Report by bethg and Racello
The pre-dawn hours of May 6 found us making our way to the Barnes and Noble at Stonebriar Mall in Frisco, TX, with hopes of getting tickets to the Q&A and signing with Stephenie to be held on May 10. We arrived at 6 am to find about 250 dedicated fans (which included a surprising number of very patient dads) already in line for the store’s 7 am opening. Those at the front of the line had arrived more than 12 hours earlier! The weather was damp, windy and chilly. Hats off to the brave souls who camped out. By the time the store opened, the line had grown to around 400, but things moved quickly and we were back in the car by 7:45 am, clutching our tickets for auditorium seats (Row G!) and multiple copies of The Host. Good timing, as it began to pour down rain soon after.
By contrast, the afternoon of May 10 was windy, hot and humid. Welcome to Texas, Stephenie! We had our books ready to go, so we joined the crowd of 1000 enthusiastic fans filling the auditorium and cafeteria of Frisco’s Centennial High School, including Twilight celebrities such as The Bella Cullen Project band and (reportedly) Twilight Guy. Many creative shirts were spotted throughout the crowd. As it got closer to starting time, the excitement built and spontaneous chanting/cheering for Edward, Jacob, and Stephenie broke out.
Stephenie says she’s happy to be in Dallas (more screaming) and explains that she is answering pre-submitted questions.
The Host Questions
1. What was your inspiration for The Host? Twilight was a dream, was it something like that?
No, my theory is that you only get one dream that good in your life. You can choose to forget about, or you can choose to write it down. I chose to write it down. She goes on to speak about how her favorite thing in the world used to be reading a good book, but at age 29 she figured out that her favorite thing was actually writing a good book. She talks about enjoying complicated relationships, such as two people in one body fighting over the same guy. Sci-fi was what she grew up with, so it was natural that she would venture into sci-fi.
2. On your website, you say that you are anti-human. What exactly does that mean?
She talks a little about how people have accused her of being anti-feminist, but the story of Bella and Edward would have been the same if the roles were reversed and Bella was the vampire. Same goes for the genders of the characters in The Host. She refers to herself as an equal opportunity oppressor. She says the humans in her stories tend to be weak, compared to the other characters she makes up. Stephenie says writing from the perspective of the alien (Wanderer) came naturally.
3. How did you go from Twilight to The Host? Did you have to catch yourself from using Edward’s and Bella’s names?
She tends to get very involved in the story when she is working on a book, so it does take a while to switch gears to another story. After working on editing for the Twilight series, she’d have to take about 2 days to read over what she’d already written, outlines, etc. to get back into Host mode.
4. Are any of the characters in The Host based on people in your life?
The character Doc ended up taking on some characteristics of her younger brother (and webmaster) Seth. *big cheer from the audience*
5. Was it hard transitioning from writing for teens to adults? (part of question cut off in video)
There is no difference. The last thing on her mind is the target market of her audience. A good story is her focus.
6. In both The Host and Twilight, you explore the value of a soul. Why?
Stephenie talks a bit about her religious background influencing her thoughts about why we are here and what’s coming next. In The Host, her characters explore the question: If the world has been destroyed or taken over, what does that mean for people of faith? She feels this makes them more real, more well-rounded.
1. Do you have any tips for people like me who want to publish books?
Don’t focus on the publishing, focus on the enjoyment of writing. The writing is the fun part. Being an author is not as glamorous as it seems. After you’ve written a book, do research, follow the rules, be persistent, and you have a good chance at getting your work in the hands of someone who will give it a chance.
2. How do you keep a plot going once you’ve started your idea?
It is always about the characters. As long as you have interesting and exciting characters, the story will flow. Exception would be for a mystery, where you have to plan out that plot very carefully.
3. What other characters would you like to write stories for?
Right now in her computer, she has started a story about a ghost, one about mermaids, and some about regular ordinary people in a murder-mystery plot. She’d like to try a little bit of everything.
Stephenie remained on the stage for the signing, and everyone waited patiently for their chance to file across and have their books signed. When our turn came, she was gracious and funny. She said to say hi to everyone at the Dex and to be sure and say good things about her. We assured her that we would give a full report on her amazing wit and beauty. It was a great day!