Witches of East End may be a spinoff of Blue Bloods, the popular young adult series about vampires in New York, but longtime fans of Melissa de la Cruz likely can’t outgrow this lust-filled series about a coven of Hamptons witches trying to keep their magical powers under wraps.With her first foray into adult fantasy about to hit the shelves, de la Cruz talks about the new series, her fans and her own “cult obsession.”
Read more books by Melissa de la Cruz at Kirkus.
The title of the book sounds similar to John Updike’s The Witches of Eastwick. Any connection?
It was my agent who came up with the title—and I liked it. I was a little worried at first that it was going to sound a little knock-offy, but it also had a Great Gatsby feel to it with the East End, East Egg kind of thing, so it feels new.
How do the Witches of East End relate to the Blue Bloods series?
The universe is in the Blue Bloods universe, so there’s a little explanation as to how the witches and the vampires co-exist and some of theBlue Bloods characters appear in Witches.
Freya Beauchamp appears in Bloody Valentine, but she’s not a Blue Bloods character. She had a fun background, which was a bartender in New York, and now she’s a bartender in the Hamptons. I thought it would be kind of fun if she hooked up with one of the Blue Bloods characters, with Oliver, who has a broken heart. I was thinking, how does one really get over a broken heart, and I thought it would be cool for him to have a rebound relationship with a hot witch.
Why did you decide to write your new series for adults instead of teens?
I was on tour for The Van Alen Legacy (Blue Bloods, Book 4) in ’09, and I just noticed that a lot of my readers were much older than I thought. I’ve been writing YA for more than a decade now, and I just thought it would be fun to do something different. I’d done a lot of high school stories, coming-of-age stories—I felt a little tapped out on that. I wanted to write about something new, about characters who weren’t discovering who they were. They knew who they were, and they were faced with a whole new set of problems.
Was it challenging writing a story about witches in modern New England?
I really struggled with that. What are they doing? Are they out? Are they practicing or not? I really wanted them to blend in and really be part of their community in a way that was believable. I always want to use a little history in my books, so I used a little bit of the Salem Witch trials thing, so something dark and terrible happens and now they can’t practice magic. They’re kind of like, these ordinary people. I definitely struggled with how much magic to use—would anybody believe it? But I was thinking in this culture, we believe in horoscopes, we sage our apartments. There’s definitely a feeling of wanting to believe in these things, so I turned that up a little bit with the herbs and the fun Wiccan spells.
Two of the main characters, Freya and Ingrid, have very Norse-sounding names. Why is that?
I definitely wanted to include the Norse mythology, which I’ve been obsessed with since I was a fifth grader. I loved it way more than the Greek mythology. It was something that not a lot of people knew about, it was very much my own kind of cult obsession.
What do you like about Norse mythology?
The Greeks are always victorious and almost soap-operatic. I don’t find them romantic. Zeus has a lot of affairs, so does Apollo—everybody is getting it on with swans or whatever. With Norse mythology, it’s epic and dramatic and tragic. There’s only victory in death and battle. It’s kind of grim.I always like that sadness to it.
What do you have planned for the rest of the series?
Blue Bloods is one big story told in about eight or nine books now. With Witches of East End, I kind of wanted more of like an open-ended series like (author) Robert B. Parker, kind of an adult mystery series where there’s something new in every book and it’s in the same world, but it’s not this one, overarching story. I don’t know how many there will be.