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Author Spotlight

Step into the realm of THE ENCANTO’S DAUGHTER: Melissa de la Cruz’s Inspiration

Prepare to step into the realm of The Encanto’s Daughter! We asked author Melissa de la Cruz to share her behind-the-scenes inspiration for writing her newest, magical royal fantasy. Scroll down to read and remember to get your copy here!

My new novel THE ENCANTO’S DAUGHTER is about a California teenager who discovers she is the heir to the throne of the fairy realm Biringan. She has to learn about her fairy heritage and in doing so discovers that her father, the king’s death, might not have been as natural as first thought. To solve the mystery she has the help of a handsome knight from a rival court who may or may not be loyal to the crown.

I was inspired to write the Encanto’s Daughter from growing up knowing Filipino folktales and superstitions. My paternal grandfather practiced “anting-anting,” wherein tokens worn on the body are believed to ward off evil spirits and offer protection. In our house, my dad would tell us to be good for the duendes would steal our food and our toys. I was deathly afraid of mambabarangs, witches who casts spells on people. I thought it would be fun to write a fairy story rooted in the mythology of my country.

One of the things I thought would be fun was to write a manners and status based story set in a fantasy realm. Something like Jane Austen but with fairies. That was my initial idea for the book, and from there it developed into more of a mystery and a thriller. But I thought it would be fun if people were just as petty and status conscious in this world as they are in a Regency novel.

A friend said that most of my stories are about discovering a new land and feeling the loss of a home. That theme is certainly apparent here, where MJ has to leave behind everything she knows and learn the rules of a new land quickly. She’s also someone who’s never had a home – they keep moving from place to place. At last she discovers this is where she belongs. I think that’s a yearning I relate to a lot as an immigrant.

I’ve been a huge fan of Holly’s fairy books and love all her novels particularly the ones set in Faerie. They are so rich and descriptive and evocative and I wanted to write something like Tithe and The Cruel Prince but with a Filipino faerie mythology. Her books were on my mind when I was writing Encanto for sure. A bit of a homage to one of the best YA writers around!

Penguin Teen