Huge thanks to everyone at Crepusculo-es for inviting me along, and to Stephenie for such an entertaining interview. The guys at Crepusculo are doing a full on transcript of the interview, but these are the notes I made. Unless it’s in quotes, it’s paraphrased from what Stephenie actually said.
Is Edward based on anyone?
Edward is all himself, and has always been himself. Much as Stephenie’s husband might want to claim it’s based on him, it’s not. The characters come completely formed. Edward is Stephenie’s version of the perfect man.
Is Emmett going to have a more important role in future novels?
Emmett has become a side-character – not intentionally, but because he’s so straightforward. He’s a very open character with no secrets. More will be revealed about both Rosalie and Jasper in ‘Eclipse’.
Will ‘Midnight Sun’ be published?
Stephenie is currently up to writing chapter 12, which isn’t very far into the story of ‘Twilight’. New bits of the story (not in Twilight) will be seen in this version of the story, for example the car chase at the end of the book when Bella is trapped by James. Stephanie mooted the possible publication dates of Spring 08 or 09.
Why does Bella have so many dreams?
Dreams are things that can change your life, and the subconscious can bring things out that aren’t clear in daily living. Bella puts things together through her dreams. Interestingly, Stephenie pointed out that if Bella becomes a vampire then she won’t be dreaming any more as vampires don’t sleep.
Where do werewolves come from?
The backstory to the werewolves is coming in ‘Eclipse’. It’s a longer book than ‘New Moon’ and Stephenie says that the books are getting progressively longer.
Does writing dialogue come naturally?
It stems from the fact that Stephenie is really shy. She said she was shaking during the TV interview in Madrid. As a consequence of being shy, she had a lot of internal dialogues with herself, especially during high school.
Are any of the houses in the books real?
Yes. Bella’s house in Phoenix that Alice sees through the vision is the home that Stephenie grew up in. The ballet studio is also real. Everything else is either made up or Googled on the internet. The whole world was created, but Phoenix is obviously from her own personal experience.
The question was about the blank pages in ‘New Moon’ when Bella stopped living after Edward left.
Stephenie explained that originally they didn’t exist, but the shift in time was just too stark and abrupt. She needed something to give a sense of time passing and just how long it was. The idea of these pages with just the months on them evolved gradually over time.
What’s your favourite phrase from the books?
Stephenie’s least favourite quote is the one that’s on the back of ‘Twilight’: ‘About three things I was absolutely positive…’
From ‘New Moon’, she likes the line: “I was like a lost moon—my planet destroyed in some cataclysmic, disaster-movie scenario of desolation—that continued, nevertheless, to circle in a tight little orbit around the empty space left behind, ignoring the laws of gravity” and also talked about “I bet she’s tougher than that – she runs with vampires.” Stephenie said how she particularly likes the dialogue between the wolves as it reminds her of her brothers when they were younger.
The discussion moved on to “So the lion fell in love with the lamb”. Stephenie said that in some ways this could be a role reversal from the way it appears. Edward could well be the lamb because of his insecurities.
At the end of ‘Twilight’, Alice mentions “other options” when Bella is fleeing from James. What other options?
This is referring to Bella being changed into a vampire. Present and future are all very similar for Alice, and for her it is a simple concept to just skip events forward to how they may be in the future. Alice never thinks about being human or what she’s lost; Edward does. He’s a more complex character in this respect as he has lost much more.
Anything more about the werewolves?
Stephenie said that she loves the brotherhood of the wolves and the pack mind. Within La Push, the wolves are pack animals. There are more vampires than wolves overall, as werewolves can’t change people by biting them – it has to be a genetic link. Billy is in the genetic line to have changed into a werewolf, but the books imply that he didn’t change as the vampires weren’t present at the time. Stephenie confirmed that it’s “not wrong to assume that”. Stephenie wouldn’t venture any further than this, as she was worried about giving us a spoiler!
Has the cover for ‘Eclipse’ been agreed on yet?
Just last week. She couldn’t tell us what it was, but says she likes it an awful lot better than the cover for ‘New Moon’. She liked the ‘Twilight’ cover because of the symbolism of it, and disliked ‘New Moon’ because it was just a pretty picture. This implies that the art work on the ‘Eclipse’ cover might give us some hints!
How do you research things?
