Melissa de la Cruz
We last spoke to de la Cruz in 2013, when her Witches of East End book series had just started its two-year run as a TV show on Lifetime. In the last three years, her writing includes two books based on Disney's TV show Descendants (Isle of the Lost and Return to the Isle of the Lost) and Surviving High School, co-written with Vine-famous Lele Pons. She is preparing for a book tour for Something in Between, the launch title for Seventeen magazine's Harlequin Teen imprint. De la Cruz, 45, moved to the United States from Manila, Philippines, when she was 12 and graduated from Columbia University, where she studied art history and English. In her new book, the protagonist is Jasmine, a Filipino immigrant and scholar. Jasmine's world is turned upside down when she learns her parents' visas have long ago expired and the family is living in the country illegally. Although de la Cruz's background and citizenship differ from Jasmine's, the author admits being "emotionally spent'' when she finished the book. "I definitely get that feeling of being somewhere and thinking you belong, but you don't belong,'' she said. "It was an emotional book for me.''
What is on your nightstand?
I read a lot, but since I got to see the new play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, I just finished the script of that.
What did you think?
It was really good, and I also read a lot of thrillers and was just reading In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware. It was also scary.
What does it take to scare Melissa de la Cruz, writer of vampire books?
I don't think of vampires as scary. As I was reading this, I just kept thinking, who knows what's out there. In this book, it is set in a house in a dark forest, and the people are isolated. It's definitely a scary atmosphere.
I also wanted to ask you about Lele Pons. What was it like, a novelist teaming up with a Viner?
I think the way I went about it was figuring out how to create structure for the novel, encapsulating all the Vines and her spirit and her voice but also delivering a story with a beginning and end. I collaborated, I interviewed, and I asked for backstory. When I figured out how to do it, it was easy, kind of bringing Vines to life in the book. It's a very different voice from my voice.
Contact Piper Castillo at email@example.com. Follow @Florida_PBJC.