Stop everything you’re doing. Yes, you read that right. A YA retelling of Alexander Hamilton’s life story hit bookstores last week, and it’s EVERY BIT as addictive as the beloved musical. Melissa de la Cruz, the New York Times best-selling author of the Blue Bloods series and The Descendents series, tackles everyone’s favorite founding father with an epic love story that will leave you breathless. We chatted with de la Cruz about her favorite spots to write, her creativity tips, and what she really thinks about La La Land. Scroll on to learn more about this incredible writer!

Brit + Co: Describe your book in six words or less.

Melissa de la Cruz: It’s all in the title :)

B+C: Where/when do you do your best writing?

MDLC: At my office, in front of my 30-inch monitor with 200-point font, in total silence. I work best under the gun, on deadline.

B+C: What’s your go-to cure for when you’re stuck in a creativity rut?

MDLC: Take a walk, go on the treadmill, run errands. Get out of the office and clear my head.

B+C: What two lady heroes do you turn to for inspiration, and why?

MDLC: JK Rowling, author, billionaire, and philanthropist; and Diana Vreeland, for her style, scathing wit, and jolie-laide savoir faire! JK because she’s brilliant and kind, and DV because you don’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.

B+C: What’s your latest Instagram obsession?

MDLC: So embarrassing, but many of my friends have kids in their 20s and they are all so fabulous. I’m a bit in awe of how cool the kids are today. I’m a lurker aunt. And I’m not sharing because I don’t want them to think I’m creepy!

B+C: Can you name a book that you think deserves a little more love + recognition?

MDLC: My friend Margaret Stohl’s upcoming Royce Rolls is as funny and biting as Maria Semple’s Where’d You Go, Bernadette. Don’t let the YA label keep you from reading it. It’s hilarious, mean, and scarily timely.

B+C: What’s next on your to-read pile?

MDLC: I can’t wait to read Laini Taylor’s Strange the Dreamer. I’m out of the country and couldn’t get a copy before my trip. Can’t wait to come back and buy it!

B+C: What advice do you have for aspiring creative ladies?

MDLC: Don’t believe the message of the film La La Land. You CAN have love and your artistic pursuits/ambition/career. I can’t tell you how many of my creative friends hate that movie for that message, myself included. Although hate is too strong a word, perhaps more like “not amused?”

Got an author you’d like to see interviewed? Tweet us @BritandCo and let us know!

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(Photos via Denise Bovee Photography and Chris Jackson/Getty)