Melinda Metz is the author of more than 60 books for kids and teens, including the Echoes series, and the Roswell High series, basis of the TV show Roswell. Her latest book, Sacrifice, a collaboration with oft-time writing partner, Laura J. Burns, came out in September 2011. With Laura, Melinda was on the writing staff of two TV shows, Roswell and Missing, and sold two TV pilots. Before becoming a writer, She was an editor, first with Berkley Publishing, then with Parachute Publishing. She’s had experience editing romances, mysteries, and thrillers for adults, as well as young adult and middle-grade fiction. Recently, She’s begun teaching creative writing.
Melinda Metz is the author of one of my favorite YA series of all time: Roswell High. Without her books, we wouldn’t have three seasons of the awesome show that we all love. The Roswell television series and Roswell High books continue to gain fans all over the world, every year. It is a testament to the quality and originality of Melinda’s writing. Because of the nature of a writer’s work, I find it is imperative to do a psychological analysis of each author. Melinda has been one of the top people on my list to test and diagnose. I’m sharing this classified information with you for learning purposes only!
How did you end up writing the Roswell High series?
Pocket Books wanted to do a series about teen aliens in high school and hired the book packager 17th Street Productions (now Alloy) to develop one for them. Laura J. Burns worked up an awesome proposal, and when it came time to look for a writer, I was one of the people she had write sample chapters to show Pocket. I was the second choice, but by a twist of fate the first person dropped out, and I got the job. Yay!
Do you believe in Aliens?
I’m not sure. (Why would I be sure, right?) I think there definitely could be some other beings out there.
I really enjoyed the way you describe Max connecting with Liz to heal her, and how you described how things were happening inside her on a cellular level. Do you think the magic of that translated well to the show?
I did think it translated really well. While I got to describe the cellular stuff and Liz’s aura dimming, I thought the music and the expression on Max’s face and the images that Max gets from Liz in the TV version worked great.
Could you have written more books for the series?
If Pocket had wanted more Roswell Highs, I’m sure I could have come up with more stories–with the help of my fabulous editor and later writing partner, Laura J. Burns. (Who was my friend before any of that stuff.) I was actually only signed up to write 6 at first and was able to come up with story for 4 more without a problem.
What was your favorite scene, out of all ten books, for you to write?
Wow. Hard question. That first scene where Max heals Liz is the scene I wrote as my “audition” chapter, so that one is definitely special to me. I also really wanted to give Max and Liz the most romantic ending I could envision, so that scene almost at the end of book 10 too. I also loved writing scenes where the kids were just hanging, making jokes, goofing around.
Do you ever plan on writing another YA Sci-Fi series?
Laura and I are actually about to start writing a (at least) 2-book YA thriller duo that has some Sci-Fi elements.
If a Roswell movie were made, would you be interested in helping develop it?
I don’t own the rights, but if someone who did wanted me to help develop the movie, then of course!
What’s your favorite BOOK out of the whole Roswell High series?
Another hard question. I think I’ll go with Book 1, just because that’s where I came up with so many details that I continued through the other books.
Have you read the spin-off books? If so, what did you think about them?
I haven’t read any of the spin-offs! That’s just wrong (especially since Laura wrote one!) I’m going to say hers is my favorite any way.
If fans petitioned for you to write more Roswell books, would you?
I don’t control the rights, but if Pocket/Alloy wanted me to write more, then yes.
What’s your favorite Sci-Fi film?
The Empire Strikes Back.
Do you have a favorite YA author or series?
Clearly I have a hard time making choices, because this is also a hard question. I’m loving the Divergent series. I can’t wait to read the third Daughter of Smoke and Bone book. I’m also eager for the next Raven Boys. I’ll stop now.
Have you read any of the recent YA alien-themed novels that have been written? (The Lux series by Jennifer Armentrout, The Taking series by Melissa West) If so, what did you think about them?
I haven’t read those, but I will. I love reading YA, which is part of why I love writing it.
