Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Author Interview: Melissa De La Cruz

Melissa de la Cruz is the author of the bestselling Au Pairs novels for teens and the co-author of the popular adult novel THE FASHIONISTA FILES. She is also a frequent contributor to popular magazines like GLAMOUR, MARIE CLAIRE, TEEN VOGUE and COSMOPOLITAN. Melissa lives in Los Angeles with her husband. THE VAN ALEN LEGACY - the 4th book in her Blue Blood Series is in stores today.

When and why did you begin writing?
I've written stories and poems for as long as I remember, I think maybe in third grade was when I put a chapbook of my poems together, along with drawings, as a gift to my parents. They still quote from it! I've always wanted to be a writer--I think the desire really hit me around seventh grade--which is the age that my readers are who write me and tell me they want to be writers. I just found reading so much more fun than socializing, I would go to parties and bring a book. And I thought: I want to do this too. I began writing professionally when I was 25, that's when my first article was published. I had written a novel when I was 22 that didn't sell, and another one at 23 that didn't sell either, but I had an agent, and an editor who encouraged me to keep at it, the editor advised me to write for magazines so I could make a name for myself and learn how work with deadlines. I sold my first novel at 27.

What inspired you to write your first book?
My first novel is called Cat's Meow and it's an adult novel--inspired by Absolutely Fabulous and PG Wodehouse and Jane Austen, I wanted to write a wicked, funny, fashion satire with a dash of Bridget Jones in it. It was inspired by my experiences as a fashion editor and reporter in New York, and it was a lot of fun to write.

You have written several series, do you write more than one story at a time? If so, how do you keep them separate?
Yes I do. I love to procrastinate, so when I have two books going, I always feel I am not working since I SHOULD be working on the other book. In this way that I trick myself into thinking I am not working, I get a lot of work done. I try not to work on two "dark" books at the same time, I usually work on one fantasy book and one chick lit book so that the atmosphere and the tone of the books are totally different.

I love your twist on vampires in the Blue Blood Series, how did you come up with the idea?
I've always loved stories about tragic rich people, and I'm a big vampire fiction fan. Stephen King and Anne Rice are my favorite writers, so I've always been looking for a way to combine those two influences. I was online one day and stumbled on this website that listed all these prominent and wealthy Americans who traced their ancestry back to the Mayflower, and it wasn't just people like the Roosevelts and the Bushes, but people like Marilyn Monroe and Oprah and Alec Baldwin -- which I found so fascinating. So I thought: what if all these people are famous and rich because...they're vampires?

And I've always loved the story of Paradise Lost, of the angels cast out of heaven and I wanted a real mythology that explained how the vampires came to be, so when I put two and two together, I was really excited about it. I've always wanted to write an end-of-the-world kind of epic in the style of the Dark Tower books.

What’s next for Schuyler in the Blue Blood Series, can you give us a little teaser?
In Van Alen Legacy, Schuyler is running for her life--on the wrong side of the Committee, and falling apart in a lot of ways. I always think of "Revelations" as my "Empire Strikes Back" - you know, the bad guys win... that sort of thing. I know the ending of the book didn't please a lot of readers. And not that Van Alen is "Jedi", but there's a lot of action, a lot of spirit and the story was really fun to write. I was consumed by this novel for six months, I couldn't do anything but think about it. I was just obsessed with it and I'm really happy with how it turned out. There's a lot that's explained and resolved in the novel, but a lot of new mysteries as well.

Out of all of your series, which would you like to see on the big screen?
I think Blue Bloods would be awesome to see on the big screen, or the little screen for that matter. Just to see the action and the drama and the romance played out--that would be really cool.

Do you have any books on the backburner that are waiting to be published?
God how I wish that were the case! But I work on what's due--that's all I have time for -- right now I am working on the next book in the Blue Bloods series, MISGUIDED ANGEL, which will come out in the fall of 2010 and I'm also working on WOLF PACT, the Blue Bloods spinoff, which will debut in spring 2011. They're both dark but in different ways, and the setting of both are so different from each other, so it hasn't been too hard to shift between the two.

