Books Q&A

Q: A reader asks (sorry you didn’t put your name in your email): “In the Blue Bloods series, it implies that Allegra is in a coma voluntarily, because she won’t take a human familiar. So, why does Mimi say Jack will end up that way if he breaks the bond? Nowhere in the book does it say Allegra is in a coma because she broke her bond to Charles. So why would this happen to Jack or Mimi if the bond is broken?”

A: This is one of those questions that I get that makes me realize, “OH! The story that is in my head is not making it on the page as much as clearly as I had hoped.” What Mimi means is that when Jack breaks the bond—he will be weakened, and become a broken man…Allegra being in a coma is a RESULT of her weakness, of her moral failing…her coma is how the bond-breaking manifested itself in her life. It doesn’t mean that Jack will necessarily fall into a coma as well, but that, like Allegra, something in him will be broken and slowly destroyed if he breaks his heavenly promise.  Mimi says that Allegra is “useless and destroyed” because the bond-breaking causes a kind of insanity in the bond-break-ers. Because Allegra rebuffed Charles, something fundamental inside her cracked and she became a woman frozen in a bed, not alive, but not dead either…just broken. If Jack breaks his bond with Mimi, something just as terrible will happen to him—whether it will manifest itself as a lifetime frozen on a hospital bed, we don’t know yet—each bond-breaker reacts differently, but Mimi knows that the breaking does create a kind of paralysis, a deterioration in the bondmate. That is what Mimi meant when she warns Schuyler that Jack would end up that way: ultimately, if Jack chooses Schuyler and does not follow through on his word, he will end up just as helpless and tragic as Allegra.

Rebecca asks “What was the first book you wrote? Au Pairs? Fresh off the Boat? Cat’s Meow?”

A: My first novel was Cat’s Meow. You can buy it on Amazon or B&N.  It is a picaresque story of Cat McAllister, a broke fashionista-socialite who adopts a Chinese baby because it’s fashionable (Cat would definitely be adopting Ethiopian these days to be more like Madonna), tries to marry a man with a “von” or “de” in his name—not just a last name—but a country!, and whose best friend is a drag queen named India and whose maid is a Sri Lankan au pair named Bannerjee, who becomes more famous than Cat and goes to all the right parties. It was very much fun to write and inspired by PG Wodehouse, Jane Austen, Paul Rudnick, Spy, Vogue, MTV, and my experiences as a fashion editor and a broke-but-fabulous person in New York. It was well-reviewed in the New Yorker (“a promising debut!”), The Los Angeles Times (“Melissa de la Cruz has created a rambunctious first novel that deserves to have its every page encrusted with sand, its binding ringed with condensation from highball glasses—a perfect beach read.”) Glamour (I can’t remember what they said but it was complimentary) and many others. My friend Simon Doonan declared me “The Jackie Collins of the Moomba generation!” in his effusive blurb. (Does anyone still remember Moomba? I’m dating myself aren’t I?) It’s a blurb that still lives in my daily life today, thanks to my husband Mike, who will declare anything “The Blank of the Moomba Generation!” Like, “That’s the preschool of the Moomba generation!” Or “The mojito is the cocktail of the Moomba generation!” Or whatever. Usually it’s much less glamorous, whatever he is declaring is the Ne Plus Ultra of the Moomba Generation. I swear, Mike has had WAY too much fun with this. See what I put up with? Midwestern sarcasm. Ah. Anyway. I liked being called the Jackie of the generation. Even though Cat’s Meow has NO SEX in it at all. (Simon told me: “I didn’t get a chance to read it, but I gave you a faaaaabulous blurb!” I love Simon.) Long story short: The book launched my writing career. I sold it when I was 27 years old and it was published in August of 2001, when I was 29. I still read it sometimes and it still makes me laugh.

Now one may ask how does one go from satiric-aspiring-yet-shelved-in-chick-lit section author to vampire queen? I don’t know. But I do know that people are complicated and interesting, and that there are many facets to everyone’s personality, and those are mine. And I read everything from cooking memoirs to chicklit to more strenuous stuff, and I like it all. And writing Blue Bloods came as naturally for me as writing Cat’s Meow.

Happy Wednesday!