December 31, 2009
Interview with Melissa de la Cruz
Melissa de la Cruz is the author of the bestselling THE VAN ALEN LEGACY, as well as a variety of novels for adults and young adults. She's also written for a variety of magazines, including one of my favorite publications, McSweeney's. She's a bicoastal woman, living in both Los Angeles and New York. She has personal familiarity with the setting of the Blue Bloods series, as well as many of her other works. In addition to the Blue Bloods series, she's currently working on the spin-off, which will begin with WOLF PACT in Spring 2011.
1. How do you balance writing a large number of series (Blue Bloods, The Ashleys, The Au Pairs)? (Do you have a favorite?)
The Au Pairs and Ashleys have ended already, now I have the Blue Bloods series and am starting two new paranormal series, Wolf Pact, which is a Blue Bloods spinoff and follows Bliss's adventures as she looks for the Hounds of Hell, and The Witches of East End, which is an adult paranormal series, about a family of witches who shake up a fictional town in the Hamptons.
Blue Bloods is definitely close to my heart, since it was my first paranormal series, but I am really excited about Wolf Pact and Witches as well. They're all quite different – Wolf Pact is very action-oriented and grittier than Blue Bloods, while Witches, since it is an adult series, has more adult themes, and is a bit more droll, but also sexier. I take my time and write each book on its own, I can work on all three when they are in the beginning stage but once the book really gets going I need to concentrate and I tend to finish the one whose deadline is nearest during the end stage.
2. How did you come to write "vampire" books? Was there anything specific that led to the creation of the Blue Bloods series?
My editor for Au Pairs asked me if I wanted to try my hand at a horror/fantasy book and I came up with Blue Bloods. I had always, always wanted to write a big epic fantasy but I never thought anyone would give me the chance to write one given my fashion/chick-lit background. So I feel very grateful that Disney took a chance on me. I feel like Blue Bloods is the book I've always meant to write.
3. What kind of books did you read as a kid? What are some books you've read recently and enjoyed?
As a kid I was a voracious reader and I read everything from the classics to Sweet Valley High and Sweet Dreams. My absolute favorites were Stephen King's books especially The Dark Tower Series, and Tolkien's Lord of the Rings.
Now that I'm an adult I don't reach much fantasy, I like to read the kinds of books that I would never write myself – I read cooking memoirs. Anything by Ruth Reichl and Anthony Bourdain. On the YA side I recently read Elizabeth Scott's Love You Hate You Miss You and Frank Portmann's King Dork and I loved loved loved both.
4. You've also written several books for adults. Do you approach adult literature differently from young adult?
Not really – I think Blue Bloods is really for all ages. And so are my adult books. I think the adult series will be sexier in nature and it deals with some adult themes like politics and that sort of thing, but I just write for myself. And I wanted to write a fantasy book that was like Grey Gardens mixed with Alexander McCall Smith and Julian Fellowes.
5. Your bio says you've also worked as a fashion and beauty editor. (Any tips for the winter?) How have your job experiences influenced your writing?
I feel very lucky that I was able to work in the magazine industry. It helps you develop a thick skin, and sharpens your instincts. As a former beauty editor: moisturize, moisturize, moisturize for the winter! My work covering the glittery scene gave me a lot of material to use when I was starting Blue Bloods. But I feel like the story has taken its own course, and I haven't worked at a magazine for almost a decade now, and I like exploring new worlds and new themes.