TM Q&A Part 1
Stephenie Meyer Answers Questions From TwilightMOMS Members
-Part 1-Forum: Stephenie Meyer/The Host Posted: 30 Dec 2007 05:22 pm Subject: Questions for Stephenie
TM: How do you feel about fanfics? Does is bother you that people use your characters? I think if I was an author, I might be annoyed by it…
Steph: I have mixed feelings about fan-fiction. On the one hand, I’m really flattered that people care about my characters so much that they want to write about them myself. On the other, back in the day when I was still allowed to read fan-fiction, I was kind of saddened by the waste of talent. Some of the stories were just really well written–and it made me bummed that whoever had written it could never really take credit for their work. I wanted to reach through the computer and shake the author’s shoulders and say, “You need to write your own stories!! You have a gift! Go get some books published!” Then again, maybe it’s good practice? And people get to have readers that they wouldn’t have otherwise–that can help in the courage department. (Or hurt…)
Some fanfiction frightened me. Sick, sick tickets out there
TM: I have thought a thousand times about what I would say to you if I ran into you somewhere, and what I would like to say now is….
I love the fact that you are just like us. Just another mom trudging through her day with screaming kids hangin’ off of her like little monkeys. Doing laundry and dishes between changing diapers and running errands….And oh, by the way she wrote 3+ novels that are giving JK Rowling a run for her money! Congrats!
You make me think “I can do that.” I don’t think that the teeny boppers really get how great that is. Being a mom is such a rewarding job in the big picture, but day to day…not so much. You’ve given me the courage to strive to make the most out of life. For that, thank you.
I think I speak for most of in saying, although we’ve never really spoken, I feel like your a close friend. (not in a stalker sort of way either)
(I took the liberty of italicizing part of your post for emphasis.)
I saw that my open letter to the Lexicon fans made it over here, and I wanted to tell you that you were the ones I was talking to during the “sisters” part. A lot of people were thanking me for helping them rediscover the parts of themselves they lost to motherhood. This writing thing has been a life saver for me, literally. I love what you said about the everyday part of being a mom. I truly believe my brain was nothing more than mushy oatmeal by the time my third was a toddler. I’m really, really glad that the books didn’t just help me, because every mom deserves a small part of her brain to belong to her and her alone.
And stalking doesn’t scare me. I’ve never stalked anyone (yet) but I think I would be AWESOME at it.
TM: On pg 495 of Eclipse, Edward answers an unspoken question. What was the question Jacob asked? Edward’s answer was, “Yes, I’m jealous of that, too.” And then Jacob says, “I figured it was like that. Sort of evens the playing field up a little, doesn’t it?”
Some other have answer this, and they’re pretty much right. The conversation begins with Edward complaining about Jacob’s fantasies. They banter a bit, and then Jacob thinks to himself (something like): He’s just jealous because I can HAVE fantasies. If he ever did any of the things I’m thinking about, he’d kill her. He wishes he could be with her the way I could! The “too” part of Edward’s comment refers to the fact that he’s jealous that Jacob can warm her.
TM: You said in an interview that you have LDS themes in the Twilight books. What specifically do you consider those to be?
As an author do you really consider the things like theme, archetypes, foreshadowing, symbolism, etc. or are you just writing a good story?
The main theme that I consider to be LDS is that of free agency. These books are all about choice to me–people’s ability to rise above (or sink below) what is expected of them. There is a little bit of Helaman’s stripling warriors with the pack, too (they fight to protect their families, who are not able to fight the way they can). There is some overt discussion of religion, particularly in New Moon, and a little in Eclipse. For me, that is more about realism rather than my specific religion. Religious or not, real people have to wonder sometime about where they came from, why they’re here, and where they’re going. Characters who didn’t ponder that a little would feel pretty shallow to me.
As an author, I consider NOTHING, ha ha ha. I just tell a story. All the symbolism and themes and archetypes are things I discover after the fact. All that stuff in the above paragraph–I didn’t think of any of those things until after the story was done. Then I would read through it and think, “Hey, the pack kind of reminds me of those Ammonite kids. Wonder if that’s where I got it from?”
TM: Twilight p316 Edward acts weird when Bella asks if Alice foresaw her (Bella).
…should I wait for MS on that one?
