'Vampire Academy' Author Richelle Mead Helps Her 'Dark Swan' Get The Comic Treatment

As fans of Richelle Mead's "Vampire Academy" series count down the weeks until the August 23 release of spin-off novel "Bloodlines," we've had plenty of other Richelle goodies to tide us over.

In addition to her wildly popular stories of vampire royalty and bodyguards-in-training, she's written two series for adults: the "Succubus" books about a very reluctant employee of hell who would rather be a regular girl managing a bookstore; and her "Dark Swan" novels, about freelance shaman Eugenie Markham, whose job banishing demons and spirits from our world leads her to a dark secret about her own relationship with the fairy world. The first "Dark Swan" book, "Storm Born" is being adapted into comic book form, and right after the release of the first issue last week, she got on the phone to chat with Hollywood Crush. (Come back next week for news on "Bloodlines" and the "Vampire Academy" movie.)

(Click on the image above to see our entire "Dark Swan" flipbook!)

"Before they even started scripting and drawing for the whole story, they were sending preliminary sketches, asking, 'Does this look right for the character?'" Richelle said of the collaboration for Sea Lion Books. "So we were able to make sure they came out as close as possible from my head, which isn't ever entirely possible."

And for the uninitiated, the images that come out of Richelle's head aren't your run-of-the-mill fantasy stories—there's plenty of humor and sex in the mix, as Eugenie battles otherworldly creatures, and not much has been cut or sanitized for the comic book readers. Issue 1 starts off with the shaman banishing a spirit from a sneaker and ends with her wild encounter with a handsome stranger from out of town.

When we first saw the cover of "Storm Born," we couldn't help but notice Eugenie's resemblance to the petite, redhead author.

"Everyone thinks every character looks like me!" she protested. "My mother still swears that the person on the front of 'Succubus Blues' is me, which is a little disheartening from your own mother. She's a redhead, so you can make that jump with Eugenie. I think I've got her image as my icon for Google because I thought [it was] cool. But then if you look at it, you see that picture and then next to it 'Richelle Mead,' and I thought, 'Oh god, it looks like I've put this cartoon image of myself.' But that wasn't my intent!"

While Richelle's writing style is usually quite descriptive, the artists have some room for creativity too, particularly when it comes to drawing the Other World's monsters and varied landscape.

"They've started scripting the third volume now, which is where Eugenie goes to the Other World," she said. "It's all these different lands that fold in on themselves, and they're always in different seasons. I kind of have an image of that in my head and then to see their notes in the script as they try to capture that in art has been really fascinating. It is visualized in a way that I hadn't quite imagined."

Richelle just received her first advance copy of the graphic novel adaptation of "Vampire Academy," which is also due out from Penguin on August 23. "They made no significant subtractions or additions, just the necessary modifications," she assured "VA" diehards. "That's gonna be another just really beautiful work."

Are you going to pick up a copy of Richelle's "Dark Swan" comic?