Melissa de la Cruz fans, here’s the exclusive first look at the cover of Misguided Angel, the fifth in the Blue Bloods series, which is slated for Oct. 5 publication. (Fans who can’t wait until fall for their Blue Bloods fix, fret not: de la Cruz has written an in-depth guidebook of sorts, Keys to the Repository, due out in June.) The author recently talked to EW.com about Misguided Angel’s cover art, her non-fiction past and being a self-proclaimed “sci-fi geek.”
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: So, what do you think about the cover? Did you have any say in it?
MELISSA DE LA CRUZ: I had a huge say in it. I really wanted it to be otherworldly, very beautiful. I like it because the girl’s face – to me she could look Asian, or Latino, or Italian. I just thought it was kind of nice that she had this universal look where you couldn’t really tell what race she was. It’s great for an angel to look like that.
This is the fifth book in the series – how many do you plan on releasing? Did you think it would last this long?
I had a very ambitious program when I first outlined this; I definitely planned a big series. From the beginning five years ago, I said I had a plan for nine or 10 books and they said, ‘Whoa! OK! We’ll buy two and see how it does!’ And then they kind of took off. I had a plan if it didn’t work out how to end it on book three, but if it did work I definitely had this big overreaching arc that I wanted to explore. I dream big! (laughs)
Can you spill a little something about what happens in Misguided Angel?
It was a really fun book because my idea was as the books continued, there would be little arcs every three or four books. I feel like books one through four really dealt with Bliss and Lucifer, and then Schuyler and Jack kind of discover a new threat and they uncover things that happened in the past that is affecting the present: a deep, evil secret that the Blue Bloods have kept. In New York, Mimi kind of deals with this new thing, so there’s this evil that happens in several places in the world that they all have to deal with that all kind of ties to one thing, and they have to find the root of it.
There’s a new character, Ming Chen, who’s one of the fabulous Chinese vampire twins that we were introduced to but they weren’t big characters in Masquerade, so she becomes a full character in this book and enrolls in Duchesne. What’s fun for me is each book is different. I don’t feel like I’m just re-writing something. It has to be fun for me and hold my interest. I get to be in Italy and New York and add a new character, and there are all these new mysteries that I’ve planted in and now we get to explore them a little more.
Why did you decide to write Keys to the Repository – was it something you wanted to write, or was it requested by fans?
It was a little bit requested and a little bit something that I’ve always wanted to write. I’ve always wanted to write some sort of guidebook and something that will help me remember the story – as the series goes on, just little things I’ll forget and it’s so nice to have something that I can turn to and be like, ‘Oh yeah, that’s what happened there.’ It was really fun for me to do that and explore a little bit of the backgrounds. It rounds out a lot of questions that the fans have, like who is the step-mother of who, why is this, a lot of seeming contradictions I address and say, ‘Well, that’s why.’ Some things you can’t put in a novel because it distracts from the main story, so this is all the background story that I couldn’t fit in.
When it comes to your writing, do you have a set schedule? Do you like to write during certain times of the day or just when the ideas come to you?
I used to write my books at night when I was a freelancer with no children. I used to really work in huge spurts – I could turn around a revision in two weeks, I used to be able to write 10,000 words a day. It’s like, ‘Wow, what happened to that?’ That’s just gone. I have a three year old, so it’s really made me more disciplined. I write from 10 to 5 every day, usually about four days a week and one day a week I spend with my kid. When on a deadline I’m back on the nightly schedule where I work from 8 p.m. to midnight or 2 a.m. It’s getting easier, since she’s growing up. The first year was hard – I was sleepless and had deadlines. It was not good!
Do you work on one book at a time, or have several projects going on at once?
I pretty much focus on the one that’s due, but I also work on the big outlines so I know exactly where it is and the arc and what needs to happen in that book. I know what’s happening in this book, I know what’s happening in the next book. I know what’s happening in each book but as I write them things become clearer so I know ‘This has to happen in book seven,’ or ‘This is definitely going to happen in book eight.’ I work on it individually but also keeping in mind this is not just a stand alone; it has to work with the books before and after.
You’ve done a lot of magazine work, and have earlier books that are more fashion and beauty oriented. Have you always wanted to do both fiction and non-fiction?
It’s really funny because these books that I write, the fantasy books, are the ones I grew up with. I was always a sci-fi and fantasy geek. I was in the Lord of the Rings club and all my cool friends made fun of me. Especially if you’re in the media in New York, being a Star Trek and Star Wars geek is not going to help your career! (laughs) So I kinda had to go all the way opposite to get to where I began. I loved being a journalist and working in media, I think it’s a really great way to start. Just because I worked in fashion doesn’t mean I didn’t go to see Underworld three times!
What else do you have coming up?
Wolf Pact is the next one I’ve been working on, it’s a spin off and due for next year. We’re going to have another Blue Bloods book called Bloody Valentine, it will actually detail Allegra and Stephen’s, Schuyler’s human father’s, love story. I was going to put that in Misguided Angel but it got too complicated; I had so many plots and had to move one out.