I haven’t even gotten to that point in MS. The reason Edward gets weird here is because Alice has already seen Bella as a vampire, and he is NOT happy with that idea. He knows Bella is just asking if Alice has seen her coming to visit, but it still reminds him of the other vision.
TM: But if Alice has seen Bella as a vampire that means someone has made some sort of decision that WILL – as long as no one changes their mind – bring Bella to become a vampire. So, if it’s not Edward who has decided this, what (and/or who) is it that has been so surely decided that Alice has seen it, especially so early on? Or do we just have to wait many more months for that answer?
Alice’s visions work two ways.
1) Absolutes. When someone makes a specific decision that they intend to follow through on, she gets a very clear, precise picture of the outcome. The nearer the event is, the more accurate her vision is.
2) Hazy possibilities. Alice gets some very vague glimpses of probabilities. When something major changes in the Cullens’ world, Alice gets hard to interpret pictures of faraway possibilities. These visions often don’t happen and sometime contradict each other entirely. For example, when Edward meets Bella, Alice sees two futures for Bella that cannot both happen–Bella dead, and Bella a vampire.
TM: Question about imprinting: so far it looks like all the wolves who have imprinted have done so with other tribal members, whether from La Push or Makah or some reservation. Is the imprinting limited within the native culture? We know Jacob didn’t imprint with Bella, but could that happen? And what if a werewolf married a non-tribal member (ie, Jacob and Bella). Would their children inherit the werewolf gene and be able to phase when they reached adolescence? Or would it be like any other recessive/dominant gene pattern where it’s a crap shoot to see if it’s inherited?
One more question, which will likely either be a “I plead the 5th” or a “no”: the whole series is about vampires, and werewolves are introduced in NM (though alluded to in Twilight through Bella’s dreams). Any new mythical societies going to be introduced to us in BD?
All I can say about the imprinting question is that I will address it more in the future.
As far as new mythical societies in the Twilight universe, I don’t think it’s likely that I’ll be getting into that. I mean, who knows where I’ll be if I ever get around to books five or six, but for now I think two supernatural beings are QUITE enough.
TM: Do you have a housekeeper or nanny now? Someone who can take care of the cleaning, errands etc. so you have time to write?
When you are touring for your books is everything paid for? hotels, meals etc.
I know you got a new house and a new car (which your husband drives) but have you got to buy anything else that you really wanted?
I’ve heard you got $750,000 for the first 3 books. Do you get any royalties if the books sell really well or is that it no matter how well they do? What about when Summit Optioned your book for a movie do you get money for that too?
I have a maid who comes in one morning a week. It’s enough to keep me from living in my own filth. I don’t have a nanny or an errand runner, aside from my husband (and I can’t even send him to the grocery store, because he makes decisions about what he thinks he should buy, rather than following my list).
When I tour, everything is paid for. My publicist generally goes with me everywhere, and she has a shiny corporate card that she wields with deadly efficiency. On the rare occasions that I go somewhere alone (she’s afraid of Utah, for example), I’m supposed to turn in receipts, but I never do.
Besides the house, most of my new expenses are work related. I have a sweet Mac that replaced my dead Vaio (PCs are run by Satan) and a great industrial duplexing printer. I get clothes before I tour, because of my deep-seated insecurities. I always feel like a new outfit will make me suddenly pretty. (And then I see the pictures…*shudder* But do I learn my lesson? No. Before Germany, I’ll be malling it up no doubt.)
I do get royalties after I earn out my advances. I earned out on my Twilight Sage advance before Eclipse came out, so now I’m on royalties there. Breaking Dawn is a separate contract, so I will have to earn out the new advance before I get royalties for that one. With the movie, it’s more of a one time payout. They put stuff in the contract about me getting some tiny percentage of their net, but I’ve been assured that with Hollywood accounting, I will never see a dime of that.
TM: Is it really hard to find “Stephenie” time- Time for yourself to do whatever you want? Do you feel overwhelmed by all the people who ask you questions and want them answered?
It is pretty hard to find time for myself. This is what happens: I go into what I call a “writing coma” for a few months at a time, or I’m on tour. When I’m back, I have a lot of friends and family who feel neglected. So I tried to catch up with everybody and all the emails and etc. I enjoy it, but it’s also guilt motivated. I feel bad if I take a day to myself, when I know there are ten people waiting for me to return their call.
Mostly, if I’m not on tour, I don’t have a lot of questions coming my way. When I’m working, I just don’t go into the forums or my MySpace. There are exceptions, though. Last night I went to a wedding reception in my old ward and I was ATTACKED. I felt really bad–my presence was actually disruptive. But the bride didn’t seem to mind that people were taking as many pictures of me as they were of her. She’d brought a book to have signed, ha ha. If people know I’m going to be somewhere, it usually turns in to a signing.
It’s not so bad though. My fans are all really cool people. I tend to get along with them easily. It’s a kindred spirits thing.
TM: Has Bella ever shared any of her recipes with you? We’d all love to get them… well, except for the spaghetti, she just uses the jarred sauce right?
And I’d like to get the recipe for Harry’s famous fish fry, too. I hope it’s not a secret! Or at least if it is, I hope he didn’t take it to the grave with him!
I have shared my recipes with her. The chicken enchilada casserole was created by my mother, and the lasagna recipe is hers, too. I don’t have them written down–I go by memory, and when I’m unsure, a call to my mom.
I’ll try to remember the chicken one for you, but I have to go do dinner now, ironically enough.
To quote the terminator: I’ll be baaack.
TM: I hope you come to Portland to watch some filming. There are a lot of areas around here that remind me of your descriptions of Forks and the surrounding area.
I think I get to watch a few days of the filming this spring. I imagine I’ll go to Forks, though, if I get a choice. Ha ha–probably, a choice isn’t likely. I will show up wherever and whenever they let me.
TM: I’m halfway through Wuthering Heights (enjoying it a lot more than I did when I read it in high school 10 years ago) and I have a few questions for our Coven Mother, Stephenie….
1. Since Edward spends so many of his nights with Bella while she sleeps, how many times has he read Wuthering Heights to help pass the time?
2. What are Edwards favorite books? We know he’s a music buff (wow, I just imagine him sitting in a New York concert hall in the ’20s listening to Gershwin himself playing Rhapsody in Blue, wow). But literature-wise, what is on Edward’s bookshelf?
And completely unrelated…
3. What does Bella’s lullaby sound like?? Have you ever heard anything that makes you think “yeah, that’s kind of close”?
1. One of the advantages of being a vampire, that is also sometimes a drawback, is perfect recall. Basically, Edward could quote the entire book of WH back to you after his first reading. So rereading is not necessary. He read all of Bella’s books once, though he’d read most of them before, to see where the pages were dog-eared or spines creased. He liked guessing her favorite parts. That night in Eclipse, he was going through WH again with a different perspective. He was creasing the spine that time.
2. No offense, but I hate this kind of question, ha ha. Edward has read so many more books than I have, I don’t even like to guess. Suffice it to say, the Cullen house has a LOT of books and E had read them all.
3. No, I’ve never heard any song and thought, “Wow, that could be Bella’s lullaby.” My secret dream (now public) is that someday Matthew Bellamy will compose it for me.
TM: Have gotten any grief in you ward or stake from over protective/ over-zealous parents?
I haven’t gotten any grief to my face, though I know it exists. My husband takes perverse delight in reading negative blogs to me. Things with titles like: “With what she writes, can Stephenie Meyer be a good member of the church?” That kind of thing only happens in Utah, where I will never, never live.
TM: Any idea when we will get to see the first chapter of Breaking Dawn? I’m so excited I can’t wait.
I don’t have any idea. Things are different that when I first started. I doubt I will be allowed to post the chapter on my website at all this time. They might put it in the back of the Eclipse Special Edition, but that depends on if we can get that much editing done in time for the ESE’s June release.
Don’t get antsy for the first chapter, though. That’s always just the recap/setup chapter. I try to work in as much new info as possible, but it’s never anything to write home about.
TM: What was at stake in the Emmett/Jasper bet on how many people Bella will kill during her first year? Like Bella asked, “what is a motivating prize when you had everything?”
I’m not exactly decided on that point, but I’m pretty sure it would involve cross-dressing. With Emmett and Jasper, the bets are never about a prize, they’re about avoiding humiliation.
TM: Steph, I love that you would stalk too! Who would it be? I have a few I can think of. If only Edward were real-dang.
maybe Matt Damon
a certain producer who shall not be named
and that adorable lead guitarist for People in Planes
Not that I’ve given it any thought….
TM: Steph, why can’t you read fan fic? for legal reasons?
To keep people from suing me, mostly.
Also, I did find it kind of unsettling how people had my characters so completely wrong. My perturbation resulted in Midnight Sun, though, so good did come out of it.
TM: During the talk that Bella and Edward have in his room towards the end of Eclipse, Edward tells Bella that he’s refusing her to save his virtue as well as her own. I assumed this to mean that Edward was still a virgin. In discussions with several people, I have been told that I assumed incorrectly and that’s not what he meant. Who’s correct?
Also, at their first lunch together, why did Edward take a bit of pizza instead of the apple that Bella had just been holding? I thought the apple would have been so symbolic.
Edward is still very much a virgin. Bella was his first kiss. (So that means Bella has kissed more people then Edward has.) I think the virtue discussion was clear enough that you are free to really rub this in to the people who told you you were wrong.
When I wrote the lunch scene, there was no apple cover yet
TM: How come Edward never specifically mentions that Bella would never be able to have children if she becomes a vampire. That is a big thing to sacrifice for a woman. Or is she able? I know you can’t really elaborate here, but…
Also I love the religious themes, thanks for explaining them a bit.
I assume that Bella would have no issues with fertility if she was marrying someone human. I think that those of us who have kids are more upset by the sacrifice than those who don’t. I’ve seen a lot of teen discussions to the effect of “Screw kids!! Bite her!!”
TM: I can’t imagine how life altering it must be to wake up one day after being published to this madness of being famous. What is that like for you?
It comes on pretty gradually, so I really don’t notice that many changes. And I’m only famous in very specific and uncommon circumstances. I’m a lot more stressed. I have more confidence (not that THAT’S saying much). I travel a lot more (but, as noted above, it sucks). Otherwise, I leave my house a lot less. And I don’t get to read like I used to, or watch tv or see movies. Too busy. I feel like I’m listing all the bad parts. The good part is getting to write whenever I want and no one can tell me to get off the computer and go do something productive.
TM: Edward, Emmett and Jasper SO remind me of my husband’s brothers.
All one way, right way thinkers. It really gets interesting! They all KNOW they are right, and they are all saying something DIFFERENT. Ha ha.
So if it is about saving face, how could she embarrass them too much?
They all had their own struggles after being changed…
(This question is referring back to the Emmett/Jasper bet)
No, no, SHE wouldn’t embarrass them. The winner would embarrass the loser. Yes, they all had struggles. The bet really isn’t about Bella at all. It’s about boredom and boyness.
TM: What character do you personally relate to the most? Why?
Physically, I’m most like Bella (being human and all). Also, I’ve got the pasty-white brunette thing down. And I’m not very graceful.
But she’s pretty serious most of the time, and I definitely have my giddy Alice moments.
Mentally, I tend to see eye to eye with Edward. If there are ever different opinions expressed, you can bet I’m on Edward’s side of the argument. I’m a very black/white, right/wrong, rule-oriented person. Not to say that I am harsh or judgmental–I only apply this kind of thinking to myself. So I’m hard on myself, but I usually give everyone else the benefit of the doubt.
TM: “What do you want me to do?” Edward growled, too anxious to bother with politeness anymore, “Carry her through that?..” (skipped some stuff here)
..A sudden howl ripped through the roar of the wind, and I covered my ears against the noise. Edward scowled.
“That was hardly necessary, ” he muttered. “And that’s the worst idea I’ve ever heard,” he called more loudly. (p. 489)
What was the idea? It seems that there was the idea that lead Edward to say “Carry her though that” and then the idea that ended with Jacob in bed with Bella. Were they different ideas? Which was Edward responding to when he said “that’s the worst idea I’ve ever heard”?
Here’s Jacob’s approximated side of the conversation:
J: You’re letting her freeze to death. Do something, idiot bloodsucker.
E: What do you want me to do? Carry her through that? I don’t see you making yourself useful. Why don’t you go fetch a space heater or something?
