Mabuhay! Interview with Melissa de la Cruz

Yesterday was the Philippines' Independence Day and for the third year in a row, Alexa of Alexa Loves Books and I are back with MABUHAY as a way to celebrate Filipinos in literature. We love getting to share a little bit of our culture with all of you and connecting with authors whose stories are inspired by our heritage. 

I'm super excited to have Melissa de la Cruz on the blog today answering these these very important questions:

As a Filipino, what do you find special or inspirational about Filipino culture? What aspects of it did you try to integrate into your upcoming novel?


I’m very proud of my Filipino heritage, and I was excited to share more of it with my readers, especially in Something in Between. In the novel, Jasmine De Los Santos is the over-achieving eldest child in a tight-knit Filipino family.

I wanted to paint a picture of a typical Filipino family, and share our cultural values—for instance, in the Filipino culture, our family does not stop with the nuclear family, “family” means extended family, which goes all the way to second-cousins-twice-removed-of-our-elderly-great-aunt. There’s a character named “Lola Cherry” who isn’t Jasmine’s grandmother but who is as beloved as their real grandmother, and acts as a grandmother to her. I love the Filipino definition of family because it is much more encompassing, more embracing of everyone who is dear to us. Growing up, I was close not just to my parents, but my aunts and uncles, even friends were called “Tita” (Aunt) and “Tito” (Uncle.) 

There is also a lot of Filipino food showcased in the book, as Jasmine’s mom, like mine, is a great cook, and whips up turon, bibingka, pancit, fried chicken (I’m getting hungry just thinking about it) for the many family meals and celebrations. I also wanted to write the book because the issue of illegal immigration is a real one in our community. Many Filipinos move to America with the hopes of staying here permanently. My own family moved here on a tourist visa that we were able to convert to a business visa when we arrived. The fear of running afoul of immigration law is very real, and the many years it takes to achieve legal and permanent status is a long and frustrating journey. But Filipinos are resilient and good-humored, and that’s also part of the culture I wanted to show in my book: that no matter what happens, Filipino families stick together.

I think in the end, that’s what’s special and inspirational about Filipinos and Filipino culture, we are able to see the humor in even the darkest situations, and take things lightly. So while Something in Between tackles a dark and difficult topic, it is imbued with the lightness and humor of my native culture and background.


Thank you Melissa for doing this guest post and for
creating books like Something in Between
It doesn't come out until September, but add it to your TBR now.


Make sure to check out Alexa's post as she shares a Filipino meal inspired by Out on Good Behavior by Dahlia Adler and chats with YA author Roshani Chokshi

Dahlia Adler has generously offered up three (3) e-books - a full set of her Radleigh University series: Last Will and Testament, Right of First Refusal and Out on Good Behavior - for a giveaway! We're both big fans of the series and hope that you enter to win them!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

To see our posts from previous years: 

1 comment

  1. I loved seeing Melissa's thoughts on being Filipino and integrating that into her work. It's really inspiring to see someone so successful who shares the same roots! Plus, Something in Between sounds utterly wonderful. Cannot wait to read it!


with love,