Exclusive interview with author Melissa de la Cruz and a review of her new book about the children of the villains from classic fairy tales **** 4 Stars
By Gabrielle Pantera
HOLLYWOOD, CA (Hollywood Daily Star) 2015/5/3 – “You write a book and the world opens up,” says The Isle of the Lost author Melissa de la Cruz. “When I was writing Blue Bloods, Hurricane Katrina victims told me they felt encouraged by Schuyler’s story. My Witches of East End series became a TV show and I was able to get a little peek into Hollywood. With this book, I was able to work more closely with the Disney creative team, and that was really interesting. I told my agent I wanted my next project to be fairy tale retellings and that day I went to lunch with my Disney publisher. She asked me to write the prequel to The Descendants, about the teenage children of Disney’s biggest villains. It was kismet.”
The Isle of the Lost is the prequel to the upcoming Disney Channel original movie broadcasting in the summer of 2015. What happens to the villains after the happily ever after for the heroes? What if Maleficent had a daughter? What would she be like? Intended for teens, if you love fairy tales and enjoy Once Upon a Time on ABC or the Disney film Into the Woods, you will enjoy reading this. The novel is engrossing, with humor and adventure. De la Cruz makes the characters come to life. You root for them. The kids want their parents’ approval, yet live in a world where the concepts of right and wrong are upside-down.
The villains have all been banished to the Isle of the Lost. After living on the island for many years, some of them have children. The story’s four main characters are Maleficent’s daughter Mal, Cruella De Vil’s son Carlos, Jafar’s son Jay and the daughter of Snow White’s evil queen, Evie. Mal wants to be as bad and powerful as her mother. Carlos is a geek and his mother’s servant. Jay is a thief ready to steal anything. Evie, the misfit, is nice. Will her niceness change the others from being bad, or will they change her?
For her research, de la Cruz says she watched all the original movies on a loop, figuring out what she could use for her story. “I found some unexpected gems, like the spell in Snow White. I got to visit the set where they were shooting the movie. It was so fun to meet the whole cast.
Melissa de la Cruz has written over thirty book for all ages. Her Blue Bloods vampire series has sold over three million copies. Her books Blue Bloods, Au Pairs, Angels on Sunset Boulevard and Fresh off the Boat have won many library and teen reader awards. Her book Witches of East End was adapted for TV and ran for two seasons on Lifetime.
De la Cruz’s editors are Emily Meehan at Disney Hyperion and Jennifer Bessser at Penguin Putnam. “I’ve worked with both Em and Jen for over a decade,” says de la Cruz. “We have a strong and awesome working and personal relationship. I count my editors among my closest friends. We met when Emily and I worked on Au Pairs and Jen and I worked on Blue Bloods.
A friend referred de la Cruz to her agent Richard Abate of 3Arts. “I thought she had enough energy to light up the city of Los Angeles,” says Abate. “She’s my ‘publishing wife’. Mel has an amazing reputation as a writer of YA fiction, so selling her is more about the subject. In this case subject sold itself. It is an amazing book. Mel creates original characters that feel like friends by the time you finish one of her books.”
De la Cruz new series Summer on East End: Triple Moon releases this fall. It’s a YA spinoff of the Witches of East End.
De la Cruz lives in Los Angeles. She was born in the Philippines.
On May 5th de la Cruz will be at her book launch event at the B&N Americana in Glendale at 7pm with Disney star Dove Cameron, on May 16th at Romantic Times Teen Day, on May 31st at Book Con with Sofia Carson. For her book launch, de la Cruz says she plans to wear Maleficent horns.
The Isle of the Lost by Melissa de la Cruz Hardcover, 320 pages, Publisher: Disney-Hyperion (May 5, 2015), Language: English ISBN: 9781484720974, Age Range 9-12 years, Series: The Descendants. $17.99