BWW Interview: Melissa De La Cruz, Author of ALEX AND ELIZA
New York Times Best Selling Author Melissa de la Cruz has just released her latest novel, ALEX & ELIZA--which debuted this week at #2 on the New York Times Best Sellers List! The novel is a historical fiction retelling centered around Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Schuyler, so of course, Broadway World had to sit down to chat about this exciting new release!
Q: A lot of readers don't realize you named your main character from the Blue Bloods series, Schuyler Van Alen, after Elizabeth Schuyler, and that you've been fascinated with her since long before Hamilton became a cultural phenomenon. What drew you to fall in love with this remarkable woman and her story?
Melissa: I'd always been interested in Alexander Hamilton, mostly because he was a Columbia graduate like me. (It was King's College back then). We Columbians are really proud of our founding father. So I think a lot of us know about him and how important he was to the founding of the country. (I believe they even mention it during Orientation LOL) When I was doing research for Blue Bloods, I discovered that General Schuyler's daughter Elizabeth married Alexander Hamilton. I knew the Schuylers were one of the oldest and richest families in New York, and I was intrigued that she had married Hamilton. I just thought it was cool. And now I'm really glad because everyone knows how to pronounce Schuyler now. When I was publishing Blue Bloods everyone called her Shoo-ler and it drove me crazy LOL.
Q: What sort of research went into writing ALEX & ELIZA? What are some of the neatest facts you discovered about them; was there anything you sadly couldn't work into the novel?
Melissa: I read a lot of books about the time period, especially books on women during the Revolutionary War, a biography of Elizabeth Schuyler, the Chernow book, and all the archives of the letters, etc. I had two research assistants, one of whom was a history professor. So they would cobble a dossier of facts and I would put it together and sort of choose what I wanted to highlight.
I love the poem that Alexander Hamilton wrote early in their courtship. I was going to include it, but didn't have space. I love that he forgot the password to the fort after a night with her. I love that he was such a fool for love.
Q: What are some of your favorite moments in Alex and Eliza's history together that made it into ALEX & ELIZA?
Melissa: Oh, I think I answered this on the earlier question.
Q: What were some of the liberties you took with Alex and Eliza's love story when filling in the blanks?
Melissa: I knew Eliza had crushes on other guys, but there was never the pressure to marry someone else. But I wanted the conflict and to set up a guy who was the opposite of Alex, who had the name and the riches. I grew up on Reality Bites, the love triangle between Winona and Ethan Hawke and Ben Stiller and I think for a lot of women that is a choice-do we marry the sweet sensitive poor guy or the rich bastard? Hee.
Q: Do you think you may eventually write another novel set in this world, be it a continuation of Alex and Eliza's story or featuring another person in their lives such as one of Eliza's sisters or Alex's friends?
Melissa: Actually, the sequel was just announced in Publishers Weekly! Putnam will publish LOVE & WAR: An Alex and Eliza Story in Spring 2018.