This past Monday March 31 my friend (also a blogger) Natalie @ Browsing Bookshelves and I took an adventure up to Etobicoke to meet up with a group of Toronto bloggers, publishers from Hachette Book Group Canada AND the talented, enchanting and lovely Melissa De La Cruz! It was an absolute BALL of fun; first Natalie and I perused Chapters looking at all the new spring collections, books (obviously) and quote mugs, and then we headed over to Sherway Gardens and went on a hunt for David’s Tea. We also windowed shopped which put us in a great mood to start our fabulous night!
Natalie was invited by the Hachette Book Group to a pre-signing event and was able to snag me a spot too! We met up at Jackastors and the night began with a couple drinks, appetizers, bloggers and lots of laughs! The gals at Hachette Book Group Canada are fabulous and treated us to a wonderful night, and of course Melissa De La Cruz was an absolute thrill and treat to chat one on one with!
We were able to chat with her about anything and everything to do with THE RING & THE CROWN, while also getting to know her as a person. We never truly get one on one time with authors all to often even though many of us dream of that happening. A lot of us had questions about her books and about her in general and I was able to remember some of the conversations that happened. Here are some Q&A’s I was able to remember once the night was over:
1. Was there a lot of research done for THE RING & THE CROWN?
Definitely she said! They lived such a different life than we do now. Women back then would have such a busy day starting at 7AM and ending at almost 4AM EVERY. DAY! (Woah, I could not handle that at all!) Some for example would start with riding in the park, then leaving calling cards at suitors or friends houses, breakfast, lunch, tea, answering calling cards, dinner, making appearances at parties, escorted “dates”, shopping, dress fittings, etc. A lot of the women never noticed having everything done for them like Princess Marie in the book, so Melissa purposely included that notion in the novel.
2. How difficult or how was the experience of writing FIVE (5) different point of views?
Her style of writing for this challenge was writing the entire PLOT first and then writing each chapters until she was completely in the characters mindset then she would write that specific characters story all the way through, and continue go do so with the others. Its a unique writing style but when you have so many characters to keep track you can tell it worked for Melissa! She then tied all the chapters and characters together using the plot and “links” with each character.
I’ll admit when I was reading THE RING & THE CROWN it was a challenge at first with all the characters. Some become your favourite, some become annoying, but in the end I wouldn’t have pictured it any other way!
3. How did the ending end up ending the way that it did? (This question is diluted because I don’t want to spoil the novel for anyone who hasn’t read it)
Melissa divulged that she wrote a couple different endings and the one that had stuck with her and felt “right” to her was the one that ended up in the book. She also shared with us she was worried that readers wouldn’t “like” the ending (which is a fear I assume most writers have) but the unanimous vote amongst the table was that we bloggers loved it! Also, she shared with us a Novella WILL be coming out about one of the characters.
4. What prompted Melissa to write a story like THE RING & THE CROWN?
Melissa simply wanted to write a PRINCESS story. There are so many dark, and serious books out there, and she wanted to write something different from the average novel. She definitely hit the nail on the head with that comment – 100% different, light, fun & royal!
5. What prompted Melissa to set a fantasy novel in a historical time “real” setting, rather than create an entire new fantasy world?
She first started with the thought she would write an alternate universe of sorts to the American Revolution, paired with the thought of what if the American’s never won the war. She then came across the history of how the British always took claim over France, even though during the later years France was a republic. So, she started the novel further back in history and changed history a bit combining Canada & the States into one, and having Britain as the ruling power over everything, and one.
Melissa also never thought she’d include magic or the notion of a Merlin in the novel, but once she got to writing and setting the plot about she needed a conflict. There-in-lies where magic came in!
6. The cover is stunning – how did that come about?
She didn’t want a big poofy dress like all the other ones, so she took a little piece of history and decided on a flower crown like Queen Victoria did. She also wanted something bright, and not so dark and dreary on covers as of late. And voila you have the gorgeous and stylish cover of THE RING & THE CROWN.
It also has a TABLE OF CONTENT (love!) which the copy editors added in with titles to each chapter which Melissa was surprised about and liked as well!
7. Who was your favourite character to write?
Wolf! (without a doubt we agreed with her as well!) He was a fun, bad boy, stereotypical character to write about! Melissa was following Prince Harry through gossip & magazines at the time when thinking and creating Wolf. She did an excellent job with the fighter, bad boy stereotype – I for one adored him! She also really liked Leo a lot – another stereotypical character of “The Prince”. He definitely grows on you by the end of the novel which Melissa agreed with.
Melissa continued to chat and discuss other aspects of her books, some offers for TV shows for her other series, Blue Bloods & The Witches of East End, which the Witches of East End actually became a TV series by the Lifetime channel! As well as being a full time author, mom and co-writer with her husband, they also have a writing firm together where they get samples of pieces from people and if they like their writing style and if the writers like Melissa’s ideas they work together. I love seeing published authors working with unknown writers to enhance and help them along their own writing journey!
So there you have it, a night with Melissa De La Cruz! It was an amazing experience, and I learnt so much about her from the reader and blogger perspective but also just as a human being! We forget sometimes that authors have lives outside of their books and it was such a delight getting to know Melissa like that. The night came to an end with the actual book signing at the nearby Chapters, where she did some more Q&A and signed all of our copies of THE RING & THE CROWN!
Thank you to Katherine for extending the invitation to me from Hachette Book Group Canada! And I cannot WAIT to see what book #2 has in store for us!
Melissa De La Cruz Series: