Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Melissa de la Cruz on Being Fearless

We're so thrilled to have Melissa de la Cruz on the blog today. She is the co-author of the forthcoming YA novel Frozen, Book one in the Heart of Dread series, which releases on 9/17. She's also the author of the popular Blue Bloods series and the Witches of the East End series, which will air on Lifetime starting this fall.

Be Fearless
by Melissa de la Cruz

The most important piece of advice I've been given as a writer is to be fearless. Not only in your writing, but in your publishing career as well. Many writers who are not published suffer from the feedback fear – they work on their stories and books alone, in the dark, without anyone reading it, and they put off sending it out – keeping it in the back drawer and working on it forever, waiting for the day it is perfect, afraid of what people will say about it. Mostly the fear stems from the worry that one's writing is not up to snuff, that people will stomp on your precious words—your precious novel—and the threat of such rejection causes writers to shrink from the world and their stories never see the light of day.

I conquered my fear early, I was never afraid of what people thought of my work, and if people don't like it, I wasn't afraid of that either, because it was just an opinion. Writing is art, and whether it is good or bad is just an opinion, not a fact. I wanted to be a writer for as long as I remember, and in high school and college, had no fear of sharing my work with others, listening to feedback and acknowledging it.

You can't be frightened of what people think of your work, you write to be read, and to be read means to be understood, or in some cases, misunderstood. Thick skin is armor and protection, as a writer you cannot allow the reaction to your work to affect your ability to write.

Of course, you must also learn how to use constructive criticism to your advantage. An editor's notes, a thoughtful critique from a friend and colleague, are incredibly helpful to honing your talent, and allowing you to help make your book a better and easier read. If you never respond to criticism, it is very difficult to get published. You need to learn how to take advice and use it to become a better writer.

In your writing, you should be fearless and relentless as well, to be able to write with honesty about painful emotion is a gift and will lend your writing a deep authenticity that readers will respond to. They will recognize themselves in you, and they will look for your books again and again. They will become your loyal readers.

Writing and publishing is an amazing high-wire act, and it requires fearlessness. Jump off the cliff. Dive off the edge. Write what you bleed. Send it to the world. Be fearless.

About the Author

Melissa de la Cruz is the New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of many critically acclaimed and award-winning novels for teens including The Au Pairs series, the Blue Bloods series, the Ashleys series, the Angels on Sunset Boulevard series and the semi-autobiographical novel Fresh off the Boat.

Her books for adults include the novel Cat’s Meow, the anthology Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys and the tongue-in-chic handbooks How to Become Famous in Two Weeks or Less and The Fashionista Files: Adventures in Four-inch heels and Faux-Pas.

She has worked as a fashion and beauty editor and has written for many publications including The New York Times, Marie Claire, Harper’s Bazaar, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Allure, The San Francisco Chronicle, McSweeney’s, Teen Vogue, CosmoGirl! and Seventeen. She has also appeared as an expert on fashion, trends and fame for CNN, E! and FoxNews.

Melissa grew up in Manila and moved to San Francisco with her family, where she graduated high school salutatorian from The Convent of the Sacred Heart. She majored in art history and English at Columbia University (and minored in nightclubs and shopping!).

Melissa lives in Los Angeles and Palm Springs with her family.

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About the Book

From New York Times bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz and Michael Johnston comes this remarkable first book in a spellbinding new series about the dawn of a new kind of magic.

Welcome to New Vegas, a city once covered in bling, now blanketed in ice. Like much of the destroyed planet, the place knows only one temperature—freezing. But some things never change. The diamond in the ice desert is still a 24-hour hedonistic playground and nothing keeps the crowds away from the casino floors, never mind the rumors about sinister sorcery in its shadows.

At the heart of this city is Natasha Kestal, a young blackjack dealer looking for a way out. Like many, she’s heard of a mythical land simply called “the Blue.” They say it’s a paradise, where the sun still shines and the waters are turquoise. More importantly, it’s a place where Nat won’t be persecuted, even if her darkest secret comes to light.

But passage to the Blue is treacherous, if not impossible, and her only shot is to bet on a ragtag crew of mercenaries led by a cocky runner named Ryan Wesson to take her there. Danger and deceit await on every corner, even as Nat and Wes find themselves inexorably drawn to each other. But can true love survive the lies? Fiery hearts collide in this fantastic tale of the evil men do and the awesome power within us all.



  1. Great advice about being fearless, Melissa. For me, it's not so much the fear of reviews but the fear of writing under deadline. Soon, I will just plunge through that door to the other side. Can't wait to read your new book.

  2. "Write what you bleed." Love that! Yep, writing is art, and it's VERY subjective. Also I adore the cover of the FROZEN book--very eye catching, as is the summary. Sounds awesome to read!

  3. Very good advice. Thanks for the post. I think the cover is terrific.

  4. Love this. Perfect way to start the writing day: Be fearless. Thanks for sharing.


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