Well, my lovely Sunday actually began before the book signing with an amazing opportunity to be one of four bloggers to get a one-on-one interview with Melissa! Look for that interview to come later this week.
I headed over to Indigo Yorkdale shortly after noon to meet Wendy & Christa who were already there, and graciously saved me a seat. While waiting, Melissa’s Blue Bloods tour team had set up on the side a photo-op area where we could get dressed up like the vampire socialites from the series and get a photo taken like the book covers. How incredibly fun! (Also a REALLY nice touch that the skyline was of Toronto!) With cupcakes and sparkling beverages being handed out, this was definitely the most fun waiting period for a signing that we had ever been to. After our photo, we were handed a card with a website & barcode/ID number where we could log in and download a copy of our photo.
Promptly at 1pm, Melissa took the stage and regaled us with some behind the scenes stories of the writing of the whole Blue Bloods series. She had received a phone call from her agent in December of 2004 with a proposition to write a darker fantasy when her editor for Au Pairs had moved to Hyperion. Melissa had no idea that the “tsunami” of vampires was about to hit the mainstream when she came up with the entire idea for Blue Bloods. Originally, the editor had wanted 19 books out of the series, but Melissa said she could do 9. The series initially was supposed to be a trilogy, then a prequel trilogy, and then a wrap-up trilogy until the third book, Revelations, ended up being quite long and had to be split up into two books. In the end, she scrapped the prequel idea after seeing how bad the Star Wars prequels were!
Some fun facts about the series:
- Masquerade (book 2) was the most fun & easiest to write. Melissa wrote it while she was pregnant
- Melissa thought the original cover for book 1, Blue Bloods, was too generic. The final cover is actually the neck of her editor!
- The release of The Van Alen Legacy (book 4) marked the highest moment in her life as well as her lowest. Within a few weeks, while Melissa was on tour for the immensely successful book 4 of the series, her father passed away. She wanted to take the time off to grieve and wasn’t ready to go back to writing yet, so her husband – with whom she has collaborated with right from the beginning of the series – actually wrote the first couple chapters of book 5, Misguided Angel! (Which, she laughs, is probably why the book opens with an action-packed boat chase scene)
- The biggest advice for writing Gates of Paradise (book 7) was that at this point, it’s between the author and the reader, who has been following the series all along. Forget the publishers and editors, it’s between you and them. Tell the story.
- There WILL be an adult Blue Bloods spin-off but she isn’t saying too much since the original announcement had a major spoiler for the last book. It’s going to be a whole new story once this Blue Bloods one has wrapped up – but with some familiar faces as well
- She also has an adult novel coming out in September 2013, entitled Frozen.
- You get one shot with Melissa. “If you don’t have anything nice to say to me, you will get deleted. Or blocked. Life is too short to listen to that negativity.” <– I loved this. She’s right and we often put ourselves through too much stress & grief for other people’s rudeness.
After the 25 minute chat, there were only 2 questions from the crowd before it was opened up for book signing – and a good thing too! Melissa has written so many books and many different series, so there were quite a few people with piles and piles of her novels! We were told she was only personalizing her newest book, but she ended up personalizing all of them that people brought. (I had an extra copy of Van Alen Legacy to get signed, to give away for Paris Month, but in the rush of all the signing, the giveaway copy is now also personalized to me…. )
An incredibly fun afternoon and huge thanks to Hachette Book Group, the Indigo team and Melissa de la Cruz!