Several weeks ago, Toronto had the chance to welcome back author Melissa de la Cruz to promote her latest YA novel The Ring and the Crown. This year, the signing was at Chapters Queensway out in the West end of the city, a welcome change for many attendees! While Yorkdale is perhaps easier to get to for many people, the Queensway store is much more conducive to author events, with a better set-up and open area. For those that wonder if it’s worth trekking out to Etobicoke for signings? It definitely is for the better vantage points, seating and visibility.
A small group of bloggers were invited to a quick meet and greet beforehand where we got to catch up with each other as well as chat a little bit with the guest of honour. After about an hour, we all headed over to the bookstore in preparation for the signing where we met up with a group of more familiar faces! It seemed to have been a while since we all saw each other so, as book friends are wont to do, we picked up where we left off and passed the time talking books, trips and the upcoming Fan Expo! 🙂
Just after 7pm, Melissa de la Cruz took the stage in a vibrant red/orange top (that reminded us all of the Spring that didn’t seem to want to stay in the city) and spoke about her newest book. Throughout the writing of The Ring and the Crown, Melissa would refer to it as her “princess book”. She wanted to do an Edith Warton alternate history and initially didn’t want to include magic into this one. However, when writing about what if America was still part of the British empire and faced with what the conflict would be, magic seemed to fit right into the store. That being said, when using magic, it can’t be a free-for-all. You need a “system” with structure and rules to abide by. The Ring and the Crown follows many main characters because Melissa didn’t know who to focus on. There seemed to be a general consensus during the meet & greet from those who had finished the book on the ending, and the author had chuckled that if you’ve read War & Peace, you’ll know how the book ends.
I loved that Melissa spoke about her love for Baz Luhrrman movies (me too!) and that she has those soundtracks as the background of the story. Besides the movies themselves, I absolutely love the soundtracks to his films so this was a really good way to describe and visualize this world.
Speaking about her other projects, Melissa spoke a bit about the show Witches of East End, based off her book series. She laughed that it’s distracting how good looking and goofy Killian (played by Daniel DiTomasso) is. A lot of her writing has been optioned for film or TV but not everything always panned out. The Au Pairs were also going to become a show and even already had Leighton Meester, Selena Gomez and Rihanna slated for roles, but when Rihanna declined the project died. Coming out later this year, Melissa is to release an adult novel as a Blue Bloods spinoff entitled Vampires of Manhattan.
Following the chat, there was a brief Q&A where Melissa shared that she recently finished reading Vampires in the Lemon Grove by Karen Russell and that she had always loved reading fantasy as a teenager and has always been drawn to this genre. She had been inspired to write at age 8 and when she was 11, reading Sweet Valley with ghost writers, one of which was 22, it had inspired her that it “didn’t seem that far off or hard” to do! (Okay, I had no idea Sweet Valley had ghost writers!) As is the norm, once Q&A period was over, we waited for our turn to line up and get our book(s) signed. Christa & I, in line together had joked with Melissa about her other novel, Frozen, and what a coincidence it was coinciding with the Disney hit film (as well as our tundra-like temperatures this winter).
A big thank you to the staff at Chapters Queensway, the Hachette Book Group team and Melissa de la Cruz for a great evening!