What’s your most gratifying moment since becoming an author?
The most gratifying moment is getting that call--the FIRST call--that there's been an offer for my novel. I still remember when that happened--I was a corporate drone then (computer programming) and I had to take the call and excuse myself from this incredibly boring meeting. I was so excited. Afterwards I cried in the bathroom. I was so happy. I had wanted to be published so much, and to finally have it happen--that was awesome. And I knew my days of office life were over. Then the other touchstones are meeting your readers--it's wonderful to meet the people who read and love the books. That is so satisfying. But really, the best part of being a writer is the writing, just being so INTO it, and getting into the story and the characters--it's an escape and a joy. The work is its own reward.

Where do you hope to take your writing in the future?
I have so many new ideas for books and for the series, so just really, setting the bar higher and higher and trying to make it. Just doing what I'm doing now, but doing it better. You can always improve, and I'm my worst critic--I just want to do better and better.

What is the one thing that you would like your fans to know about you?
That I'm really really sorry I can't respond to everyone's emails anymore. I do read them all, but I am so overwhelmed by how many there are, I just look at my in-box and feel paralyzed. It's so wonderful to hear from them and I feel terrible about not having the time to reply to everyone (because I feel it isn't quite fair to respond to some but not to all) , but if I did--I would never have time for my books or my family. The best way to see me is on tour. My publisher is sending me to cities I've never visited before, like Chicago and Wichita and Nashville. And I'm finally going to visit Canada as well! So I hope to meet a lot of you guys this fall!


Thanks Melissa!

For more information on Melissa De La Cruz and her books, please visit her website here.

57 comments:

  1. This is one of my favorite reviews of yours Tina- Fantastic Job!! :) I liked the comparisons to Empire Strikes back and Jedi! Can't WAIT to read Van Alen!

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  2. Thanks so much for the interview! Blue Bloods is one of my favorite vampire series. I can't wait till the Van Alen Legacy comes out!!! :D

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  3. What a wonderful feeling it must be to know that you've touched so many lives with your writing, so I'm going to assume that it's a good kind of paralysis. lol

    Deidre

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  4. I just finished Van Alen minutes ago. I am curious about the two books she is working on, spinoffs? hmmm

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  5. Thanks for this interview!
    I have the Blue Bloods books lined up to read soon.
    Melissa de la Cruz just seems so cute!
    Which is maybe not what she wants to hear?

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  6. Great Interview. She sounds like a down to earth person. I look forward to reading this series.

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  7. great review! getting this book today!

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  8. Awesome interview! I liked the comparisons to Star Wars and it was great to hear info about the next Blue Bloods books!

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  9. Awesome interview! It was nice to know more about Melissa! Me and her have the same last name...kinda...mine is with out the De La...hehe =)

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  10. I love Melissa =) She's so down to earth. I can't wait to finally read Van Allen Legacy. it's nice to know she's keeping busy =)

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  11. I love how she got inspiration from jane austen in her first book :) great interview

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  12. Awesome interview! I can't wait for Van Alen Legacy! :)

    -Staysi

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  13. Cool interview. I have much love directed towards Melissa de la Cruz, and she is a definite all-time fave author of mine. :)

    I agree with Melissa that Blue Bloods would be awesome on either a big/little screen, loooove that series!

    Dani.

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  14. I can't believe she's never been to Chicago! I'm kind of excited that she'll be coming here. I love to meet new (to me) authors.

    AND I LOVE LOVE LOVED the Star Wars reference. :) That makes my geeky heart flutter.

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  15. Great interview.

    I always admire people who make a goal and stick with it - even when it means making adjustments and working up to it (like writing for magazines first).

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  16. Great interview! And Melissa is so right; the bar can always be higher, we can always be better, we're always learning.

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  17. I enjoyed the first three books in the Blue Bloods series, and I can't wait to get my hands on a copy of The Van Alan Legacy! I've heard great things about it! I've always loved the unique twist Melissa put on vampire lore. Thanks for the interview!

    Natalie @ Mindful Musings

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  18. Aww, I'm sure all the fans are totally alright with you not being able to answer emails. Especially if it means you have more time for writing!! Ooh, I'll have to see your upcoming tour dates, you might be coming close enough for me to see you.

