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Mall of America

Meyer, Stephenie. "Q+A At the Mall of America. Tour for The Host. 6 May 2008.

Hi! *fangirl screams* Thank you guys so much for coming out tonight. Thank you! This is really exciting for me to, well, be in the Mall of America, and to hear all of the screaming down the hallways. And then also to be out for The Host because I've been doing a lot of vampire things. But I'm very excited to be doing things for this book because in a lot of ways it is more important to me. I feel like this is some of my best writing and so I was really pleased to have the chance to share it with everybody and to show that I could do something else. I had a little presentation to do with a reading and all of that, but then I heard that you guys were going to be standing and they brought me some questions that people who were here early got to fill these out. People who are ----. So as I was going through the questions, they were things that I was going to be talking about anyway. So I decided the easiest thing for me would be to just answer your questions because they pretty much cover everything. So I will get started.
The first question is from Debbie and Sue and they drove here from Chicago. Eight hours? Eight hours in the car? That's just crazy. Oh, by plane! Wow. So their question was,

"We know you had a dream that inspired Twilight. What inspired The Host?"
Very good question. I think a lot of people have the impression that I
wait around for a dream to start writing. It doesn't actually work that way. That was a one time experience, but ever since I was a little kid, I have been a storyteller. And my audience was one person and that was me. So every time we went on one of those endless family vacations in our big, giant van with everybody piled into it, back before they had DVD players, I would sit back there and tell myself stories to keep from going insane with boredom. And I recently had to drive, well, not too recently, a couple of years back, to drive from Phoenix to Salt Lake City, which is the most boring drive in the whole world, and my kids were in the back with their headphones on and I was driving alone and so I was telling myself a story, as I do, to keep from going crazy, and I was kind of in the middle of it, and I don't know where it came from, but all of a sudden I was thinking about these two characters who were sharing a body and were in love with the same person. And I really like complicated relationships, and I thought, "that's got some potential!" And so that's how I got started, with just that little hint of an idea, and I was in the process of editing Eclipse at the time, and this is the thing. I love telling stories, but I really hate editing them. And so to keep from really losing my mind I started writing The Host on the side. it was just a little side project to keep my hand in on the writing. To have something to be excited about when I got up in the morning. And oddly enough it turned out to be the longest story ever. I know some of you are carrying around more than one and I'm sorry about the weight. But that is how I got started writing The Host. It was a different experience and a really, really enjoyable one for me. I hope that reading it is as enjoyable as it was for me writing it.

OK, this next question doesn't have a name on it, so I don't know who it's from, but she asks, or he asks, "how are the characters in The Host similar to you?" And that's an interesting question because I am not alien. As far as I know. But actually the characters are really interesting to me because they have things that I want to be and they have things that I ----.

********************* All sense of order is lost *********************
Q: Were you ever an obsessed fanatic about a book like so many of your fans are?
And I don't know... I never drove eight hours to see anybody. A lot of that was because I never had a car. *laughs* I didn't really have that choice. I really have gotten into my fanaticism later in life. Muse, when I discovered them in 2004, I think, that was a new thing for me to find something that I was just so obsessive about. There were some books when I was growing up. I would have never dreamed of trying to contact the author or going to see them because wow, I just felt like I was such a distance from that. You know, they were this amazing other creature and I was the mere mortal and I wasn't going to bother them. But man, I loved Anne McCaffrey. If I could have had one book be real, it would have been Dragonflight. I would have loved to live in that world. And then as I got older I discovered Orson Scott Card and I don't know if I want to live in his worlds, but when you read his books you think that you are, which is so cool. So those are some of the things I'm fanatical about, but I'm not one to camp out overnight because seriously, soft beds are about the best thing in the world.

SM: And she wants to know, "Being a mom, do you ever get to bring your kids with you when you travel?" If I wanted to, but oh my gosh, I can't even imagine. I did recently for the first time take my kids out. I did take my husband when I went to Italy because I honestly think he would have had the locks changed if I had left him at home. He really wanted to come. And then after being with me for a week on tour, he was like, "Wow, this really isn't fun." And I was like, "See..." He stopped calling it "When you get back from 'vacation'" like he used to after that. Being on tour is a lot of different hotels every night and interview after interview after interview; it's not really a kid thing. But I did take my kids to the movie set last week. Two weeks ago? Last week? *fangirl shrieking* I'll get to a movie question I picked up. And it was pouring rain and the sand was so wet that you literally had to lift your feet up everything three seconds to keep from getting sucked in. And they kept picking it up on the monitors. It was miserable. My kids were like, "This sucks. When are we leaving?" And I'm like, "OK, fine, this is your last chance. I'm not taking you back." And they're like, "oh, we're out of here." So my kids don't want to be here and I'm just happy to have them at home where I can get to their baseball games and that's cool. OK, this one is from Cindy Hyrink from Rushmore,

