I arrived at about 4:15 P.M. at the Unity Temple on The Plaza in Kansas City, MO. There were probably 150 people in line ahead of me.
The line wrapping around from the front of the building down the side of the building (I was about halfway down this line)
The doors opened promptly at 5:00 P.M. Those who had already picked up their book and ticket could take their seats right away. Since I was an out-of-towner, I had to get in another line to get my ticket and book. My signing ticket was #39! Woot for ordering the Deluxe signing package!
I took my seat and finally had a chance to look around a bit.
A view from the front of the auditorium (The balconies also filled up with some people)
There were fans of all ages! I spotted quite a few guys, and there were three infants there with their mommies. Gotta get them involved in the fandom early, hahaha! One girl was there with her brother; he had bought her the tickets for her birthday. Awwww! Someone else was having a birthday, so the crowd sang “Happy Birthday” to her. They had a large foamboard replica of the cover of The Host up at the front, so many people were posing with it for pictures.
Larlabelle poses (I didn’t realize until afterwards that I covered up my shirt. Brilliant, I am. )
There were people from all walks of life there; it was so cool to see how Stephenie has impacted so many people. I saw lots of cute t-shirts, mostly Twilight themed. Some were homemade, others were not.
Stephenie came out promptly at 7:00 P.M. to a standing ovation. The woman is a rock star! I had heard about how pretty she is from other people who have been to signings, and it is true; Stephenie is gorgeous! She seemed a little nervous, but happy to be there with us. This is only her second Host event, so she said she was hyperventilating backstage a little bit!
Stephenie speaks to us! (I’m sorry, my pictures of her are a little dark. It’s either from the camera, the photographer, or both…I train squirrels, what do you expect?!?!)
Stephenie said the reason why she wrote this novel was because she is a writer. She is a storyteller. But, that doesn’t mean she is an editing person! Eclipse was the third book in a row that she had been editing, so she needed something to remind her of what she was doing. She said she needed to be writing again, to just be telling a story. Writing The Host took her away to this brand new world. The Host was not inspired by a dream (She said you probably only get one of those kinds of inspiring dreams once in your life). It came to her when she was driving to Salt Lake City for her brother’s graduation. It was a way to entertain herself in the car. That was where she first got the idea of “What if there were two people in love with the same guy and they were in the same body?”
She said she got to explore a lot of different things with this book that were important to her. This was her first chance to write about a mother/child bond. To have a chance to explore that and the way we change our lives because of who we love sometimes, when we change our lives because our community expects something different of us than what we want, it seemed like an important story to tell.
She thinks it is the best thing she has written. She said The Host was a joy to write, and she is glad she can share it with us.
She read sections from Chapter 11, “Dehydration,” from pages 104-108. I had already read it, but I didn’t think it was really spoilery for anyone. She apologized for her reading voice, but I thought she had a great reading voice!
At one point as she was reading, she stopped to talk about the cholla cactus, which she said will practically jump out and stick you. Ouch! She stopped reading at the part where Melanie/Wanderer find Twinkies, and Stephenie said, “Twinkies are cool.” Everyone got a laugh at that. Of course Twinkies are cool; Stephenie says so! Hahaha!
Okay, on to the Q&A! Remember, I have summarized her answers. Any direct quotes are in quotation marks!
The Host Questions
How long did it take you to write The Host?
About a year, but she wasn’t working on it continuously because she was going back and forth between editing and writing.
Another fan asked whether or not she had read any alien books or watched any alien movies since she has said she hasn’t really read/seen vampire books/movies.
She said she does like science fiction. She said she grew up on it because her dad used to read science fiction and fantasy when she was younger. She likes Orson Scott Card. She loves movies like Serenity, and she said Star Wars is science fiction for those of us who weren’t aware of it!
Did the characters in The Host play out like the Twilight ones did?
She said she did continue to see what The Host characters were doing after the book was over, much like the Twilight characters. She is very visual, so she could see them like a movie. She said she could be blindfolded and draw a map of the caves from The Host, because they are that real to her.
OH. MY. GOD! omg, omg, omg, omg, omg…This next question was the one I submitted! She even said my name!
What inspired you to make the hosts look the way they do? (i.e., silver, feathery attachments)
When she began writing the book, she never considered writing from the human POV, always the alien POV. When she she started describing the souls, she knew that to Wanderer the souls would be considered beautiful. She also wanted to describe them so that even humans could see the beauty that was there, so she made them really pretty. But she also wanted the humans to see something of horror, something awful, at the same time. She had an image in her head, even as she was looking at things from Wanderer’s POV. Even though The Host was not inspired by a dream, she talked about remembering a nightmare involving two children (not her own) and centipedes wanting to take the children from her. She said this helped her to look at the appearance of the souls from another perspective. She talked about how someone asked her who they should be rooting for in the book. This person had asked her if they were supposed to be rooting for the humans, because they kind of weren’t. Stephenie said that depending on who you root for, you can see them as beautiful or as a nasty bug.
Wanderer and Bella are both characters who don’t fit in. Why do you write this character type?
