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Author Spotlight: Melissa De La Cruz

Author Spotlight: Melissa De La Cruz

We caught up with Melissa De La Cruz for a bookish conversation on her new book, her creative process, and what drew her to writing in the Young Adult Genre. Keep reading for our whole conversation.

Congratulations on wrapping up yet another awesome YA series with The Queen’s Secret! We heard that the idea of The Queen’s Assassin came to you in a dream--how has that journey been, from starting from a dream to have finally reached its conclusion? Was it the ending you initially imagined?

M: Very satisfying to see it all come together! It was close to the ending I had envisioned, but I had to make a few changes as the story developed.

What first drew you to writing YA? What makes you continue you to do so?

M: It was a lot of fun to write and natural to my voice, I think I can easily tap into how I felt as a teenager, those emotions never left me and I have a deep empathy for kids that age. It’s a lot of fun never growing up!

You’re so diverse in your writing, from the genres you write in, to the audiences you write for.  Do you have a favorite? Any genres you’ve been meaning to get into that you haven’t done already?

M: I don’t really have a favorite, I like everything I do. I would love to write a memoir one day. I love reading memoirs – espeically humorous ones or cooking ones. So I would love to write a funny cooking memoir – although I barely cook! So It would be a not-cooking funny memoir.

What's the hardest thing about writing? What's the easiest?

M: Writing is easy. Publishing is difficult, all the things that surround a career in writing – the pressure, the deadlines, don’t have anything to do with the writing itself. Writing is an escape and a pleasure – if you’re not enjoying writing, why be a writer? It’s so much fun. I love it. I don’t think of it as work, I get paid to dream.

What's your creative process like? 

M: Being open and interested in people and the world. That’s the main thing. Having a life, not just a fictional one. Experiences are key. While imagination is important, I think the best books are truly about what life is really like emotionally. You can imagine a fantasy world but the characters and their emotions have to be rooted in reality, otherwise, why read something that has no relevance to the way the world truly is?


How does your usual writing day (or night) go? Do you have any writing rituals or routines?

M: Honestly, just get it done. Don’t get up from your desk until it’s done. You’re going to have to sacrifice part of your life to be a writer. I don’t watch much television. If I do, it’s what I call brain-dead TV lol, something to just totally relax and unwind and not think. Your social life also will be sacrificed, I’ve had to turn down things in order to get the work done. No, I can’t come to lunch, no, I can’t go on vacation, no I can’t go out for drinks. So for me, my family and my work at the priority. Everything else in cancelable.

What was the first story you've ever written?

M: My first published essay was in the New York Press.


What book do you always go back to?

M: I love re-reading Lord of the Rings and Dune. I re-read those a lot.


What are you reading right now? What's currently on your to-be-read list? (Feel free to snap a shot of your shelf or your favorite books!)

M: Right now I’m reading Winterhaven by Kristin Cashore, I’m a huge Graceling fan. The Queen’s Secret duology was inspired by Graceling.

Tell us something most people don't know about you.

M: My life is an open book! I share my life online a lot, so I’m not sure what people wouldn’t know about me. I’m a terrible driver and learned to drive at 35 because I was a New Yorker who moved to Los Angeles. I still can’t parallel park.

Any advice for aspiring writers?

M: Don’t give up. Keep knocking on that door till it opens!


How has the current state of the world affected your writing process? What would you advise writers and readers on coping?

M: I have been very productive in quarantine, including working on projects I’ve put to the side due to not having enough time. Right now I’m working on the Blue Bloods TV show and trying to make that happen. My agent has been pushing me to do it for years and I finally have the time to focus on it.


Can you take a quick selfie for your readers in the Philippines? (Please include a selfie with you holding up a sign that says #AuthorSpotlight)

You can shop Melissa De La Cruz's books, including The Queen's Assassin and The Queen's Secret, below. Stay tuned at the Fully Booked blog for more conversatiosn with your favorite authors.

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