Credit: The CW Network Photo: Adam and Cassie Make Some Magic in Secret Circle Season 1, Episode 1

We love how much Kevin Williamson loves L.J. Smith. He made the crowd giggle at the TCA Summer Press Tour when he referred to the author's signature blend of love, murder, deceit, and betrayal as his “happy place,” and we're more than excited to see him return to that place in the new series The Secret Circle. We chatted him up during the tour to find out what exactly that little something something is that makes L.J's books into such addictive TV.

“It's all about the past and how it informs the future,” he tells us. “And to me, if your past informs the future, and you have to dig up your past so you can have [a future], then your present is full of confrontations.” Just like The Vampire Diaries, The Secret Circle will draw a lot of its drama from its mysterious back story — but at the end of the day, it's also a coming of age tale. “[L.J. Smith] writes about these young characters wrestling with who they are,” says the former Dawson's Creek producer, who is no stranger to small-screen teen angst. “And it's always about family, friendships, betrayal, deceit — all of these themes are spinning around them.”

What kind of more down-to-earth dilemmas can we expect in the first season? “We find out in the pilot that there was a big event in the past where a lot of the parents were murdered, and so you have this circle of kids who are broken.” Kevin explains. “They're missing a parent, or two parents. And they're awakening their powers, but they're also these fragile, broken characters.”

But it's not all doom and gloom for our little witches — even though the ability to blow up a car with your mind may complicate those already heady teenage years. “They come together to form a circle for a greater good,” Kevin says, “but in the process, they may be able to fix themselves.”