Hello everyone! Today Jess from Reading Nook Reviews and I had the chance to sit down with the author of one of the most highly anticipated alien sci-fi’s to come out this year, Melissa Landers, author of ALIENATED! Not only is she a sweetheart, she also created a fantastic book that you all must read! To go along with today’s interview, both Jess and I are posting our reviews of the book, AND we are holding a huge giveaway.
Thanks so much for answering our questions, Melissa!
Alienated by Melissa Landers
Released: February 4, 2014
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Series: Alienated #1
Format: ebook ARC
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.
1. Why do you think science fiction has made such a resurgence in YA in the past couple of years?
Trends cycle in and out of popularity. Sci-fi is hot now, but soon editors will want something else. Then readers will get sick of that, too. Eventually sci-fi (or paranormal, or steampunk, or historical) will come back around again… Wash, rinse, repeat. 🙂
2. Given that this is a sci-fi, what was the most challenging part of writing ALIENATED?
It’s been a challenge keeping up with the L’eihr vocabulary and history that I created. I should have jotted down that info in a spreadsheet. That would have kept me from constantly referring to my ARC while drafting the sequel.
3. Aelyx is an exchange student that comes to live with Cara and her family. Did you ever host an exchange student in your household or were you one?
The closest I came to being an exchange student was when I participated in the Model United Nations program and stayed with a Dutch family. (It was COLD! They kept their house at 60 degrees, so I slept in my coat at night.)
4. The cover for this book is gorgeous! Did you have any part of the cover design process?
Thank you! I love it, too. I wasn’t part of the creative process, but Hyperion showed me a rough mock-up of the basic design and asked for my opinion. I never would have thought to depict Aelyx and Cara mirroring each other, and I thought it was perfect for the story.
5. So far we know that there is at least one more book in the series titled INVADED. Do you plan on writing a third?
I would like to write a third, but it’s going to depend on sales. You know how it goes. Publishing is a business, and a series can only continue if it’s turning a profit. (womp, womp) If you want to help your favorite authors, consider requesting their titles from your local library, even if you’ve already read an ARC or borrowed the book from a friend. Libraries can’t order every book, and many of them will only buy the “big buzzy” NYT bestsellers or the titles specifically requested by their patrons.
6. If our world made contact with an alien race, would you want to be one of the first people to interact with one? Do you believe that there are other species out there?
Yes and yes! The universe is infinite, so it’s completely egocentric to assume that human beings are the only life forms out there.
7. You bring up a number of serious themes in Alienated – e.g. the idea of people protesting the arrival of the L’eihrs – which is actually extremely relevant to real-life. Was this intentional, and if so, how did you go about researching/incorporating what to include?
No, I didn’t do that on purpose. I would never write a book with the intention of conveying a message or teaching the reader a lesson. Nobody likes to be preached to…it’s annoying. I simply wrote the story the way I believed it would unfold if those events came to pass. And I stand by what I wrote. Look at the way humans treat one another. Why would anyone think an alien race would fare any better?
The most relevant research I did on this topic involved propaganda, specifically antisemitism pamphlets created by the Nazis. They were chilling to read.
8. If Cara and Aelyx were suddenly stranded on a deserted island, who would bring what and why?
Cara would bring her tattered copy of JANE EYRE, while Aelyx would opt for something practical, like a water purifier.
9. You also write books under the name Macy Beckett, for adults. What’s the biggest transition or difference between writing for teens vs. writing for adults?
It’s tough sometimes, because writing sci-fi romance for teens bears no resemblance to writing hot southern romance for adults. The only common thread is love. To keep my head in the right genre, I finish one book before starting another. Some authors can draft multiple projects at once, but I’m not one of them.
10. Finally, if you could go on a hike with one of your characters, who would you choose? 🙂
Hmm. Tough question. I guess I’d pick Aelyx. I would probably slow him down, considering he has greater lung capacity than I do…and he’s eighteen, but I’d tag along so I could bombard him with questions about space travel.
If you guys know anything about me, it’s that I have a weak spot for alien/space travel sci-fi novels. When I first heard about ALIENATED, I knew it was something that I would have to read. Fast forward to the cover reveal, and oh my, can you say “NEED?!” The cover is stunning and just piqued my interest even more. This book couldn’t come out fast enough. And ladies and gentlemen, it did not disappoint at all!
Cara has never been against contact with the alien species of L’eihr, but when she finds out that she has been chosen among hundreds of thousands to host one as an exchange student, her world changes forever. She is skeptical for many reasons but is determined to make this a memorable experience. And that is exactly what she gets. Aelyx is mysterious and has devastatingly good looks. While it becomes more and more difficult to restrain her budding feelings for him, tensions run high as an extremist group grows more hostile and vocal about their disdain towards these aliens. Cara wants people to see Aelyx as she does, but it becomes apparent that that is not going to happen.
I really liked Cara from the very beginning. She has feelings of unease at hosting a new species in her home. She has no idea how the exchange is going to go but she is a passionate person who is determined to make the best out of this situation. She bends over backwards trying to make Aelyx as comfortable as possible on this foreign soil. She had gumption, that’s for sure. She didn’t know much about him or where he came from, but didn’t let that phase her. I would be so nervous! She remained relatively poised.
Aelyx is one of those characters who start out really mysterious and you can tell that they are hiding something. It was so incredibly obvious. Landers was determined to not let her readers know what was going on until the right moment. I went chapters and chapters dying to know what this kid was up to. He starts to lose his stoic mannerisms and becomes more human as the story progressed, which I loved. I so wanted him and Cara to develop feelings for each other. You could tell they were protective of one another, it just had to happen! But like I said, he is hiding some serious plans that we are left completely in the dark about. My emotions were all over the place, guys!
The plot was a little slow moving at times but overall kept up a fast pace that had me wanting to keep reading. As tensions raised in Cara’s town, the plot thickened with each passing chapter. Cara and Aelyx’s struggle to maintain peace became harder and harder, ultimately affecting how they were around one another. ALIENATED is a sci-fi romance, among other things, and I just wanted everything to be okay for these two. Their bond is special and I loved how it developed.
ALIENATED is an intergalactic romantic adventure that YA readers will love! The relationship between Cara and Aelyx is brave and inspiring and will have you wishing you had an alien exchange student of your own. The plot moves at a nice speed and will have you shaking your head at how radical some people can be. I’m excited to see what happens next!
|4.5 Thought Clouds|
- three (3) winners will receive a hardcover copy of ALIENATED
- No cheating. We check!
- Ends March 27 at midnight
- Winners will receive an email and must respond within 48 hours