5 Questions for Melissa de la Cruz - Uncharted
5 Questions for Melissa de la Cruz Voyage YA

5 Questions for Melissa de la Cruz

By Racquel Henry

Melissa de la Cruz is the #1 New York Times, #1 Publisher’s Weekly and #1 IndieBound bestselling author of many critically acclaimed and award-winning novels for readers of all ages. Her more than thirty books have also topped the USA TodayWall Street Journal and Los Angeles Times bestseller lists and have been published in over twenty countries.

The Isle of the Lost, the prequel to the Disney Channel Original Movie The Descendants, has spent more than fifty weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, fifteen at #1, and has over a million copies in print. The Descendants starring Kristen Chenoweth and Dove Cameron is the #1 cable TV movie of 2015, and #5 of all time, and its soundtrack is the #1 bestselling album on iTunes. The Isle of the Lost’s sequel, Return to the Isle of the Lostis also a #1 New York Times bestseller and spent sixteen weeks on the New York Times List. The third Isle of the Lost book will be published in May 2017.

De la Cruz is the author of the Blue Bloods series (with three million copies in print), among many others. Her first series for adults launched with Witches of East End, which People magazine called a “bubbling cauldron of mystery and romance.” The bestseller was followed by Serpent’s Kiss and Winds of Salem.  Lifetime Television aired a two-season drama series based on Witches of East End, starring Julia Ormond, Jenna Dewan-Tatum, Rachel Boston and Mädchen Amick. De la Cruz’s young adult spin-off of the series, Summer on East End has also been optioned for television.

Her recent books include Something in Betweena YA contemporary novel inspired by de la Cruz’s own immigrant experience coming from the Philippines which launched the Seventeen imprint at Harlequin Teen, as well as Alex and Eliza, a historical novel about the romance between Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Schuyler, forthcoming from Penguin Teen in April 2017.

Angel Falls, a television movie she wrote for the Hallmark Channel, will premiere this December as part of the network’s Countdown to Christmas and will star Rachel Boston from Witches of East EndPride, Prejudice and Mistletoe, her latest novel for adults will be published by St. Martin’s and Melissa has also written the script for the television movie.

A former fashion and beauty editor, Melissa has written for 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.

In addition to her literary work, Melissa is the co-founder of YALLWEST, and the co-director of YALLFEST, two of the largest teen book festivals in the country. She is also on the Advisory Board of Facing History, which reaches five million school children nationwide with a curriculum devoted to teaching empathy and social justice.

She 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. At Columbia University, she majored in art history and English.

Melissa de la Cruz lives in West Hollywood, California with her husband and daughter.


Voyage: What was the inspiration behind your novel, Never After? What made you want to tell this story?

Melissa de la Cruz: The story actually started out as a YA romance which was inspired by Game of Thrones actors Rose Leslie and Kit Harington, whose characters in the book and TV show have a tragic romance. But then in real life, the actors who played Jon Snow and Ygritte ended up getting married, which I found so romantic—that in this alternate timeline, they were together. So I wanted to write a book based on that, but it didn’t quite work out. But the seed of the idea—of real life and fantasy conflating—ended up in the idea of Never After, which I pitched to my agent during our annual boozy Christmas dinner, poolside in Beverly Hills. It was so much fun and very much a “Eureka!” moment. What if you could step into the pages of your favorite fantasy book?


V: When you write your stories, what is the one thing you hope readers will take away?

MDLC: I hope they are entertained and have fun while reading. Life is short, why read something that doesn’t excite or move you?


V: What was the hardest scene of Never After to write?

MDLC: Writing an exciting wrap-up is always tricky, you have to make sure all the pieces fit, and you try to have it be natural and not forced, so it’s always a balance. So the final action-y chapter was a little more difficult.


V: If you could tell your younger writer self anything, what would it be?

MDLC: It’ll all be okay. But I believed that as my younger self, so my younger self would say to me, “Yeah I know.”


V: What are your writing must-haves?

MDLC: Laptop computer. That’s it. I’ve written in hospital rooms, beach terraces, airplanes…anywhere. 


Head to our Instagram page (@voyageya) to hear Melissa read the first page of Never AfterFind Melissa’s video under the IGTV tab.

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