Interview: Melissa de la Cruz
Current Mood: thirsty
Current Song: Freaky Friday (1995) score music
Melissa de la Cruz has written series for teens and for kids as well as stand-alone YA and adult novels. She's also written short stories for multi-author anthologies. She has half a dozen new projects on the horizon, including a recently announced duo of paranormal novels for adults. How does she manage it all? Let's find out.
Do you work on multiple stories simultaneously, or do you invest your focus on one project at a time?
In the beginning of stories or books I can work on a lot of things at the same time, but once the book gets cooking, I have to concentrate. It just happens naturally anyway – the deadline is near, or the story gets to the point that it's ALL I want to do – anything else is a distraction and I have to finish it.
What are you currently working on? What's next in line for publication, for revision, for outlining?
Currently I'm working on Keys to the Repository, which is in its final stages since it will be published Spring 2010. Then I need to get back to the first draft of Misguided Angel, Blue Bloods 5, which pubs Fall 2010. I'm almost done outlining Wolf Pact, which pubs 2011, and I'm almost done outlining Witches of East End also, which is also set for 2011. I've got a couple of other projects I've been working on forever that I can't announce yet – and those are in the early and middle stages as well.
The girls who make up The Ashleys are highly competitive social butterflies who aim to rule their preparatory middle school. Do you have a little bit of Ashley in you? If so, which one - or are you more like Lauren?
In college I was definitely an Ashley, I was very bossy and I had a lot of friends and great clothes and cute boys and all that. (Does it count to be popular in college? My friends say no. But what do they know? They peaked in high school. They all had the Blair Waldorf college experience. I was more of a Dan Humphrey – blossoming in college. LOL!) I do have some of Lauren in me, but the more fun side of me is my Ashley side—I throw a lot of outrageous parties and I like to gossip a lot.
Do you find it more difficult to write stories with supernatural elements, like the Blue Bloods series, or realistic fiction, such as The Ashleys or The Au Pairs?
The supernatural stories are easier. For The Ashleys and The Au Pairs, it was fun but I found it exhausting after awhile to keep up with all the trends and incorporate them in the book in a new way. Lisi Harrison of The Clique does it SO well, but for me, it was too hard to keep on trying to be super cool or to think of more crazy things for the characters to experience. I am a geek wearing fashionista clothing: the geek side is the real me, while the fashionista side is a mask I like to wear, but I find it tiring. After nine books on the teen chick-lit high life, I think I am done.
Wolf Pact is very gritty, and very much the opposite of that, which is such a relief. I think as an artist, you can't get stale, you need to make the work interesting for yourself otherwise it won't be interesting to anyone else. I definitely got Ashleys and Au Pairs fatigue. I'm sorry to announce there won't be any more GIRL books either, I had to cancel that contract, I can't do everything and I was really fatigued after writing the first one. But I will post stories that wrap up Ashleys and GIRL on my site. I'm so relieved I was able to wrap up The Au Pairs! I had a LOT of fun writing those books, and I stand behind each of them, but that phase is over for me, for now.
Do you approach writing novels for adults differently than writing those for teens and kids?
Not really, other than I know I can write a sexy scene and it won't be cut or I won't get a call from my editor. :)
What are your ten favorite novels of all time?
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
Dune by Frank Herbert
The Dark Tower Series (especially Wizard and Glass) by Stephen King
Morningside Heights by Cheryl Mendelsohn
Ten Little Indians by Agatha Christie
Harry Potter series (but especially Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban) by JK Rowling
Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien
I'll Take It by Paul Rudnick
Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri (short story collection)
Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding
These are books that I re-read a lot. It's hard to pick favorites so I picked the books that I constantly re-read.
Visit Melissa's website.