AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: Melissa de la Cruz Has ‘Golden’ Touch in 2016 with Five Book Releases

I've received three books of five that Melissa de la Cruz will release in 2016. She and her husband, Michael Johnston, put out the last novel in the Heart of Dread series – Golden – and fans are calling it an “epic conclusion.” On the same day, Surviving High School, which de la Cruz penned along with social media mega-star Lele Pons found a spot on bookstore shelves. But there’s still more awesome to come!
May 24th, de la Cruz put out Return to the Isle of the Lost, the Descendants sequel finding its way to the public and already taking up space on my daughter's shelf. Her new YA contemporary novel, Something in Between, which launches a new Seventeen magazine imprint with HarlequinTEEN, comes out on September 27th, and Double Eclipse, the sequel to Triple Moon in the Summer on East End YA series, out November 8th.
If that were not enough to keep de la Cruz busy, she is an active planner in the YallWest Santa Monica Festival, which took place April 29th through May 1st.
So what do you ask someone that tied up in literary goodness? Oh you know, just the usual… like what’s your favorite color? Trust us, we were stumped too, which is why without any more further ado, let’s chat with Melissa de la Cruz.
Favorite color and why?
Fuchsia, mostly because I like that it’s hard to spell and pronounce. Also, who can say no to hot pink?
Do you write with music on or off?
Off. Silence is golden.
Speaking of music, what is your favorite earworm right now? What song can you not stop listening to…
Oy, so many but lately I have been singing Heart Attack by Demi Lovato especially the lines “When I don’t care, I can play them like a Ken doll, won’t wash my haaaiiirrr and make them BOUNCE LIKE A BASKETBALL!!” I love that song, especially how he makes her “wanna act like a girl, paint my nails and wear high heels.” I think it’s my philosophy of love really, how one can feel armored up and genderless (what is a ‘girl’ anyway) and then you fall in love and all of a sudden you feel softer and sweeter, and you realize that’s what love is all about and how awesome it is to be feminine. I guess I’m a bit old-fashioned maybe, but thank god only one guy makes me feel like that and I’m already married to him. You don’t get to be successful without being a little bit of a bulldozer and a battle-ax but with the right guy, I’m a mermaid. Ha!
If you could sit down and have tea or coffee with one of your characters, who would you choose and why? You’ve sort of already had the chance, right? How was it meeting Dove Cameron? Did she feel like Mal to you in some ways?
Definitely! Oh Dove and I had SO MUCH FUN promoting Isle of the Lost together, we really bonded on our love for villains. She’s such a strong role model for kids and I’m so proud of her. I think I’d like to hang out with Schuyler, Jack, Oliver, Mimi and the Blue Bloods crew. It would be cool to meet them, and we’d have cocktails at a fancy New York hotel.
By the way, have you seen the second Descendants film yet? Or had a chance to visit the set?
I just got the script! Production isn’t for a while yet, but I’m looking forward to visiting for sure!
How was planning YallWest? How is it different from a convention?
We are a festival, not a convention, as we wanted to keep entrance free, and it is a charity and way to give back to our community while celebrating our author community. Planning is going well and we have such a great slate and so much fun programming this year, including a Quidditch game and building robots and meeting awesome storymakers from Hollywood. We’re so excited!
Is there anything in particular you remember making you stand out in high school? How did you survive those years? Any advice from that time of your life that you treasure even today? 
I was class president and I was the smartest kid in my class, but I lost out on valedictorian because my French teacher finally realized I could not speak French and gave me a B+ my last semester instead of the usual A minus. I survived by reading a lot of books and escaping into fantasy worlds and also knowing without a doubt that things would get better for me. I just had to bide my time. All those things that matter in high school are so shallow – how rich your parents are, how fast you are with boys, drinking, partying, you can do all those things later. I knew that that one day I wouldn’t be stuck in a school full of debutantes and I would meet people who were intense, intellectual and compassionate just like me. The vapidity of those years is what I remember the most. I remember maybe one of my teachers telling me that high school sucks for smart people, but the rest of my life would be amazing, and he was right. He also said I was going to be a writer. High school honors English teachers are the best people in the world.

· SURVIVING HIGH SCHOOL, which de la Cruz wrote with social media mega-star Lele Pons (10.6m Vine followers, 4.6m Instagram followers, 2m Facebook fans, and 492K Twitter followers), was published by Gallery Books on April 5, 2016.  A fish-out-of-water story of a girl navigating the wilds of high school, the novel follows Lele as she goes from being bullied to the most popular girl in school, inspired by Lele’s real life experiences and popular Vine videos and handcrafted with Melissa’s literary skills.
FIND IT: Amazon | B&N | Goodreads

· GOLDEN, which de la Cruz wrote with her husband Michael Johnston, was published by Putnam also on April 5, 2016.  This is the action-packed finale to the couple’s Heart of Dread YA fantasy trilogy.  GOLDEN exemplifies de la Cruz’s knack for reinventing a familiar genre and transforming it into a highly original adventure filled with romance, mystery and magic.
FIND IT: Amazon | B&N | Goodreads
Melissa de la Cruz is the #1 New York TimesUSA Today, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times and Publishers Weekly internationally bestselling author of many critically acclaimed novels, including The Isle of the Lost: A Descendants Novel and Triple Moon: Summer on East End. Her Blue Bloods series has sold over three million copies, and her Witches of East End series became an hour-long television drama on the Lifetime network.
Michael Johnston is Melissa’s husband and co-creator of the Blue Bloods and Witches of East End series. The first book in his epic fantasy series will be published by Tor in 2017. Melissa and Michael live with their daughter in Los Angeles and Palm Springs, California.
Lele Pons was born in Caracas, Venezuela and moved with her family to Miami when she was five years old. She got her start when she created a page on the video-sharing app Vine in December 2013. Originally intended as a fun outlet to showcase her creativity, her vines evolved into comedic sketches and pulling practical jokes on family and friends. Her following grew from five thousand local followers to more than ten million by November 2015. 
Today she is one of the most recognizable names on social media, and has been featured in Vanity FairThe New York TimesTeen VogueTime, and more. Lele has been nominated for three Teen Choice Awards, a People’s Choice Award, and a Streamy Award. In 2015, she was invited to the White House by First Lady Michelle Obama to help launch her campaign for disadvantaged kids to go to college. Lele graduated from high school in 2015 and currently resides in Los Angeles, CA.


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