J: Space heater, huh? (Howls as he alerts the pack that he needs backup.) If you can’t help her, then I will.
E: (Can see J’s unarticulated intent to warm Bella up with body heat). That was hardly necessary. (This refers to the howl, since the pack could hear him without the vocals. It’s a habit thing for J though.) And that’s the worst idea I’ve ever heard. (Referring to the body heat part.)
TM: How many times do you read your own books with writing, editing, etc.? Do you ever read them just for fun? Sometimes I wish I had written these cool books, but on the other hand I’m glad you did, so I can just enjoy them without any of the work. Do you ever wish something like the reverse of that? Do you ever get sick of reading your own words? Do you ever get sick of the characters “talking” to you? (I love how you describe your writing as just telling the stories the characters are telling you. I know a lot of us wish we heard Edward’s voice in our head )
Just curiosity. I’ve never been in the mind of an author before. It’s great that you will just share with us. Thank you.
I would estimate that between self-editing and real editing, I probably read my books about 200 times. While I write, I read through the parts I have done over and over again to get up to speed. Yes, I do read them just for fun when I can, but I also do get sick of them at times, too (like right after a big edit.). You know how you enjoy something when it’s your idea, but if someone else is making you do it, it’s suddenly a chore? Like when you’re baking cupcakes because you just want to frost and eat, as compared to baking cupcakes for a class party. I don’t get sick of the characters talking, but then, they don’t just repeat the same stuff over and over again. They’re all moved on into the future, and I’m just trying to catch up. I think that might be why Breaking Dawn turned into such a hard thing at the end–I’d known the story for so long that the characters weren’t at that place anymore. They’d moved on, and I was on my own.
I don’t wish someone else was writing them. Creating a story is about a bazillion times better than just reading one. I used to think reading a good book was about the best escape in the world. But creating the story touches me in deeper places, and it’s so much more satisfying. I wouldn’t trade that.
TM: Welcome back Stephenie. I know you have said that your characters “speak to you” and that is how all the wonderful pages of writing come about for you;(even if you don’t want to write what they are telling you); my question for you is what were (to date) the most difficult pages to write for you in any of the books from an emotional point of view?
I have a hard time with exposition and transition. If there is a good dialogue going on, I can write 40 pages in a day (well, I did that once). There was one section of BD where I had to sum up a certain amount of time. It’s about ten pages long, and it took me almost a month to finish. I’m happiest when people are talking.
Emotionally, nothing’s really hard to write. Sure, I may cry along with the character at the time, but in a sick way I enjoy torturing them. Pain is compelling to write. In The Host, I got to beat my characters up pretty good, and I would be lying if I said it wasn’t fun. And I know the good parts are coming, so I can’t get too depressed or anything.
Well, I had this on the Books Thread, but since you are on here tonight….
Steph- I was SO glad to see you like Evanovich novels. They are my one big “guilty pleasure.” I avoid R movies, lewd music & most books that would fall into that category as well, and even the hotties pages…but I love her novels- every last one of them! You can tempt me with all sorts of things I can turn away from, but sick humor…DANG! It’s almost like reading Bella as a grown-up…with Edward as Morelli, just not “undead.” Too frickin’ hilarious!
I know exactly what you mean. Only I’m a Ranger girl. (C’mon! He KILLED a guy for her!) Books 7-9 made me laugh so hard I was sobbing. I feel like the series is going backwards now, though. She’s erasing any emotional progress that Stephanie’s made. Just make a decision for crying out loud!!
TM: Seriously, though, thank you so much for hanging out with us and answering all of our questions. You have no idea how much this means to us. I’ve been on Cloud 9 for the last three days. My husband asked me why I’m smiling so much!
Can I just tell you how weird it is to be able to make people happy just by answering a few questions? I guess it’s nice, too, but mostly weird.
TM: It is obvious that your characters are SO real. There is a depth in your books that isn’t found very many places. It really takes a gift to put that on paper. The love triangle between Edward, Bella and Jacob is one of the deepest feelings I have had in so long. Your heart aches for Edward, your heart breaks for Jacob, and there is Bella…right smack in the middle!
