‘Vampire Diaries’ Author L.J. Smith Weighs In On The Series: ‘They’ve Done An Incredible Job Of Interpreting It’

L.J. Smith, author of “The Vampire Diaries,” wasn’t immediately jumping for joy when she heard her novels were being optioned for a TV series.

“I’ve had other things optioned before [that haven’t been made], so my reaction was at first, ’OK, another one of those,’ ” Smith told MTV News. “But then when they said it was by Kevin Williamson, I realized it was probably a little bit more serious.”

Now that the CW series is about to air its third episode tonight at 8 p.m. ET, Smith isn’t holding back any praise, regardless of the changes producers have made to her stories and characters.

“I think they have done an incredible job of interpreting it, especially presenting it for a teen audience,” she said. “I love the music. I love the cinematography, I think the cast is fabulous. I especially like Damon. Ian Somerhalder does very well. But I really, really like the Elena that they picked, Nina Dobrev. Even though she’s brunette, and not blond, which took some getting used to for me because in the book she’s blond, she’s a great actress. And I love the Stefan that they’ve picked.”

So far, her involvement in the small-screen adaptation has been very minimal, and she said there was one plot point that had her worried at first. “One thing I was afraid that I was not going to like in the TV series was, I had heard very early on that they were going to use drugs and things,” Smith said. “But as I’ve seen, Elena has come out really strongly against it. I like strong female characters. I try to write them as role models for young girls. Fortunately that’s a lot more common now than it was 20 years ago when I was beginning these stories.

“It looks like they’re starting off with a very strong Elena, one that’s going to stand up to Damon, which I love,” she added. “The scenes between them are going to be terrific.”

Over the course of five “Vampire Diaries” Elena’s gone through some rather interesting, shall we say (for the spoiler-averse), changes, thanks to her involvement with Damon and Stefan, and we’re dying to know if the TV series will go there too. Unfortunately, Smith is also in the dark about the future of the feisty girl. “I would love it if they do follow the plot that far. … Those are questions that I’d like to know too, or maybe I’ll just watch it and be surprised with everyone else.”

So, does Williamson ask her for advice on what Elena would say or do next? “He doesn’t call me up and say, ’What do we do now?’ I think they have their very definite ideas about their way that they’re doing it, and I have very definite ideas that I have about my way that I’m doing it.”

And though the author, who just finished penning “Shadow Souls,” the second installment of “The Vampire Diaries: The Return” (due out next February), hasn’t been writing the show’s script, her writing process is something we’d kind of love to see on video someday: “It’s embarrassing for an adult to admit this, but if there’s nobody around, then sometimes I put some music on, and I kind of walk around the house, and I sort of act out the parts that I’m doing because I’m so into it. I’m each of the characters in turn, slapping my hand, for Elena slapping Damon. Part of me never grew up.”