GETTIN’ LUCKY: An Interview with Melissa Landers, author of ALIENATED

Alienated-newcvrI know, it’s 2014! But we have one (awesome!) straggler from the Lucky 13s—Melissa Landers’s YA debut Alienated comes out tomorrow. Here’s the official blurb:

Two years ago, the aliens made contact. Now Cara Sweeney is going to be sharing a bathroom with one of them.

Handpicked to host the first-ever L’eihr exchange student, Cara thinks her future is set. Not only does she get a free ride to her dream college, she’ll have inside information about the mysterious L’eihrs that every journalist would kill for. Cara’s blog following is about to skyrocket.

Still, Cara isn’t sure what to think when she meets Aelyx. Humans and L’eihrs have nearly identical DNA, but cold, infuriatingly brilliant Aelyx couldn’t seem more alien. She’s certain about one thing, though: no human boy is this good-looking.

But when Cara’s classmates get swept up by anti-L’eihr paranoia, Midtown High School suddenly isn’t safe anymore. Threatening notes appear in Cara’s locker, and a police officer has to escort her and Aelyx to class.

Cara finds support in the last person she expected. She realizes that Aelyx isn’t just her only friend; she’s fallen hard for him. But Aelyx has been hiding the truth about the purpose of his exchange, and its potentially deadly consequences. Soon Cara will be in for the fight of her life—not just for herself and the boy she loves, but for the future of her planet.

Welcome to the OneFour blog, Melissa! This is your first YA novel after publishing several for the adult market. What drew you to writing for teens?

Actually, ALIENATED is the first book I ever wrote. After rewriting the manuscript several times, I set it aside to gain some distance and penned a contemporary romance. That romance sold first, (in a three book deal with only 5 months between releases), which explains why ALIENATED is the fourth to publish.

To answer your second question, there was never a point where I said to myself, “I want to write for teens!” or “No, I want to write for adults!” My process is much more organic than that. I simply write the stories that excite me and then figure out the target audience.

One of the most distinctive differences about the L’eihr homeworld is the lack of vibrant color. Did something particular give you the idea for that detail?

I can’t recall what gave me the idea. However, it was always that way, right from the first draft. L’eihr’s lack of vibrancy is one of the few things that hasn’t changed over the course of five rewrites.

What are your favorite aspects of sci-fi?

I was raised on a steady diet of Star Trek and Star Wars. In fact, I still have my original Millennium Falcon toy ship, action figures, and C-3PO carrying case! Science fiction is in my blood. I love the way anything is possible. If the author crafts his or her world carefully enough, I can suspend my disbelief for anything, no matter how wild.

What are you most looking forward to about Alienated making its big debut?

More than anything, I look forward to sharing my characters with readers. Aelyx and Cara are very special to me. I’ve spent the last four years in their heads, and now it’s time to put them in yours. 🙂

As this community is All for One and OneFour KidLit, we’d like to know what two or three books inspired you as a kid.

When I was young, YA as we know it didn’t exist. Young readers had two choices: read up or read down. I chose up. My favorite authors were Stephen King and JRR Tolkien. I’ll never forget the day my father handed me a tattered paperback of THE HOBBIT and said, “Here, try this one. I think you’ll like it.” Turns out he was right!

Landers Watermark (6392-006)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 outside Cincinnati in the small town of Loveland, “Sweetheart of Ohio.” For more information, or just to say hello, visit

Find Melissa online:

Where to buy the book:
Barnes & Noble
Book Depository

R.C. Lewis teaches math to teenagers—sometimes in sign language, sometimes not—and resists defining herself further since that definition remains in flux. Coincidentally, she enjoys reading about quantum physics. Her debut novel, STITCHING SNOW (Hyperion, October 14, 2014), takes Snow White into space.

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