Stephenie talked about how many characters in books are actually like that. She mentioned a book called Golden but couldn’t think of the author, where the character is supposed to be perfect; in the next book, Platinum, you see how this character really struggles with that image. Stephenie said that many of us feel like we are the exceptions, so we don’t fit in all the time. It’s a natural thing. She said that is the beautiful thing about being human; we are all unique and exceptional.
Are the souls Callings similar despite the planet they are on?
She said it would be different for the planets. On the Flowers Planet (the Sun World), they get food from the sun. In that society, hunting and gathering would not be as rewarding, so they would do other things that would be more beneficial. She alluded to another question someone had asked about Wanderer’s role as a storyteller on the See Weed planet. When Wanderer was a See Weed, the Calling of storytelling was the most important because they didn’t need to look for food, so entertaining was important. She said it all depends on the environment and the needs associated with that environment. She said that creating the twelve different worlds was a lot of fun because she got to play with things like that.
Will there be a sequel to The Host?
She doesn’t know yet. She said she has been working pretty much straight for the past two years. She wants to take a little break. After Breaking Dawn is done, she just wants to stay at home and write…it could be about ghosts, mermaids, whatever she feels like. She has outlines for Host sequels, but said that the world in The Host is a dangerous place. Because it is so dangerous, characters may have to die and she’s not sure she wants to kill them off.
Is the eye on the cover of the book Stephenie’s eye?
No! She’s getting asked this question a lot, but it is not her eye. It is some model’s eye.
How do you feel about the New Kids on the Block reunion?
Lots of laughs on this question! She said she really couldn’t tell us the difference between the Backstreet Boys, NSYNC, and the New Kids but that her publicist has tickets and told her she’s going to use Stephenie’s name to get her daughter backstage! Haha! Stephenie was laughing a lot on this question.
What do aspiring writers need to know about becoming a professional author?
She laughed at this at first. She said she thinks a lot of people glamorize this. She talked about how she doesn’t have a nanny, she takes care of her kids, and she writes in her living room so she knows what’s going on. It’s really pretty normal. She said it can be a good excuse for whenever you are on the computer; just say “I’m working!” even if you’re playing Solitaire. You get to create new worlds, stories to share with people. There are hard things about it though: people coming at your story with a red pencil, coming up with awful covers for your books, choosing the words on the jacket. She said there have been some disillusioning moments for her, but the pros definitely outweigh the cons! If you think being an author sounds really fun and glamorous and you just want to tell people you wrote a book but don’t actually want to write, it’s probably not for you. She said if you write just to have enjoyment, even if no one else sees it, then you’re a writer.
What would you say has been the biggest change in your life after writing Twilight?
Stephenie said most of the changes have been internal, like helping her to believe more in herself. She did say she was able to move closer to her mom and has a few more pretty cars in her garage now!
How is your husband dealing with your fame?
Stephenie said he handles it really well; he’s a funny guy. He takes it all in stride, and does a great job of handling all the family things. She said he Googles her and tell her what he finds, whether it’s good or bad!
What do you like best about Kansas City?
The tulips! They grow out of the ground everywhere. (Having been a former resident of the KC area, she is right! The tulips there are gorgeous!)
What’s on your iPod playlist?
Always Muse! One of the movie producers gave her a CD of songs they were listening to (NOTE: SM DID NOT SPECIFICALLY SAY IT WAS MUSIC FROM OR FOR THE MOVIE! Please don’t read too much into that, people! I don’t want to be blamed for false rumors!). She mentioned a band named Stars and the name of another band that I couldn’t quite make out. She said she hasn’t had a chance to check out a lot of new music lately.
How long do you plan to keep on writing?
Forever! Until my hands fall off! She doesn’t know if she’ll always publish everything. She has too much fun creating. She used to think reading was the best (especially on a rainy day while eating a green apple), but now she thinks creating your own stories is the best.
What positive message do you hope readers take away with your books?
She said she just hopes people have fun, and have a really great reading experience. She hopes we can all sit down, forget about the world for a while (maybe with a good green apple! I love that she said this) and really enjoy ourselves.
**Stephenie-judging from the excitement of the crowd, I’d say you have definitely caused us to all have a really great reading experience!**
Stephenie finished her presentation at 7:30 P.M., and then the signings began. The people from Rainy Day Books called groups of numbers out (for example, 1-100), and had us line up. They made sure our names were written clearly so Stephenie could personalize The Host, and they helped us stack our books so that the signing went pretty quickly. I can only speak from my experience, but I thought the event was very well organized and the staff was very helpful. Kudos to Rainy Day Books!
I got my book signed just before 8:00. Stephenie was very friendly! I did have to have a fangirl moment, and I told her how excited I was that she answered my question about the souls’ appearance. I told her my book club would be excited! Woot! She was everything I had heard she would be: funny, kind, gracious, and extremely cool.
I was out the door at 8:05 P.M. It was truly an awesome night! Someone needs to peel me off the ceiling, because I haven’t calmed down yet! And I have a serious cramp in my wrist from scribbling so fast. I haven’t take so many notes since college! Hahaha!
Two more pictures:
Squeee! My copy of The Host is signed!