Return to the Isle of the Lost brings back all the best of Disney’s hit movie Descendants in a wickedly fun new novel. I haven’t finished the book yet (and will do a complete review when I do), but I can tell you that already it’s even more engaging and fun than the last! With this new story having just come out and a new movie in the works for next year, I had the opportunity thanks to the folks at Disney to interview both the author Melissa de la Cruz and Sofia Carson who stars as Evie in the smash Disney Channel film.
When we got to the interview, both Melissa and Sofia were in the middle of a promotional shoot for the book. It was exciting and really interesting to see so much involved with the release of Return to the Isle of the Lost. And this was only the beginning of a long day for the two who would later meet up with Cameron Boyce who stars as Carlos in Descendants for a reading of Melissa’s book. But despite the hectic schedule, both of them were exceedingly gracious and kind with their time.
We started the interview with some questions for Melissa:
Melissa what was the process of writing this book like compared to Isle of the Lost? I’m assuming you had different boundaries for the novel because of the upcoming Descendants movie in 2017.
You know the first book was a lot harder because I wanted to get the tone right and I kind of hit upon “fairy tales,” but it took a long time. It took a bunch of drafts, but once I got it right it was much easier. But the second book I kind of knew the tone already. We kind of had a little bit more freedom because there isn’t a movie right after this book. There’s a movie next year so the third book kind of sets up that movie so we had a little bit more leeway with adventures. I was able to pitch an adventure on the Isle of the Lost and kind of work with anything that I wanted really. We have Sword in the Stone in this book which is really fun and then Ben travels to Neverland which is really fun too. It was a little bit easier (writing the second book) because we knew the world already.
Did watching the performances of the actors in the first movie Descendants change or influence how you wrote Return to the Isle of the Lost?
Yeah, definitely. When I was writing the first book they were still shooting the first movie so I wasn’t able to watch it. I watched it in revisions and afterward I’ve seen it like 100,000 times. My daughter is a big Descendants fan. Now the characters in my mind are Sofia and Dove and Boo Boo so when I write I picture them doing all the stuff.
Other than the main four – Evie, Mal, Jay and Carlos – who was your favorite to write?
Ben is really fun. I definitely like Jane. I like Audrey because she’s very sassy. She kind of runs that line between being a good princess but also being a little spoiled so that’s really fun, too.
During our time together, I asked a couple of fun questions of the two of them:
Besides Melissa’s books what is your favorite one to read? Sofia: Besides, Melissa’s? The Fault in Our Stars. I love re-reading it. It’s so beautiful. Melissa: I’m a big fantasy fan so The Lord of the Rings.
Besides Descendants, what is your favorite movie? Sofia: Moulin Rouge. Melissa: You know what’s crazy? That’s my favorite movie, too. Sofia: You’re kidding me! Melissa: No, I’m just sitting here thinking, “These are my people!” Sofia: Literally when I’m home I’m watching that movie every single night. I would die to work with Baz Luhrmann.
Read part 2 of our interview with Melissa and Sophia and find out what Sophia has to say about school, family, and whether or not Evie is truly evil!