Volterra was originally a fake city as Stephenie didn’t want to be sued for making a real city founded and governed by vampires. However, she knew she wanted to name the place Volterra and thought that Tuscany would be a good place for it as it’s both remote and ancient. She looked at a map on the internet and found that there actually was a place called Volterra. Upon investigating further, she found that the clock tower in Volterra was exactly the same as the one she’s imagined. She’s visiting it in April.
Doesn’t Edward remember what food tastes like?
Not really. It’s a bit like being five years old, because human memories fade over time, whereas vampire memories are total recall. If someone has a fever or is ill when they are first transformed, they are likely to let human memories fade more quickly. If someone concentrates on human memories in the early days they would have excellent recall of what it was like. This is why Rosalie has a good memory of her human years, because this is something she wanted to hang on to.
Doesn’t Bella have any friends she keeps in touch with in Phoenix?
Bella’s Phoenix existence was pretty much as her mother’s best friend as Renee takes an awful lot of effort and time. Bella is shy too, so has no real close girlfriends she’d go shopping with or anything like that. She didn’t leave strong ties behind her and it’s easy to fall out of touch with people.
Why can Edward read minds?
He was really aware of and in tune with people when he was a human. He understood the way that people were thinking. Bella’s gift is her inner strength and her self-containment.
What about the movie?
There are no scripts yet, and Stephenie isn’t allowed to be involved anyway. They want to apply their vision of it to the film, not hers. She went with MTV because they understood the innocence of the relationship and the need for character actors to play the normal people so that the vampires would stand out as being particularly beautiful. The rights haven’t been bought for ‘New Moon’ yet. Stephenie likes Tyler Posey (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0692677/) as an idea for a young Jacob.
Have you read any of Anne Rice’s books?
Stephenie read one while she was in college (the one with the witches), but didn’t find it quite her style. She doesn’t do the horror thing! Now she can’t read vampire stories at all. There’s so much cross-over in the genre, that ideas are bound to overlap. Stephenie has also promised to watch Buffy when her writing in this universe is done.
It was something very immediate. One day she wasn’t an author and the next day she was. She intended to use her maiden name – Stephenie Morgan – on the books because she feels that reflects who she is as an individual. However, the publicity was done very quickly with her married name on it, so it was never an option.
Chapter 13 of ‘Twilight’ was her dream, and she had to write up to that, but had no real idea of what was going to be involved. She knows where the ultimate end is going to be, and if different decisions had been made by the characters what would have happened then. She writes very detailed outlines but these change as she goes along.
On her website, she has plans to post the alternate ending to ‘Eclipse’ which was what she was going to have to write if she had been limited to three books. As she says, it “messes with your head” but she likes it. She thinks it’ll be about 5 or 6 chapters long, and would produce a resolution to the storyline if books hadn’t been written beyond that point.
‘Eclipse’ is a favourite book and is a chance to get a lot more comedy in. Stephenie says that there is a lot more humour in this book, as she now has an editor that gets her sense of humour.
“Humans are boring; they need something extra.” Stephenie grew up with X-Men and other superheroes, and said, “I want to be a mermaid – I love mermaids.” She has plans to write a book on mermaids, or perhaps sirens, but these will be very different from the traditional type, just like her vampires are different.
Her mermaids will be thought to be cannibals because they eat humans. The humans fish for them, but because the mermaids need to go near the shore that leads to inevitable conflict.
The story will be about a girl with the nickname Froggy. She’s a human, but doesn’t really know where she belongs. Stephenie thinks this will be set in a fantasy world. The mermaids will be named with sounds that make it seem like they’re talking underwater. Long ‘e’ sounds, with l and s too.
What’s your typical day like?
On a good day, Stephenie can write a whole chapter. Generally she edits during the day but writes after 8pm at night after her children have gone to bed. Her husband watches sport on the TV. She laughed and said that Charlie is based on a lot of men – they just put the sport on, no matter what it is, and watch it.
Her editing and rewriting never stops. She adds in foreshadowing, or makes things clearer for the reader so things don’t look as if they’re coming out of nowhere. She edits repeatedly with her editor, to the point where she’d rather set fire to the manuscript than do any more.
Why do you like your favourite authors?
Stephenie likes them “because of the real emotions in the books. It was how I would feel and respond.” She discussed parallels between Marianne’s reaction to losing Willoughby as being just like Bella’s response when Edward left. ‘Pride and Prejudice’ is her favourite Jane Austen and Laurence Olivier is Stephenie’s Mr Darcy!