In continuation with last week’s interview, this week we will delve deeper into Author Melinda Metz’s experiences as a staff writer for the third season of “Roswell” and with her tips on breaking away from writer’s block.
Q +A with Melinda Metz
Sherryn: On the third season of ‘Roswell’ which episodes did you contribute to the most? Did the books in any way mirror the show?
Melinda: On the third season of “Roswell, Laura and I wrote A Tale of Two Parties,the episode when the gang was celebrating New Years Eve in a unique way. A lot of the time, we wrote together as a group and brainstormed on episodes. Jason Katims, the Executive Producer, came up with the basis before an episode was even written out. Once the writing staff gets together, we would all write out the plots.
Everyone pretty much contributes to every episode. In fact, Laura and I were proud that our idea of having Kivar coming in to break Isabel’s honeymoon was used.
I had a wonderful time as a writer for the third season of “Roswell”. Since the show was filmed on the Paramount lot and us writers easily watched episodes get filmed. Now, when it comes to the books mirroring the show, that’s only true with the pilot. The first episode of the series was based on the first Roswell High book ” The Outsider”. Jason Katims only read the first book and if there were any coincidences or mirroring, it was highly coincidental. Let’s say that the “Roswell High” book series was a parallel universe from the TV show.
Sherryn: Were you able to interact with the on screen cast and writing team? How were those experiences like?
Melinda: Laura and I definitely interacted with the writing team. We all had a lot of fun brainstorming new ideas and essentially, hanging out with everyone. In one room, we all had to come up with each scene and purge out all of our ideas out. We saw the entire cast occasionally, since we all ate at the Kraft services. Before we shot an episode, the entire cast of the show ( including production, editors, costumes, etc), would meet to take notes and assess what costumes to use, production costs, location and anything else that concerns the episode.
Once William Sadler directed an episode and let us come into his trailer to watch his episode. It was so cool for us to be on the same lot since that doesn’t always happen. It was so easy to stroll on set and see episodes happen on the spot.
Sherryn: After 10 years of being off the air, do you still get fans asking you about “Roswell” ( both books and show)?
Melinda: Yes! I get alot of e-mails from people who watched the show when they were young. Even though the books are out of publication you can get them as an E-book? This is actually surprising, but because of Hulu plus and Netflix, more people today are getting into the show. It has a strong cult following.
I was at this library and I did a summer reading on a book I wrote called “Paranormal.” After I did the reading I talked to the children about my first Roswell High book called ‘The Outsiders” and later showed the kids the Pilot of “Roswell”. This one 12-year-old said she’s watched this episode before and I was in shock since the show has been off the air for quite some time. She watched the show through Netflix since it matched up to shows that she already liked. She watched all three seasons, back and forth.
Right now on Facebook there’s this group trying to get a “Roswell” movie to be made so they are trying to get people to read the “Roswell High” books once a week.
A lot of adults today have read the books in middle school and high school and contacted me. They were happy that it was a part of their childhood.
Sherryn: Who was your favorite couple? Max +Liz, Michael + Maria, or Alex + Isabel? Why are they your favorite?
Melinda: That’s so hard to pick. On book 10, I gave Max and Liz a happy ending yet Michael and Maria were a lot of fun to write about. I generally like characters with a troubled past, and in that sense, I have an affinity for Michael. In the books it was harder for him to open up. Honestly, if I had to write about a specific couple at a specific time ( this includes the show too), then they would be my favorite for the moment. Michael and Maria did have the funniest lines to write due to their witty repertoire. Ask me again in the future, and we’ll see which couple is my favorite for the moment.
Sherryn: What is it like teaming up with Laura Burns? You both have collaborated on multiple writing ventures together? Do you both still work together?
Melinda: We still work together. We wrote the vampire books “Sacrifice” and “Crave” for young adults. Before we both got into writing books we were full blown editors. But, of course, we’ve been friends for 20 some years. I really like writing with her because we’re always on the same wave length. Sometimes, when I write, I feel like I am writing for her and hope what I write makes her laugh. Laura and I usually plot books together and even though I live in North Carolina and she lives in New York, we’re still able to collaborate. Whenever we both work together it’s like hanging out with a friend.
Honestly, if it weren’t for Laura I don’t think I would’ve been able to write the “Roswell High” series.
For Pocket Books, they wanted to publish a set of books on teenagers from Roswell, New Mexico who were involved with the 1947 crash. Laura came up with the characters and parts of the basic plot but they needed a writer to flesh everything out. By a stroke of fate, I wasn’t chosen from the final 4 ( laughs). The person chosen, apparently, was inebriated or lost interest in the project so I was able to take over. I was lucky since I was close to not being chosen to write and if it weren’t for the connections I had, I’m not sure if I would’ve been able to write the series.
Currently, I still do freelance, teach a few classes and edit once in awhile. I love to edit and it’s what I wanted to do initially. I had no idea how my career was going to turn since I evolved from an editor to a writer.
Sherryn: Are you happy with the way the Roswell Books/ TV show turned out?
Melinda: Yes. With the books I was able to let my imagination run wild since I didn’t have to worry about money, cars, costumes, or any other production costs that the show had to deal with.
I truly loved the pilot since it mirrors the first book, “The Outsider” very well. I was overjoyed when the kept particular details from the book and embedded it into the pilot. For example, the cupcake dress Liz wore when she was 6 years old came straight out of the book.
It was such a long shot for this show to even get picked up, let alone stay for three seasons. I was very lucky to have this once in a lifetime experience.
Sherryn: What helps you escape from Writer’s Block?
Melinda: What helps me escape is having a writing partner. I also meet up with a group of friends once a week at a coffee shop. From there we edit each others work and give constructive feedback. Usually I work on multiple projects at a time and there are times when I can’t escape writer’s block at all. It’s a good thing there are deadlines since the stress and the adrenaline rush will help me break away from that writers block and crank out good pieces.
Sherryn: How do you write so consistently?
Melinda: Deadlines, working with a partner and just writing with another person has helped me along the way. In LA, I was part of a writing group and was given a bunch of mini deadlines and that helped me immensely.