Friday, October 4, 2013

YALLFest 2013: An Interview with Melissa de la Cruz

I'm honored to participate in the blog tour for this year's YALLfest Authors. For those who don't know what YALLfest is, you can find out more about the awesomeness and the all-star list of authors participating by clicking here. And if you live in the Carolinas or within driving distance of Charleston, SC, mark your calendar for November 9th! I want to hug all of you!!

Melissa de la Cruz is the New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of many critically acclaimed and award-winning novels for teens including The Au Pairs series, the Blue Bloods series, the Ashleys series, the Angels on Sunset Boulevard series and the semi-autobiographical novel Fresh off the Boat.  

Her books for adults include the novel Cat’s Meow, the anthology Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys and the tongue-in-chic handbooks How to Become Famous in Two Weeks or Less and The Fashionista Files: Adventures in Four-inch heels and Faux-Pas.

She has worked as a fashion and beauty editor and has written for many publications including The New York Times, Marie Claire, Harper’s Bazaar, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Allure, The San Francisco Chronicle, McSweeney’s, Teen Vogue, CosmoGirl! and Seventeen. She has also appeared as an expert on fashion, trends and fame for CNN, E! and FoxNews.

Melissa grew up in Manila and moved to San Francisco with her family, where she graduated high school salutatorian from The Convent of the Sacred Heart. She majored in art history and English at Columbia University (and minored in nightclubs and shopping!).
She now divides her time between New York and Los Angeles, where she lives in the Hollywood Hills with her husband and daughter. 

What one thing do you need to have when you write?
Fear. Sometimes rage. I find that to truly focus I need to feel panic, and then suddenly everything in my manuscript becomes clear. I work best under duress, which is something my editors have learned and they're quite good at instilling fear in me. J I appreciate that! I also work well with many distractions, I think it's because I had a day job for nine years and had to write my books in the middle of doing my real work.

Describe your book in 5 words
Post-apocalyptic. Zombie. Dragon. Pirate. Fantasy.

What is the hardest line to write- the first or the last?
The first, definitely.

Best writing tip you ever received?
To introduce the love interest in the first 30 pages, not that specifically but learning that there was CRAFTING involved in writing a novel, not just voice.
What one young adult novel you wish you had when you were a teen? Why?
Harry Potter. Because! I don't think I have to explain.

Tell us 5 random facts about yourself.
1. I was a child model.
2. My favorite One Direction guy was Harry, but now it is Louis.
3. I have a Maltese named Mimi. She is not named for Mimi Force, our kid named her.
4. I learned to drive at 34.
5. I like savory treats better than sweet.

Where's your favorite place to write?
In a cubicle, surrounded by softly ringing phones and people murmuring. Sadly this is no longer possible for me.

What are you working on now?
My new series THE RING AND THE CROWN coming next spring from Disney-Hyperion.

What is your favorite genre to write in? To Read?
YA Fantasy and Paranormal. My favorite genre to read is "literary" fiction, but I would have to say I really enjoy bestsellers just as much, I like popular fiction, no matter what genre, I like to read what a lot of people are reading and take the pulse of the culture. But for my own taste, I love smart angry women writers like Lionel Shriver and Kate Christensen.  Also cookbook memoirs.

At what point in the development of an idea do you know that it will become a full-length novel?
When we've sold it!


Quiet and gentle, Marie has never lived up to the ambitions of her mother, Queen Eleanor the Second, Supreme Ruler of the Franco-British Empire. With the help of 500-year-old Head Merlin, Emrys, Eleanor has maintained her stranglehold on the world's only source of magic. She rules the most powerful empire the world has ever seen. But even with the aid of Emrys' magic, Eleanor's extended lifespan is nearing its end. The princess must marry and produce an heir or the Empire will be vulnerable to its greatest enemy, Prussia. The two kingdoms must unite to avert a deadly war, and the only solution is a match between Marie and Prince Leopold II, heir to the Prussian throne. But Marie has always loved James, her childhood friend and son of the Queen's Guard. Together, Marie and Morgan, a powerful magician in her own right, come up with a plan. Morgan will take on Marie's face, allowing the princess to escape with James and live the quiet life she's always wanted. And Morgan will get what she's always dreamed of--the chance to rule. But the court intrigue and hunger for power in Lenoran England run deeper than anyone could imagine. In the end, there is only rule that matters in Eleanor's court: trust no one..

Here's the trailer for the Witches of East End series on Lifetime, which debuts on Sunday!

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