Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Author Interview: Melissa de la Cruz!

Author Interview: Melissa de la Cruz

Melissa de la Cruz writes the bestselling teen vampire series, the Blue Bloods, as well as The Ashleys and The Au Pairs series. On top of all that, she has worked as a fashion and beauty editor and has appeared on TV shows as a trend expert. Whew! She even writes great adult fiction, including the Witches of East End.

Melissa grew up in Manila, capital of the Phillipines, and moved to San Francisco, where she graduated salutatorian of The Convent of the Sacred Heart. Then, she majored in art history and English at Columbia University (and says she minored in nightclubs and shopping!).

Read our interview with her below and then come meet her at YALLFest:

We’re all excited that you’ll be at YALLFest! Why did you decide to come?

I love Margie and Kami (authors of Beautiful Creatures) -- they're good friends of mine and when they asked me to participate, I said yes of course! Most of my life and career is predicated on whether something will be FUN. This sounded like a lot of fun and so I said YES!

                                                                     blue bloods

Why did you start writing books for teens?

I sort of fell into it by accident. An editor at Simon & Schuster thought I might have a good voice for YA, and she asked me to try writing in the genre. She was right. Once I began writing The Au Pairs I immediately thought, 'This is what I am meant to write.' I LOVE writing for teens.

You also write books for adults. How is writing for teens different?

Not very different at all. I approach all my books in the same way: how to tell the story I want to tell. I would say writing for teens is different because the fan mail is better -- more enthusiastic!

You often write about beautiful, wealthy characters. Why?

I love escapist entertainment, and I have a soft spot for soap operas -- I grew up on Dynasty, Dallas and Falcon Crest. I love those kinds of problems: 'My billionaire boyfriend can't understand me, so I must go to the Riviera to recuperate from my heartbreak!' (sob!) They're so removed from real life, you can get completely immersed in them in the most delicious, scandalous way.
                                                                     the au pairs

You've worked as a fashion and beauty editor. What was that like?

It was a lot of fun. I liked being a fashion editor mostly because the people I worked with were so much fun, hanging out at the shoots with the other editors, the photographers, the makeup and hair people. I worked at a small start-up and then at a big corporate magazine -- and the small start-up was much more fun. We were young, creative and just goofing around, being crazy.

When I worked at the big beauty magazine, it was a lot more serious, and I didn't enjoy it as much. I think I rolled my eyes at meetings about shampoo. I mean, it's shampoo, who cares? But I was the beauty editor, I suppose I had to care. I didn't last very long there.

When did you discover your love of beauty and fashion?

Fashion was just a hobby, and the newspaper I worked for didn't have a fashion reporter so I volunteered to cover the beat. Then, when I worked at the big magazine, they didn't have a fashion position open, so they offered me the beauty editor job. It was fun being a beauty editor -- I had so many beauty products in my closet!

You just released Lost in Time, the sixth book in the Blue Bloods series. What gave you the idea for a vampire series (before vampires became so popular)?

The funny thing is that I wanted to write Blue Bloods because there were no vampire books out on the market at that time (the early 2000s). I thought, 'There's a real need for vampires!' We had Buffy in the '90s and Anne Rice and Stephen King in the '80s and then nothing. That sort of sparked the idea -- I've also always loved vampires, so I wanted to write my own take on the genre.

Did you imagine Blue Bloods series would become a bestseller?

Sure! You always imagine every book is a bestseller, definitely. But it was nice to see it come true. You always work and hope for it, but you never expect it. When it happened, it was very, very sweet. The book that hit the list was my sixteenth novel, so it had taken quite a while to get there.

Tell us about your new book, Witches of East End.

It's my series for grown-ups about a family of witches in the Hamptons, and it's based on Norse mythology. It's sexy and entertaining and fun.

Are your characters modeled after your own experiences growing up?

Some of them are. Schuyler was definitely based on my isolation and alienation as a teen, Mimi says things I wish I could say out loud. Ingrid (from Witches) is very much like me, I'm very uptight about certain things. I love sexy girls like Freya though. I love writing about strong, liberated women.

Have any of your experiences as teenagers, or people you knew at the time, made it into your books?

The first Blue Bloods book had a lot of my friendship with my best friend in college in it. We used to go to this goth nightclub called the Bank, and he was the type of guy who preferred shopping to lacrosse. And then sometimes people tell me anecdotes and if I find it interesting I'll use it. Everything is material, right?
                                                                      the ashleys
Which of your characters is most like you? Which one do you wish you were more like?

They're all like me. I would say Ingrid is the closest to how I think. I don't wish to be any of them -- they have too much drama! I like a peaceful, quiet life. :)

Who did you look up to growing up?

The guy in the movie Stand By Me, who grows up to be an author and lives in that fabulous house in Beverly Hills. I guess he's a stand-in for Stephen King, so Stephen King.

Did you get along with your parents when you were a teen?

Yes. I was and still am very close to my parents. We had our share of misunderstandings, sure. But looking back, I feel very lucky. I was very much encouraged and supported and loved. I wasn't popular in high school, mostly because my parents were very strict and didn't let us be very social. So Friday nights we would go see movies as a family. I died of embarrassment back then, but now it's one of my happiest memories. My parents were cool, too. Like I remember one of the movies we all saw together was Fatal Attraction. Awkward!

                                                              Keys to the Repositytory  
What's next for you?

The sequel to Witches of East End, Serpent's Kiss, is out June 2012. The first book in the Blue Bloods spinoff, Wolf Pact, is out September 2012. And the final book in the first Blue Bloods "cycle", Gates of Paradise, is out January 2013. I also have a new fantasy series I'm working on with my husband. The first book, Frozen, comes out spring 2013. We're busy around here. :)

See you at YALLFest!

Can't wait!!


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