening: Volume I (1991) ISBN 978-1-4449-0071-2
  2. The Struggle: Volume II (1991) ISBN 978-0-06-199076-2
  3. The Fury: Volume III (1991) ISBN 978-0-06-199077-9
  4. Dark Reunion: Volume IV (1992) ISBN 0-06-105992-7 (The Reunion in the UK and Australia version)

The Vampire Diaries: The Return Trilogy[edit]

  1. The Return: Nightfall (2009) ISBN 9780061720802
  2. The Return: Shadow Souls (2010) ISBN 978-0-06-172083-3
  3. The Return: Midnight (2011) ISBN 978-0-06-172085-7

The Vampire Diaries: The Hunters Trilogy[edit]

  1. The Hunters: Phantom (2011) (Written by a ghostwriter)
  2. The Hunters: Moonsong (2012) (Written by a ghostwriter)
  3. The Hunters: Destiny Rising (2012) (Written by a ghostwriter)

The Vampire Diaries: The Salvation Trilogy[edit]

  1. The Salvation: Unseen (2013) (Written by Aubrey Clark)
  2. The Salvation: Unspoken (2013) (Written by Aubrey Clark)
  3. The Salvation: Unmasked (2014) (Written by Aubrey Clark)


Short stories[edit]

Published on Lisa Jane Smith's official website.

  • "Matt and Elena – First Date" (2010)
  • "Matt and Elena – Tenth Date: On Wickery Pond" (2010)
  • "Bonnie and Damon: After Hours" (2011)
  • "An Untold Tale: Blood Will Tell" (2010)
  • "An Untold Tale: Elena's Christmas" (2010)

Cuts from The Return: Shadow Souls[edit]

Published on Lisa Jane Smith's official website.

  • Damon and Elena: Tumbleweeds (2011)
  • Dinner Disaster (2010)

The Vampire Diaries: Evensong[edit]

Note: These books were published as fanfiction on Kindle Worlds after Smith's publisher hired other authors to continue the series after The Return: Midnight. They pick up after the ending of said book, and while they do represent the original author's intended continuation, they are not considered official canon to the main Vampire Diaries series due to their status.

  • Paradise Lost (2014)
  • The War of Roses (2014)
  • Into the Wood (TBA)[22]

The Secret Circle Series[edit]

  1. The Initiation (1992) ISBN 978-0-06-106712-9
  2. The Captive (1992) ISBN 978-0-06-106715-0
  3. The Power (1992) ISBN 978-0-06-106719-8
  4. The Divide (2012) ISBN 978-0-06-213039-6 (Written by Aubrey Clark)
  5. The Hunt (2012) ISBN 978-0-06-213042-6 (Written by Aubrey Clark)
  6. The Temptation (2013) (Written by Aubrey Clark)


The Forbidden Game Series[edit]

  1. The Hunter (1994) ISBN 978-0-671-87451-3
  2. The Chase (1994) ISBN 978-0-671-87452-0
  3. The Kill (1994) ISBN 978-0-671-87453-7
  4. Rematch (TBA)


Dark Visions Series[edit]

  1. The Strange Power (1994) ISBN 978-0-671-87454-4
  2. The Possessed (1995) ISBN 978-0-671-87455-1
  3. The Passion (1995) ISBN 978-0-671-87456-8
  4. Blindsight (TBA)


Wildworld Series[edit]

  1. The Night of the Solstice (1987) ISBN 978-1-4169-9840-2
  2. Heart of Valor (1990) ISBN 978-1-4169-9841-9
  3. Mirrors of Heaven (TBA)


  • Eternity: A Vampire Love Story (TBA)
  • The Last Lullaby (TBA)


  1. ^ "Blogs from 2008 - Short and very sweet". September 5, 2008.
  2. ^ a b c Rickman, Amy (2011). "Chapter Five: The Written Word". Blood Brothers. John Blake Publishing Ltd. pp. 25–27. ISBN 9781843584100.
  3. ^ a b c d e McLellan, Dennis (January 3, 1991). "BOOKS & AUTHORS : Children Save World in 'Heart of Valor'". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles. Retrieved March 11, 2016.
  4. ^ a b The Vampire Book: The Encyclopedia of the Undead. Canton, Michigan: Visible Ink Press. 2010. p. 648. ISBN 9781578593484.
  5. ^ a b Laura Pezzino (February 10, 2010). "Twilight? Non conosco (lit.: Twilight? Don't know)". Vanity Fair (in Italian). ... Smith, who is now (February 2010) 51, ...
  6. ^ "An Interview with novelist L.J. Smith". Archived from the original on June 18, 2009. Retrieved May 15, 2009.
  7. ^ L.J. Smith Biography: amazon.com Retrieved 2010-12-23.
  8. ^ Interview with Novelist L.J. Smith: nightworld.net Archived June 18, 2009, at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 2010-12-23.
  9. ^ "Booklist".
  10. ^ "An interview with L. J. Smith". Bookalicious. March 15, 2009. Archived from the original on June 2, 2009.
  11. ^ L.J. Smith Archived January 7, 2010, at the Wayback Machine at the Internet Book List
  12. ^ The L.J. Smith Fanlisting
  13. ^ The Vampire Diaries Blowout: 3 Prequel Novels Coming, Ep. 18 Stills, Ep. 20 Preview
  14. ^ Josef Adalian (October 20, 2010). "Three Buffy/Angel Veterans Dream Up New Female Heroines for The CW". nymag.com. Retrieved May 18, 2011.
  15. ^ Bookalicious (ed.). "Interview with L.J. Smith part deux". Archived from the original on October 26, 2011. Retrieved November 30, 2011.
  16. ^ "L.J. Smith, creator of The Vampire Diaries books, fired". February 5, 2011.
  17. ^ "Cover of The Divide".
  18. ^ "The Secret Circle Sequel". October 3, 2011. Archived from the original on December 3, 2013.
  19. ^ Mark O. Estes (December 31, 2011). "The Secret Circle: New Novel Will NOT Be Written By L.J. Smith!". Archived from the original on January 14, 2012. Retrieved January 12, 2012.
  20. ^ a b c Alter, Alexandra (April 17, 2014). "'Vampire Diaries' Writer Bites Back". The Wall Street Journal. New York City. Retrieved March 11, 2016.
  21. ^ "And Then I Woke Up". December 6, 2015. Archived from the original on December 20, 2015.
  22. ^ "L.J. Smith's New Vampire Diaries Series". January 15, 2014.

External links[edit]