Exclusive Interview with Melissa de la Cruz… PLUS! Huge Contest!
One of my favorite authors of all time is Melissa de la Cruz; she’s got a very realistic way of describing cities like New York, and L.A. that make you feel as if you’ve known the urban geography all your life, and at the same time, make you wish you were there, –almost like homesickness for places you may never have been. So it was a pretty huge deal for me when I managed to get an interview with her about her series of vampire novels, Blue Bloods; the books are four in number so far: Blue Bloods, Masquerade, Revelations, and the latest, The Van Alen Legacy. She’s also the author of the Au Pairs series, and The Ashleys; for a complete list of the author’s works, check out her website.
The novels are unique: the Blue Bloods are vampires older than human beings themselves, starting out during the War in Heaven, falling with Lucifer. The Miltonian fallen angels are vampires, except, the group eventually split. Lucifer, The Morning Star, and his followers split off from half of the group who sought to gain God’s forgiveness. For thousands of years, the vampires are reincarnated every generation, working discreetly among the humans, influencing mortals in arts, and politics, in order to make up for fighting with Lucifer, and once again regain the favor of God. Despite the theological subtext, the books aren’t preachy and hyper-religious.
The negative reviews say the books have too much sex, drugs, and delinquent behaviour in them, while positive reviews claim that Melissa‘s vampires are some of the most unique found in popular literature today. I’m not going to tell you all the details, because Melissa‘s done it for me in the interview, –plus, she’s been kind enough to give us THREE BOX SETS OF THE FIRST THREE BLUE BLOODS NOVELS. Guess who gets those?! You do! For the contest details, read the paragraph below the interview. Also, I’d like to quickly thank Melissa’s Blue Bloods publicist, Jennifer, who has been great in getting all the info together, and helping me get the interview. Thanks, Jennifer!
1. Some of our readers haven’t read any of the books, –shame on them. Can you tell us about the series from your perspective?
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.
2. The Blue Bloods series tells the story of fallen angels reincarnated repeatedly as vampires, trying to work off their sins from when they fell with Lucifer in Heaven. Why did you give vampires the religious background versus all the other vampire genesis options for novels out there?
I’d always loved the story of Paradise Lost, I thought the story of Lucifer’s Fall was very romantic. Also, his story is not part of the official Bible, but taken from older pre-Christian myths. So I didn’t really think of it as giving them a religious background, as I was raised Catholic and have a lot of respect for the religion. Paradise Lost was more a work of literature that expanded on this legend of the Fallen Angel. When I wrote my outline for my series, I really wanted to answer the question of where vampires come from and to tie it to a legend that we have all heard seemed the most natural and cool way to explain it– you can kind of believe it because who hasn’t heard the story of Lucifer’s Fall? A lot of readers asked “where” I got the story of Lucifer and the vampires and I tell them, from my head – I just made it up! :)
3. Writing a series isn’t a new thing for you; your other novels, such as Angels on Sunset Boulevard, and the Au Pairs series, are a lot different. Why vampires?
I’d always loved vampire stories – I loved Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles and Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot. It just seemed natural – when I wrote Blue Bloods in 2004-2005, Twilight hadn’t come out yet (in fact, I turned in my manuscript and then went to the bookstore and saw Twilight on the shelves and felt – oh no! No one is going to read my book now since mine comes out a year later). But I think it was just in the water – a lot of the new vampire authors are about the same age as me and it’s sort of a generational/zeitgeist thing… I feel lucky that what I wanted to write at the time was also something a lot of people wanted to read. But you can’t control that. Most of the times, I am totally out of step with the zeitgeist…
4. A review by the School Library Journal, says “…This novel constantly name-drops and is full of product placements, drinking, drugs, nonexplicit sex, and superficial characterizations, but the intriguing plot will keep teens reading…” of Blue Bloods 1. How would you answer that?
Other than to shrug and keep writing? I don’t let it affect me too much. I was transitioning from writing more fashion-y books to the fantasy books and my Au Pairs style kind of seeped into the first Blue Bloods novel. Some people have a problem with that, oh well.Â I was always interested in fashion as a form of self-expression, which a lot of teens do as well.Â I don’t see it as product placement because I don’t get paid to mention them- and Stephen King drops a lot of brand names in his books – only they are not fashion labels so maybe that’s why he’s allowed to get away with it. As for the sex, drugs and rock and roll in the books…. that’s what I was interested in as a teenager and I looked for books that did not preach to me, but entertained me.
5. The “chick-lit” label is tossed on your work a lot, and I can see how most guys probably wouldn’t go for novels about high society vampire girls. Do you feel you’re excluding a male audience, and do you have any plans to write anything that might get guys interested too?
I don’t feel like I’m deliberately excluding a male audience at all, I mostly write for myself, and at heart I’m a fourteen year old girl, so there you go. Wolf Pact, the Blue Bloods spinoff has several male characters in it and a lot of action so the boys might like it. But like I said, I can’t really write for “an audience”. I just write for myself and see what happens. I feel very lucky that other people want to read my stories.
6. I have to ask, even though it’s kind of a spoiler, but why kill off Lawrence Van Alen?
It wasn’t really my decision, more of what the story demanded. I think Lawrence knew too much, so he had to go. More fun for the young vampires to figure out the Legacy than just have Lawrence tell them what is was!
7. The third novel in the series, Revelations, left us with a very weird, love-hate makeout thing between Jack and Mimi that was obviously stormy, but seemed also like a reconciliation. In the next novel though, Jack was suddenly seeing Schuyler on the side. I felt like I missed something: what happened?