Did you have a say in casting for the Roswell television show?
I didn’t have a say. But Laura and I were on the writing staff for season three, and it was great to get to know all the people who worked on the show.
How did you feel about the guys cast as Max, Michael, and Alex looking much different from what you had written?
It didn’t bother me at all. All three actors felt like the characters to me (Max so soulful and romantic, Michael tough, yet wounded, Alex goofy, with a core of strength), and that was a lot more important to me than what they looked like. (Although I did enjoy looking at Michael’s spiky hair, which made it from book to TV.) They were all awesome, in my opinion. I did kinda wish Liz had stayed Hispanic at first, but that would have meant no Shiri, and at this point it’s pretty much impossible to imagine a different Liz.
Is there anything different you would do with the Roswell series if you could go back and write it again?
I’m sure there are. I’d have to read through them all and think it through. I have to say, I always felt a sort of writerly jealous over the scene Jason Katims created in the pilot where Max, Isabel, and Michael are watching the reenactment of the crash and it’s so clear they are feeling something different from everyone around them. They are watching a reenactment of their parents’ deaths, and everyone else is all “whoo!” I also loved the way Sheriff Valenti was deepened in the show by the addition of the back story about his father being ridiculed for his belief in aliens.
How did you feel about the little things that were changed from book to show, like who Nickolas was, and the story with Ray?
I pretty much looked at the show as an alternate universe to the books. It was awesome to watch the pilot and see how close it stayed to book one. (I still remember thinking–they kept the cupcake dress! They kept that joke my editor cut!) And it was fun to see what other writers did with the same main characters and starting point. Ray Iburg was named after the wonderful father of my high school best friend, so it would have been cool to hear that name on the show. Another small thing I’d have liked to have seen was Liz having a sister who’d died, cause I like what it added to her character.
Who is your favorite Roswell High character?
Okay, you keep asking questions that feel like Sophie’s choice. I can’t pick between the main six. I think my favorite minor character was Liz’s dad.
No matter how many times I read the books or watch the show, it never gets old. I love your writing and the way you developed the Roswell High world. Do you feel like Roswell was ahead of it’s time, and would have aired longer if it came out present day?
Maybe, since YA is so hot right now.
Are there any connections or references between the Roswell book and show that fans always miss?
I don’t think so.
Did you ever do a cameo in the show that fans have never noticed?
If a movie were made next year, who would your dream cast be besides the original cast? (I really, really, REALLY hope you answer this question. :p)
Okay, for the casting question, I’m just doing the main six. (Kyle had a much smaller part in the books.) I ended up casting mostly “Hollywood teens,” which means right at this moment they are under 25! I’m sure there are tons of awesome actors that I don’t know anything about.
That said, here goes:
Liz Victoria Justice
Maria Abigail Breslin
Isabel Saorise Ronan
Max Nicholas Hoult
Michael Dane DeHaan
Alex Rupert Grint
Okay, time for the speed round! This next part of the interview is meant to be kinda like the Family Feud speed round. I will list some phrases/words, and you answer with the first thing that pops into your head. Ready? Set. Go!
Opal All My Children
Purple Kool-Aid Tom Wolfe
Egyptians Zilpha Keatley Snyder
The 1940’s The 1940s Depression (I know I should have said the Roswell Incident, but I’m giving you my actual first thoughts, many of which make me seem old–as old as I actually am.)
Jason Behr or Henry Cavill? Jason Behr
Enchiladas My mom.
Ding, ding, ding! Times up! Thank you so much for participating in our Roswell Read-A-Long and Aliens Abducting August on our blog! We really appreciate your involvement with the fans.
The questions asked of Melinda were specifically crafted to reveal important information about her psyche and cognitive well-being. After many tests, and a thorough review of her answers, I have reached a diagnosis:
Melinda’s brain functions at higher levels than your average human. There are underlying traits to her personality that lead me to believe one thing: Melinda is quite possibly, an Extraterrestrial.
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