Meet Melissa Landers.
Melissa Landers (melissa-landers.com) 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,” where she writes science fiction and fantasy for Disney Hyperion.
Now onto the interview!
Both of your series touch upon or evolve around the themes of space, aliens, and the universe as a whole. What was the inspiration behind that? Why space?
As a little girl, I was raised on a steady diet of Star Wars and Star Trek. (I still have my original Millennium Falcon ship, action figures, and C3PO carrying case!) So it’s no surprise to anyone who knows me that I chose to write sci-fi. Everything is more interesting in space.
Tell us about your journey from teacher to author. How did it feel to get the first contract?
I was quite happy teaching junior high and had every intention of returning to the classroom when my babies were school-age, but during my time as a stay-at-home-mom, I grew intellectually restless and needed a creative outlet. That’s when I started writing fiction. I didn’t write Alienated with the intention of pursuing a career in publishing, but I’m so grateful that it turned out that way. I love being an author! I’ll never forget the elation of getting The Call, learning that Disney wanted to buy my book. I was so happy that my feet barely touched the ground for the next year.
How do you tackle world building and setting in your novels? Do you use any particular area, such as a park, city, etc., as a foundation point to branch off ideas?
Typically I make a list of the world building basics: government, religion, culture, economy, and then go deeper from there. I’m writing high fantasy now, and the world building is so much more intensive than any of my sci-fi novels required. For my current project, I downloaded a “fantasy world building questionnaire” from the internet and filled it out…all 120 questions! Even if I don’t use every detail in my manuscript, knowing the details helps.
Congrats on your latest release, Starfall. What was the best part about finishing your Starflight duology? Would there be anything you’d change, if you could?
The best part about finishing any series is giving my characters the endings they deserve. I loved seeing Doran, Solara, Cassia, Kane, and the rest of the Banshee crew grow into the people they were meant to be. For an author, there’s nothing more rewarding than that.
Click here for more information about Melissa and her novels!