Interview with Melissa de la Cruz
We interview New York Times bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz
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In the lead-up to this new DCOM, Disney and New York Times bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz have released: The Isle of the Lost: A Descendant’s Novel. The book acts as a prequel to Disney’s Descendants and is published by Parragon here in the UK.
We had the opportunity to chat to Melissa de la Cruz about the book. Here's what happened...
Q: Where did the opportunity for you to write this book come from?
M: Disney Hyperion published my Blue Bloods series, and I’ve been with the company for over twelve years. They asked me if I was interested in writing a fantasy novel for kids about Disney villains and I jumped out of my seat, because that very morning I had just told my agent I wanted to write a big fairy tale series. And now they were handing me the biggest fairy tale of all - the Disney canon. I could not have been more excited.
Q: What was the experience like writing a book that acts as a prequel to an already-decided story confirmed to having full control as to the future of characters as you would when writing a normal novel?
M: It was an interesting puzzle, because while I had the freedom to make the book my own, we had to end up at that first scene of the movie. So how did we get there? What happened before then? But in a way it was just like writing any of my books as I always know the ending. I knew the ending, so I just had to figure out the beginning. It wasn’t all that different when it came down to it.
Q: How do you, as an author, get into the mind and character of a villain?
M: I’ve always had a lot of sympathy for the villains - I always related to them. They had such outsize ambitions and desire, and I definitely understood that feeling of wanting something SO MUCH that you would do anything to get it - whether it was making everyone pay for not inviting you to a party, or having the best fur coats ever (LOL). So it wasn’t hard, I just thought of how I'd react, and um, yeah, I guess I’m a little bit villain. :)
Q: You have written a fair amount of novels containing villains – including the Blue Bloods series and The Beauchamp Family. What is it about villains that interest you?
M: I think they’re misunderstood human beings, and probably don’t have a lot of control over their lizard-brain actions - that primal feeling of hurt, when you don’t get invited to a party like Maleficent, or sort of in the throes of uncontrollable greed, like Cruella and Jafar, or else a slave to obsessive vanity like the Evil Queen. As normal, moral people, we keep these strong emotions in check, and while we might WANT to curse an entire kingdom, mostly we just grumble to our friends and then move on. So it’s interesting to me to write about characters who take it all the way. I have to say though that while I love a fantasy villain, a fictional villain, I don’t have much interest in the real-life variety. I like my villains to wear fabulous clothes and be sort of ridiculous. I don’t find real-life villains entertaining at all, I find them horrifying.
Q: Out of all of the ‘evil teens’ featured in the book, which was most fun to write?
M: Carlos was very close to my heart because he’s a frightened nerd, which is at heart, who I am. I love them all equally though, Mal because she’s such a kickass girl, Evie because she’s so sweet, Jay because he’s such a sly charmer.
Q: The book has had a huge reaction listening at #1 on the New York Times Children’s Best Sellers, can you ever anticipate the reaction to a book?
M: You always hope for the best. I thought we would do well with the book, but no one was prepared for exactly how well we did - we sold out the first week! But I did think I wrote a really fun, really great book, so I hoped it would find an audience of like-minded Disney fans. And then I hoped that the kids would like it too, but you never know. I went from being relieved, to pleased, to amazed, and very gratified. Just enjoying it. It’s a dream come true to have it do so well. So many people worked on this project, I’m just the front man. I was happy for all of us, the whole team.
Disney’s The Isle of the Lost: A Descendants Novel will be available to purchase in stores across the UK from Thursday 2nd July.
Click here to read an exclusive snippet of chapter 1 and purchase a copy of the book.