Jack was never seeing Schuyler on the side after he and Mimi reconciled, he was only pining for Schuyler but wasn’t able to do anything about it.Â As Mimi writes, she thought reuniting would bring them closer but the exact opposite happened – she got what she wanted but not really. Jack was more alienated from her than ever. I think that’s all in the book pretty clearly. Jack would never really be hers. I think after they reunited, Jack just shut down, and that’s why Mimi left — she subconsciously realized that she would never be able to win his heart, and so she goes away.
8. One review claimed that the Blue Blood books were an isolating read, because not many teen girls can identify with being rich, high society vampires, –and since the Blue Bloods are reincarnated, there’s no risk of being turned. What sparked the decision to keep the Blue Bloods so exclusive, aside from the minor deviation of Schuyler?
Oh you mean that Amazon reader review yes? I saw that too, LOL. I don’t really think it’s my place to defend the books too much, I’d rather they stand on their own. But I will say that I myself never felt isolated from reading about the lives of the rich and fabulous — I always thought they were fun and aspirational and a hoot to read, even when I was growing up a sheltered, suburban scholarship kid. I think it’s actually the opposite – a lot of teens CAN identify with rich, high society vampires because these rich, high society vamps have the same exact problems they do — problems with friends, with family, with finding out who they are. This reader is just looking at the surface, and bringing her own mindset to the books — some people have a knee-jerk reaction to fabulous soapy pop culture products. I myself always loved Dallas, Dynasty, Falcon Crest, 90210, Melrose Place and now Gossip Girl.
The “decision” to keep the Blue Bloods exclusive, again, isn’t really a decision. It just evolved naturally from my idea from the beginning about a story of vampires who had come over from the Mayflower, who become the American elite, it tied into my title “Blue Bloods“, and to my vampire mythology (they really do have Blue Blood). So of course the teens would be the Upper East Siders of New York. And I wanted to write a story about vampires, kind of like Harry Potter is a story about wizards. The humans/muggles don’t figure in the story at all. I thought the human-vampire story was kind of cliche and I wanted to write a new story about vampires that was just about their world. Harry Potter is not isolating and not everyone is going to be invited to Hogwarts.
9. As someone who does identify with different characters with different qualities, it’s pretty easy to see why the female teen audience loves the books so much. Which character do you identify with most, and why?
I love all my three girls so much, they are all a part of me. Schuyler was me at a very vulnerable age – her outcast status, sarcasm, isolation – all mine (especially her raggedy thrift-store clothes). I love Mimi – she’s the most fun to write and she gets to say everything I think but would never say in real life. Bliss really grew on me – her struggle made her so strong. It’s so hard to choose, I love them all.
10. There are quite a few shocking moments of Blue Blood and Silver Blood activity, but what do you consider the darkest part of the Blue Blood and Silver Blood world?
I think the inter-vampire betrayal, like finding out that your deepest enemy is your best friend — the betrayal of Forsyth Llewellyn is pretty dark. To betray the trust of his community is pretty awful. But we’ll find out that there are even darker secrets the Blue Bloods have been hiding. In Misguided Angel, Schuyler finds out something that is so evil she can’t even believe it, and it’s part of her legacy.
11. The Colony of Roanoke is perhaps America’s oldest unsolved mystery. What prompted the decision to use the mysterious event in your books?
I thought it was so cool – and again – another way to “solve” an unsolved mystery. Vampires came from Lucifer’s Fall! And the people of Roanoke were Blue Bloods who were taken over by their Silver Blood brethren! It was like a lightbulb going off my head. I read about the Roanoke mystery while I was doing research on the Mayflower. Seemed a great fit from the beginning.
12. What is your favorite vampire novel, film, character, –of all time?
Aside from mine, you mean? I love Lestat and I also love the Underworld movies. Those two are probably my favorites aside from my own Blue Bloods.
13. Is there any chance there will be a television or film interpretation of the Blue Bloods books?
Yes we are talking to a lot of people in Hollywood and just figuring out what the best way to go about it is.
14. How do you feel about seeing Blue Bloods on the screen, big or small?
I would love to – but I would have to be very involved, at this point I’m not turning over the project to anyone else. I would have to have a lot of say in the translation. I want to make sure they stay true to the books.
15. I know this is a slight deviation, but I’m curious, and I’m sure some of the readers are too, because I loved this book, –was there ever any plan to expand on the Angels on Sunset Boulevard novel?
Yes, S&S bought two books in the series and I’ve been working on the sequel for three years now. It’s becoming the hardest book to write, so I’m sorry to say everyone will have to wait a little longer. I was about to turn in a draft to S&S but I realized the book still needed so much work and needed to be rewritten once again. So I’m putting it aside for now. I hope to get back into it in the future, but it really became an albatross. I love the first book and I still want to write the conclusion, but I can’t seem to get it on paper like I do in my head. So I’m just going to let it come naturally and not force it.
16. It’s hard to stifle the urge to jump up and down and ask “what happens next?” so I’ll just give in. Can you reveal anything about the next book?
I think I did already! :) Schuyler and Jack find out something about the Blue Bloods’ past which shakes them up. And there is a new character – a vampire who works for The Conspiracy the Blue Blood committee that keeps humans in the dark. There’s a human threat in the new book. That’s all – I’ve said enough! :)
You can win a box set of the first three novels in the Blue Bloods series! Just send in a short article (at least 300 words) about which Blue Bloods character you identify with most, and why. There will be three winners!
Dress up as your favorite Blue Bloods character, and snap a photo. The best costume wins!
Send your articles and photos to: firstname.lastname@example.org, with your name/alias, and mailing address.
Winners will be announced January 1st! The photos and articles will be published on Vampires.com as well, so hurry up! You could be famous. ;)