As mothers, wives, sisters etc. we know how overwhelming it gets. Bella plays so many active roles in her life. That is one of the things that really endears her to me. She loves her family in spite of the flaws. It seems they are the one thing that is REALLY hard for her to sacrifice. Even with all the perfection Edward offers, he still has misgivings…which makes him VERY human to me. He really does just want her to be happy. BD will be fantastic. Even if the characters moved on, I know you will be able to fully express all that they have felt and experienced. Thank you!!!
1st paragraph: This is why I’m here! People our age understand about different kinds of love, even different kinds of romantic love. You are able to have sympathy for all the characters. People who have yet to fall in love for the first time seem downright horrified by the idea of loving more than one person.
End of the 2nd paragraph: I’m not worried that BD will suck because the characters were so over it by the time I was able to finish–it’s really fun for me to read, and that’s always a good sign. It just made it really hard to write it.
TM: Do you think you will write more in the Twilight series? I have a minor crush on Jasper. I just find him adorable, in a Matt Damon in Bourne kind of way.
I can’t say for sure. Right now, I’m seriously burned out on vampires, and I still have Midnight Sun to go. Plus there is all kinds of behind the scene publishing politics with this series that sucks some of the fun out.
But could I really leave them behind for good? Probably not. I assume that after some recovery time, I’ll revisit the Twilight universe. I have a detailed outline for a fifth book, and I finally figured out how I’d end book six.
I say I’m burned out on vampires, but what have I been working on this weekend? Vampires When I need to recharge, sometime I write stuff for fun. So I’m working on an Eclipse extra that tells the story from the newborns’ perspective. Specifically from Bree’s pov. It’s really fun! I got to say “junkie ho”!
TM: Have you seen that new show, Moonlight? It seems like they are ripping off your story a bit. Any comments??
I don’t watch vampire shows–or read vampire books. But I’ve heard that Moonlight is taking advantage. That show was actually supposed to be called Twilight! (You can’t copyright a title.) I’m glad they changed that. There’s really nothing I can do about it, so I don’t worry about it.
(In response to a few wedding and honeymoon in Italy photo manipulations with Steph and Steven Strait)
These are freaking awesome. I may need to print one out and frame it. I’m sure my husband would love that!
TM: (talking about Robert Pattinson) The wispy armpit hair picture (LOL) was taken when he was 17 – he’s 21 (going on 22) now.
And my ONE beef with him is that he really is skinny. Not even just lanky – skinny. Here’s hoping that the next two months bring him a sculpted Edward-esque body.
Robert is undergoing intensive physical training as we speak (type). He should be excellently ripped by the time he films the meadow scene.
TM: Stephenie, how about you and the Twilight Moms on Oprah discussing the books?? After all, isn’t Edward originally from Chicago???
I don’t think my books qualify to be Oprah books. I think you have to take on bigger issues than Vampire/Werewolf love to make her interested. I don’t have any incest, adultery, spousal abuse, mental disease, molestation, anorexia, suicide, cutting, etc. Which is why I won’t ever get the Printz award either.
TM: Steph, I was posting about this under Midnight Sun, but wondering what your answer was….
Did Edward not “smell” Bella in the cafeteria the first time he saw her? Was it just because there were so many other humans and the smells all mixed together? After reading the first chapter of Midnight Sun again, this was my guess, but I thought with their excellent sense of smell, that he might have caught a wiff in the cafeteria?
Bella was upwind of him in the cafeteria. He didn’t catch her scent until the biology room.
TM: we’ve talked a lot about the wolves learning more during their “training sessions” with the vamps then just what they needed to know to fight the newborns. Were they collecting more information thinking they might fight the Cullens down the road? Also, if Carlisle had not taken care of Jacob and re-broke his bones so they would have healed correctly….would he have ever been able to morph again? If not…I think Billy needs to be eternally grateful to the Cullens….
The wolves were definitely thinking about that aspect.
Jacob would have healed up wrong, and, since a normal doctor couldn’t have been involved, his packmates would have had to try to straighten out his bones. It would have been a lot more painful and the end result would have been no where near as good. He would have been able to phase, but his wolf-self would have been just as messed.
Yeah, Jacob and Billy both owe Carlisle. But Carlisle owed the wolves for saving the Cullens’ butts, too. So maybe they’re even.
I have to go put the boogers to bed. It’s been a fun night! You ladies rock!
End of Part 1