Melissa Landers is a former teacher who left the classroom to pursue other worlds. A proud sci-fi geek, she isn’ t afraid to wear her Princess Leia costume in public—just ask her husband and three kids. She lives just outside Cincinnati and writes adult contemporary romance as Macy Beckett.
If you haven’t heard of Melissa Landers yet, don’t feel dumb. Melissa’s highly anticipated debut YA novel, Alienated, is set to release February 4, 2014. The mystical horse-shoe of luck must have been in my favor, because I received an ARC of Alienated a few months ago, and have had a hard time keeping mum about it. The cover of Alienated is so pretty, I want to eat it. I definitely devoured the pages of this book, and I can’t wait for more of this series. As requested by Disney Hyperion, I won’t be posting my review of Alienated until closer to the release date, but I was given the green light to post this
psyche-file interview and giveaway! Unbeknownst to Melissa, I was given the chance to pick her brain for a psyche test. Because of the nature of a writer’ s work, I find it is imperative to do a psychological analysis of each author I come across. I’ m sharing this classified information with you for learning purposes only!
Have you ever been abducted by Aliens?
Only in my dreams, sadly.
What was your initial inspiration for Alienated?
It was October 2009, and I was brainstorming ideas for my very first NaNoWriMo. A few plots came to me, but I dismissed them because they were boring or they’d been done before. Then a thought hit me: “What if a high school senior had to host an alien exchange student?” Bam! ALIENATED was conceived.
Did you know you wanted the book to be funny from the beginning, or is it something that happened along the way?
The manuscript got a little bit funnier with each rewrite as I worked to draw out Cara’s “voice.”
Are you a fan of the old-school T.V. show Mork and Mindy?
I watched that as a little girl, but I don’t remember anything except “Nanu Nanu!”
Who have been your biggest influences in the Sci-Fi genre?
I lived and breathed Star Wars throughout my childhood. In fact, I still have my big, gold C-3PO carrying case with my action figures inside it.
What was your writing process like for Alienated? Did you do a lot of research for this book?
More than anything, I researched nanotechnology to make sure the events that unfold toward the end of the book are plausible. Fortunately, my neighbors are both scientists with colleagues who specialize in such things, so the information was easy to access.
Have you developed a full alphabet/language for the L’eihrs?
No, but I wish I’d kept a list of L’eihr words. Then I wouldn’t have to keep referring to my manuscript for book 1 while writing book 2.
Do you believe Aliens communicate with Snow Owls?
Psh! Everyone knows chipmunks are the aliens’ favorite.
Do you feel like Alienated has ”Big Screen” potential, and would you like the idea of your books being made into films?
I’d love that! A lot of early readers have told me ALIENATED would make a good TV show, too.
Do you have an ideal cast for Cara, Tori, Eric, Aelyx, Eron, Syrine, Stepha if optioned for film?
Nope. It’s too hard finding real people to match the pretend people in my head.
Have you ever seen the late ’90s/early 2000’s television show, Roswell?
No, but I really want to.
While writing Alienated, did you imagine yourself as Cara?
No, but Cara and I have some similar characteristics. I’m ridiculously competitive and a little hot-tempered.
Would you participate in an Alien exchange program?
I loved the contemporary aspect to Alienated. There’s a lot to be learned about love, tolerance, and human/foreign relations from this book. Do you think humans would indeed act hostile toward Aliens, even if they looked much like humans?
Absolutely. Look at how we treat other humans. All you have to do is turn on the news and you’ll see enough examples of prejudice and intolerance to make you want to change the channel. If that’s how we treat each other, why would aliens fare any better?
Have you always wanted to be a writer,or was it a default career choice?
It was an unexpected career change for me. I’d never wanted to write, but after spending a few years at home with my young children, I needed a creative outlet. That’s when I decided to give NaNoWriMo a try. I fell in love with fiction writing, and never looked back.
What advice would you give to book bloggers like me, that entertain the idea of writing a YA novel?
Writers write. Dabblers dabble. But you won’t sell a book by dabbling in the craft. If you want to be an author, you have to go all-in and write every day–no excuses–even when it’s hard and you feel like everything you produce is garbage.
Okay, time for the speed round. This part is sorta like the Family Feud speed round. I’ll ask a question/state a phrase/word, and you answer the first thing that pops into your head. Ready? Set. Go!
Psyllium husks: Cornhuskers
Henry Cavill or Jason Behr? Yes!
Red: Bull gives you wings
Daemon or Dante? Double yes!
Encino Man: Eminem (I have no clue why this popped into my head.)
Angels: And Demons
Ding, ding, ding! Times up! Thank you so much for participating in Aliens Abducting August on MEReadALot. I LOVED Alienated, and can’t wait for all of my friends to read it when it officially releases! Book two will be on my ”highly anticipated sequels list”.
Thanks for including me. This was fun! 🙂
It is clear after thorough analysis that Melissa is blocking memories of a past life on an alien planet. Her answers indicate a possible fixation with small, fuzzy creatures, and a propensity to climb trees. It is highly likely that she masks a desire to be a lawyer, or director for Amnesty International with fictionalizing her past life experiences in her manuscripts. In conclusion, Melissa is clearly intelligent beyond the scope of the human intellect.
You can add Alienated to your Goodreads list here, and you can ENTER TO WIN a copy of Alienated below. The book will be shipped to the winner when it officially releases.
ENTER TO WIN A PRE-ORDER COPY OF ALIENATED