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Melissa De La Cruz Bibliography & Interview

Blue Bloods series (in reading order)

LoveVampires Interview with Melissa De La Cruz

Interview by Missy

Photo of Melissa De La Cruz, by Denise BoveeTell us a little bit about Melissa de la Cruz.

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.

Tell us a little bit about the Blue Blood Series.

The Blue Bloods series follows the story of an elite group of New York City teens who discover they are reincarnated vampires, who were cast out of heaven with Lucifer's Fall. But something is hunting and killing these immortals--and Schuyler Van Alen, a shy fifteen-year old half-blood may be their only chance at salvation. With her human conduit Oliver Hazard-Perry, best friend Bliss Llewellyn, who harbors a dangerous secret, and the aloof and mysterious twins Jack and Mimi Force, Schuyler slowly uncovers centuries-old mysteries and sets upon fulfilling her destiny.

Who or what inspired Jack? Oliver?

Jack Force grew out of an image I had in my mind, of an icy, gorgeous a lacrosse uniform!  I wanted to write about a guy who seemed to have it all, rich, handsome, smart, sensitive and immortal--a guy who had everything he ever wanted, except for personal happiness. Jack is a very conflicted, almost tragic character. I see him as someone who finally decides for himself instead of following the way it's always been done.  

Oliver was based a little bit on my best friend from college, but of course once on the page, the character takes a life of his own. Oliver is definitely his own person. His quirky humor, his lightness with his privilege, his loyalty and self-sacrifice are his own. His caramel hair though that swoops over one eye - um, that was Morgan's. :) 

The reviews are in and The Van Allen Legacy is being hailed as the best book in the series yet. Why do you think that is? How does that make you feel?

 That is awesome. I felt it as I was writing it. I just felt free-er, less pressure to perform, and also I just wanted to please myself, and write the book I wanted to write. With Revelations I felt a lot of pressure because there was so much expectation for it, and it was very paralyzing and frightening, so while I am very proud of the book it was very hard to write. With Van Alen Legacy, we'd already hit the bestseller lists with Revelations, so for me, I had already achieved a personal goal, so I just really enjoyed writing it and enjoyed the story, I didn't really care so much what other people would think of it. I just wanted to be satisfied with it. I think listening too much to the accolades or the criticisms is very bad for a writer. You need to shut the world out and just listen to the story you have inside you. And I was able to do that more with Van Alen because I felt I didn't have anything to prove anymore. Even if it didn't hit the lists, it didn't matter too much to me anymore. But I really felt so satisfied with the book, and I had a feeling other people would too. I  also had more time to write it, and I also took a lot more risks in the story. I was very nervous that my readers would be freaked out by some of the things that happened in it. But I just trusted my gut and went with the story I wanted to tell.

It makes me feel very relieved -- as a writer, you never know what the reaction will be -- I try to judge my own books on the same scale that I judge other people's books. I try not to be delusional or too critical of my work and try to be as objective as I can. I did feel very much that Van Alen was the best I'd ever written. So now of course I feel pressure to do it again, or do it better. But even so, I am just enjoying the ride and enjoying the work -- that's what it's all about in the end. I have a lot of fun writing the books. 

 You didn't originally start out writing about vampires, why the switch?

I don't think it's a switch so much as a natural progression of my interests. I was a huge horror and sci fi fantasy reader back in my youth, and I had always loved the genre. I think Harry Potter definitely opened up the floodgates and publishers were more interested in fantasy/vampire books than they were before. And they had more leeway in taking a chance on a writer who did mostly chicklit to deliver a true fantasy. I felt very lucky, my editor for The Au Pairs trusted me and she said she knew I could deliver this kind of book. It's funny how you don't realize what you are good at until you try it. I had thought I would be a farcical comedic kind of writer, I also thought I would be a poet.

How did you come up with the idea of using biblical mythology for the backstory of the characters?

I'd always loved the story of Paradise Lost and Lucifer's Fall, and in my book, I really wanted an explanation for why vampires are in the world. It just seemed so natural - of course! Vampires were cursed to live on Earth with Lucifer when he fell from grace. There's a lot of great stuff in the Bible, and I grew up in a very strict Catholic tradition - in going to mass every Sunday and hearing  the poetry of those's an amazing work of literature, I always found it so beautiful and fascinating, so it's a huge part of me that I was able to weave into a contemporary fantasy setting. Also, I am very careful to base my mythology in a pre-Genesis setting, it's not the Christian tradition per se. I'm not touching the New Testament! To me, that would be sacrilege! The angel mythology is not really Biblical canon, they are more like world myths, as there are angels in the Islamic and Hebrew traditions as well. So I felt I could work with that.

 Have you ever thought of writing books aimed towards an older demographic? Why teens?

Yes. We will have an official announcement soon. Again, it just felt like a natural progression, wanting to write characters that were a little older again. But I will always love writing for and about teens.

What authors have influenced you?

Too many to mention - I am a voracious reader - so everything I read influences me really. But I love War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy, I just love how he writes about happiness, not just sadness. I feel like so much of our current literary culture is so immersed in telling us about the various kinds of sadness and disappointments in our lives, but these writers never write about the joy, the happiness, of life, that comes from a family, like a relationship between a brother and sister, husband and wife, with your children... life isn't just dreary and grey and the mean and terrible things we say or do to each other. Which is why I love Tolstoy, in War and Peace, happiness is just as complicated and interesting as despair. I love that. I also love Stephen King, Anne Rice, Dawn Powell, PG Wodehouse, Jane Austen, James Joyce, Fitzgerald, Nick Hornby, Lionel Shriver, Diana Wynne Jones, of course JK Rowling. Too many to mention!

 Who is your favorite fictional male vampire and why?

My favorite has to be my own - Jack Force. I think he is just wonderful in his intensity and in his desire to be more than he is, to aspire to be more than the Angel of Destruction. Can a dark angel go to the light? 

How many books are slated for the series?

I am writing ten books for the Blue Bloods series. Books Five to Seven are pretty well outlined and Books Eight to Ten are a bit more skeletal but I do know how the series ends, I've always known that from the beginning and have just been building up to it. But you know, these outlines are just road maps, I could write more books, I could write less. We'll have to see how the story takes shape. 

What are your plans for the future?

Just writing. I  have a ton of books on deadline right now. And I'm loving working on all of them. I’m in a good place with them, not in the tear-your-hair-out-phase yet. I am enjoying the journey of the Blue Bloods. 

What books are you currently reading?

Nothing right now. When I'm writing I can't read other people's work. But once i'm done I have Jennifer Weiner's BFF, Gigi Grazer's Queen Takes King, that book The Help which everyone is talking about, I can't wait to read it. I have the new Lorie Moore book and I want to get the new Zadie Smith. 

Any spoilers you'd care to let us in on? ; )

Hmmm.... how about it's not the last we'll see of Kingsley? But there are always dark consequences to getting what you want-- or you know, out of Hell. :) 

A big "thank-you" to Melissa De La Cruz for taking part in the author interview. More information on Melissa's books can be found at Melissa's website
17th November 2009

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