Euterpe Author Cordelia Dinsmore interviewd Danielle de la Cruz, the author of "The Honeysuckle Dress," the 6th place winner of Euterpe's Young Adult Writer contest. She's being interviewed by Cordelia Dinsmore, author of Michaela's Gift, due for release on June 8.
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Good morning, everyone. I’m thrilled to be here today with Danielle Dela Cruz, one of the winners of Musa’s Young Adult Writing Contest. This is a quarterly contest that is open to writers between the ages of eleven and twenty-one. Danielle is fifteen, but she competed with writers from the upper age level.
So, let’s get on with this interview. Danielle, I’m very pleased to meet you, and would love to hear the details of how you discovered Musa’s Young Adult Writing Contest.
I received an email about it from Project Team Beta (it’s a volunteer group of knowledgeable beta proofreaders who provide technical and creative feedback to fan fiction authors).
I’m not familiar with that site, but I appreciate them for spreading the word about the contest. And it’s fortunate that you are on their mailing list, or we might not have had the pleasure of reading your entry, which I enjoyed, by the way.
So, how long have you been writing, Danielle, and what is your favorite genre to write in?
I started writing last May. I’d been practicing a few months before that, though. I don’t particularly have a favorite, although I often write romance stories. Any genre is fine with me except horror.
Oh, I hear you. I could never write horror. Too scary. Your story, The Honeysuckle Dress, placed 6th, which, considering you had to compete with the older set, is really very good. Now that you know you can do this, do you plan to enter more writing competitions?
It depends actually. Studying is my top priority at the moment. But, who knows?
I admire you for setting your priorities and sticking to them. That’s not an easy accomplishment. I read your entry, Danielle, and I enjoyed it. Poor Jane! She sure had the worst luck. But I don’t understand exactly what a Honeysuckle dress is. Is it the style, the designer, or just the sweetness of the colors? I just wondered if there was a significance for the dress to be a honeysuckle dress.
Thank you for reading and enjoying. Well, it’s a simple red-pink colored dress. Actually, a honeysuckle dress was the last thing in my mind when I decided to join and make an entry. In one of my accounts, I used the word honeysuckle as a name and searched for related pictures. Then, when I was writing, I thought I should give Jane a specific dress for the story to work out, and then I saw the honeysuckle dress, and that was it.
Well, it worked out just fine. That dress caused her a lot of problems, didn’t it? Aside from the dress, though, who, or what, was your inspiration for the story you submitted?
Honestly, I don’t know. I only thought about one-of-a-kind plots, and the mistaken hostage story entered my brain. I know. It’s lame.
It isn’t lame at all. You created believable characters. Your plot was solid, and you had a good story arc. Nothing lame about any of that. Can you share with us what your friends and family think of your writing, and whether or not this is something you plan to pursue further?
My family and friends know about this, and thankfully, they support me. Especially my mom. She encouraged me to go for it when I was hesitant to join the contest. If there’s an opportunity given to me, why not? But I have no plans of becoming an author in the future.
Well, I admire you for being so sure about it, but I hope you also realize that you do have a talent, so just keep that thought in the back of your mind somewhere. Someday you might change your mind.
Now I’d like to switch gears, and ask you to share with us the titles of your three all-time favorite books? What makes these your favorites?
They are the typical books: Twilight, Harry Potter, and Sherlock Holmes. I love Twilight because of the new vampire aspect and the romance; Harry Potter because it was well written; and Sherlock Holmes because mystery stories thrill and creep me at the same time, which is a good thing for me!
So, you like creepy, but not horror levels of creepiness. Good to know.
I understand you don’t want to pursue a writing career, but let’s pretend for a moment that you do. If you could choose anywhere in the world to write, where would that be? I want a clear visual picture of this place, so don’t just say, Jamaica, or Spain. I want to see the room, and what you are seeing when you look out the window – if there is a window.
I want to be at a high place. Like at the top of a mountain or a tower. I want to see the vast scenery and feel relaxed at the same time. The fog that envelops the air, the trees that look so tiny, the cold temperature, the strange sounds of the animals...
Oh, I can picture it. See? You’re a great writer already, whether you want to be one or not. Who do you feel has most influenced you with your writing? Has there been a special teacher, or perhaps one of your parents? Or maybe it’s a favorite author?
I guess, in my situation, it’s the authors. I think I can tell you that English is not my primary language. I have to observe American movies and how writers do their magic when I choose to write. I am still learning, though, and I think this contest is both a practice and an achievement for me.
You’re doing a great job so far. What made you decide to enter the Musa Young Adult Writing Contest? Was it the fabulous prizes?
I decided that maybe I could both learn and have fun here.
I hope you did both. But let’s get back to the prizes. I understand you won a gift card for your winning entry. If you haven’t already used it, what are your plans for it? If you already spent it, what did you use it for?
I am clueless. Like I said, I only joined for the experience, but then, the prize (that I wasn’t expecting) was something I hadn’t thought of.
So, I know you said you aren’t going to be a writer (even though you already are), but if you were going to be a writer, how would you celebrate the publication of your first novel?
Wow, publishing. Every author’s dream. Hmm, maybe if I could publish my first novel, the first thing I’d do is to thank everybody who helped me, and then, I would give them a nice treat. Like going to the movies or eating at a restaurant?
Those are wonderful ideas, Danielle. You strike me as a very thoughtful, generous, and self-assured young woman. I thank you again for granting me this opportunity to interview you, and I wish you much success in whatever career choices you decide to pursue.
Thank you, as well, for providing these questions. Thanks for all the praises that make me pink and I hope you’re not that dismayed with my pathetic answers.
Your answers were delightful, Danielle, as are you. Don’t forget this is a quarterly contest. I’m not sure of all the rules, but you might want to consider entering it again next time.