L. J. Smith
L. J. Smith
  • 4 September 1965
  • Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Full Name

Lisa Jane Smith






1987 - present


Young Adult, Horror, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Romance

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L. J. Smith (Lisa Jane Smith) is the author of a number of best-selling books and series, and her writing has spawned two television series and has been translated into over thirty-five languages.

She lives in the Bay Area of northern California, USA, but she gets her best ideas watching deer in the backyard of a small cabin in Inverness or walking on the rocky beaches that surround that area. She enjoys movies and music, and often listens to her favorite songs as she writes.

She loves to hear from readers at, and to hold book-related contests on her website, She reads all her email and Guestbook entries and even answers whenever she can.

Early LifeEdit

Smith is secretive about her age, but multiple sources list her birthdate as September 4, 1958 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She was raised in Anaheim, California, where she attended Juliette Low Elementary School and Serrano Elementary, followed by Cerro Villa Junior High School and Villa Park High School.

Before going to college, she moved to Goring-on-Thames, United Kingdom. She attended Mills College for one year, then the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she graduated with degrees in English and Physiological Psychology.

At the University of San Francisco she obtained a Masters Degree in Education and Regular and Special Education. Smith began her career as an elementary school teacher, but left after 3 years to pursue writing.


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", and she began writing in earnest in elementary school.

Her first book, The Night of the Solstice, written during high school and college, 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, an adult book she was writing.

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

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. 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. 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.

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. Subsequent Vampire Diaries installments have also been ghostwritten. She was also replaced on The Secret Circle series, by ghostwriter Aubrey Clark.



The Vampire DiariesEdit

Original SeriesEdit

The Return SeriesEdit

Short StoriesEdit

The Secret CircleEdit

The Forbidden GameEdit

Dark VisionsEdit

Night WorldEdit

In 2008, the nine books were reprinted into three omnibus volume, with the preview of Strange Fate at the third omnibus.

Short StoriesEdit

Upcoming NovelsEdit


  • Due to undisclosed reasons, L. J. Smith was fired from Alloy Entertainment Inc. and will no longer write The Vampire Diaries and The Secret Circle, which is now in the hands of an anonymous ghostwriter.

External LinksEdit