'Witches Of East End' From Page To Screen: An Author's Perspective

Melissa de la Cruzby Melissa de la Cruz

This past Sunday was the premiere episode of Lifetime's "Witches of East End" series, the television show based on my novel of the same name. Ever since the show was announced and publicized, I've been bathing in the warm afterglow of kudos, congratulations and well wishes. It's been a fun ride. And I've told everyone who's asked what I'll tell you now. What's it like to see your book on the screen? For me, the answer is: VERY PLEASANT.

I can't find another word to describe it. It's been a wonderful ride. I've been selling my books to Hollywood for over a decade. Many of my books have been optioned many times. I was tired of being seduced and abandoned by Hollywood. I'd had too many dreams, and too many dreams crushed.

So by the time "Witches of East End" came up for sale, I was old, chickens. I was old and tired and jaded and ready for nothing to come of it. I didn't even think about it much. The head of my management company, 3Arts, the venerable Erwin Stoff, told me he would like to produce it before it was published. I had no idea how BIG this was. I just took it for granted—oh, you too? Many, many people have wanted to produce my books, dear Erwin...get in line. But I said yes. I liked Erwin. I liked the movies and TV shows he'd made.

Erwin told me from the beginning, "It's going to happen." Somehow, I believed those words and they didn't disappoint me. I read the script. I cried. I was so incredibly moved by the amount of thought and work that went into it. I felt as if Maggie Friedman, our fantastic showrunner, had read my book DEEPLY and then TRANSLATED it into a television show. I was impressed and awed. I thought, "Wow. I really think this is going to happen."

Melissa de la CruzI went to visit the set. I met the beautiful Julia Ormond, who is so much more regal than you can imagine. I hugged the lovely Rachel Boston, whose infectious charm brings Ingrid to life. I was spellcast by utterly gorgeous Jenna Dewan-Tatum, who is the one and only Freya. Madchen Amick is dead sexy wicked as new character Aunt Wendy. The "boys," as I like to call them, are just as delicious. Killian is played by the sweetest heartthrob Daniel DiTomasso, and Dash (Bran in the books) by suave and sexy Eric Winter. What I like most about the show is that they all look like a family. The Beauchamps look like they are all related, and the Gardiner boys do too. It's really cool. Believable.

Excited is not the word. I am beyond excited. I am flattered and moved and amazed and awed and impressed. I am the godmother to this show, my book is the basis for this magic. I watched the pilot, and I was thrilled to bits. It is dark, sexy, smart and funny. “True Blood” meets “Gilmore Girls.” “Practical Magic” meets “Dallas.” “Revenge” meets “The Vampire Diaries.” (I could go on, it's sort of fun and I like all these TV shows!) It is its own creation, at once both more and less than the novel, and it complements the book beautifully.

Yes, there have been changes made, and the television show stands on its own merit, but the show is true to the spirit of the book, to the essence of the characters and the story —about mothers and daughters and sisters and a smoking-hot love triangle. The structure, foundation and heart of the show is rooted in my novel. As an example, I was a fan of "Sex and the City" the novel as well as the long-running television show, which were different from each other but equally awesome. I think “Witches of East End” will be the same.

How do I feel? Content. Happy. Satisfied. Nervous. Anxious! Excited for Sundays. Hopeful for the witches and for everyone who worked so hard on it. I wish us ten seasons of success, one hundred episodes, superstardom for our amazing cast, an anchor show for our amazingly supportive network, a flurry of magazine covers, a rabid fanbase, Hall H at Comic Con, dozens of F**k Yeah Tumblr blogs, millions of books sold, a solid pop culture phenomenon...

As the tag line says you get what you witch for.

So here's hoping!

"Witches of East End" airs Sundays at 10 p.m. on Lifetime.