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  19. Great interview. I can't wait to read this series. It looks really good.

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  20. Nice interview. Melissa is coming to Vancouver as part of the tour and I'm so excited about it.

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  21. She is fantastic!! one of my fave! I can't wait to read TVAL!! Thanks for an awesome interview!!

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  22. This is awesome! Im excited she is working on another Blue Blood book for the series!!! Great Interview =)

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  23. Great itnerview!
    I still need to read Revelations, I ordered it a few days ago ^^

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  24. I can't wait to see the cover of Misguided Angel... all of the other Blue Bloods covers have been so amazing!

    Also: Wolf Pact... so curious about it!

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  25. She was in Kansas this past week and I couldn't go see here :(. Misguided Angel? I know that will be even better than Van Alen Legacy!

    Christy

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  26. Great interview! For some reason I only discovered this series recently and I plan on reading them soon.

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  27. I cant wait to see here future books
    I haven't read The Blue Bloods book but I'm sure the movie would be assume

    Denise

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  28. Great review! Love the post.

    Cannot wait to see what happens next.

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  29. Fall 2010?! I am dying to get the next one. Oh well, hopefully the next book in her Sunset Blvd series comes out in the mean time.

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  30. I love reading about how authors come up with their stories, especially when those stories are part of a series. I think it is fascinating. And this series does sound like it would make a wonderful movie.

    Margay

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  31. great interview! :)
    i can't wait to read the Van Alen Legacy!

    -Briana
    randomlybree@att.net

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  32. I always love reading author interviews! Thanks for this one!

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  33. Great interview. I can only imagine how exciting it must be to get that phone call saying that you are going to be published. I am really looking forward to reading your Blue Bloods series.

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  34. What a great interview. Especially when she answered the question about vampires

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  35. Wow Wolf Pact sounds interesting! I hope its a werewolf novel!! Crossing my finGers!

    Christina

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  36. This does sound like it would make a good movie series. Maybe when the Twilight films are all out, Hollywood will look elsewhere for more vamps!

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  37. Great interview! Good questions and insightful answers.

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  38. Melissa seems so genuine :) thanks for the great interview! Now I KNOW I gotta read these books.

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  39. Thanks so much for the interview!
    blue blood is amazing!!!!!

    vanesa.

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  40. Cool interview. Very good questions.

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  41. Great interview!

    I'm like Melissa. I'm a HUGE procrastinator! Sometimes it just makes things more fun to do under stress. Gets the blood pumping. :)

    I haven't read this series (No Kindle Edition) but I want to!

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  42. Well I lied. They are available on the Kindle, for how long have they been available? Probably not very long.

    But they are kinda pricey for Kindle books. :(

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  43. Great interview! I've had this series on my to-be-read list, but now I am even more interested!

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  44. great
    nati_1825@hotmail.com

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  45. amazing!!!!!!!!!xD
    hechicera_terra@hotmail.com

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  46. "Tragic rich people" - I love it!
    Great interview :)

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  47. I really want to read this series. My friend brags about it all the time! :)

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  48. I also think the Blue Bloods Series would make great movies!

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  49. I read angels on sunset blvd, and i really liked it. now, i need to get started on the Blue blood series.

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  50. What a fascinating author! She has so much going on and does an amazing job. I can't wait to see what comes next. Excellent interview!

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  51. Ohhh, I didn't know there was a spin off. Awesome interview!

    -Brittany

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  52. Awesome interview!!! I think its cool how you work on two books at once. Whenever I’m writing I do the same thing. Oh, message to Melissa: Don’t worry about responding to all the emails people send you. I think it’s awesome that you even read them. I’d be surprised if that many people expect you to personally respond. They probably just wanted to compliment your work or some such thing.

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  53. I enjoyed the interview & am impressed that Melissa can write two books at the same time!

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  54. Great interview! Melissa de la Cruz seems like such a sweetie for trying to read all her fan mail.

    Thanks for the interview, this really made me interested now in reading her take on wealthy vampires.

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  55. Her books sound really great and I'm looking forward to Wolf Pact! Great interview.

    ~Briana

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  56. LOL at the Star Wars comparison! I can't wait for the next books by Melisssa!

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