What music inspired you during the writing of The Host? Well, obviously, Muse. One of the signature songs from the playlist, which I did not send to my brother to have him put on the website, so I don't have it with me on this computer. So when I get home I'll put the playlist up. Sorry. "Futurism" by Muse is sort of the signature song. "Original of the Species" by U2 is another really big one. "My Name is Love," Rob Dickinson, is another one that's on the list. Offhand I can't think of all of them, but I was listening to similar music as I usually do and there were specific songs that kind of jumped out at me and said, "this is a Host song." If you listen to the words to "Original of the Species", it's like, "wow! Bono just wrote this one just for me! That's so nice of him!" All right, no name on this one; she wants to know why there are blank pages in the book. And I don't want to say too much because not everybody has read that far, but I will tell you that the blank pages are intentional; nothing got left out. And they're there for a reason which I think when you get there, you'll understand. OK, this one is from Josie from Menomonee, did I get that right? And she wants to know, "Do you think you will write a second book to The Host? Another very good question. This is the thing. I'm kind of tired. I want to be able to write, but I don't want to have to be under pressure and deadlines. So I'm going to sort of let myself see what I want to write and go from there. I do have an outline for the next book and I've got two chapters written. So if I were to go ahead with it, the trilogy would be The Soul, The Seeker; I mean, The Host, The Seeker, and The Soul. That would be the trilogy. But I don't know. I'm sure I'll get around to it eventually. One of the hard things about writing sequels to The Host is ------


Vee. Or V-y. I'm not sure which. Vie! And she wrote, "Which character in The Host did you find it most fascinating to write for?" And that's a really good question. One of the things that I enjoyed most about writing is, it's a rare occasion, I'd say one out of twenty characters, gets away from you. You have a plan. You've got an outline. This is what's supposed to happen. And then this one character refuses to do what you told them to do. In The Host, that character turned out to be Ian. Ian was supposed to be the backup bad guy. You know, the guy who stands next to the other bad guy and is like, "Yeah! We're going to get you!" Just that back up guy. But Ian would not be that person for me. There was much too much to him and I was amazed at how he morphed into this other guy that I hadn't anticipated. And I just love the characters that I don't anticipate. So he was my favorite to develop. But all of them. Jeb was someone that just came out of nowhere. From the beginning, he was himself. His way of talking, the way he thought, was so unique to Jeb and not anyone that I know, but he just was. And I love those kinds of characters.

"Did you know as a kid that you wanted to be an author? Some kids know what they want to do when they grow up. When did you know?" I did not. When I was a kid, I wanted to be a paleontologist. And then when I figured out that that would be taking a lot of science, I skipped out. And then when I was in first grade I wanted to be a ballerina, which was not in the cards. And then I wanted to be a lawyer for a long time, and I thought that one would stick. But the one thing I knew when I was majoring in English so I could read books for my homework and I would never have to take another math class for as long as I lived. And I never did, so it worked out perfectly.

That much interest in literature, to want to write. I think you need to write for you. I have a lot of people who are like, "What should I do to get published? I have this idea for a book, and I'm not sure about which audience it would appeal to. And should I make a connection with an agent now, or should I wait until I have a few chapters done?" And I just think you have to forget all of that. You cannot think about other people reading your story. You cannot think about which demographic you are trying to appeal to. It has to be about you and the story. You have to write for yourself, enjoy it yourself. If you're bored with it then there's something wrong. You should be absolutely fascinated with your story because it should be perfect for you. Maybe not for everybody else, but for you it should be perfect. So you have to keep everyone else out of your mind and just write. And then when you're all done, when you're really happy with it, then you go outside and you find an English teacher or a librarian or a parent or a friend who you really trust and you can let them read what goes on inside of your head and get some feedback. And they'll polish it up really well, and then get a subscription to Writer's Market online. That is the best place to start; they give you all kinds of information. But don't even go there in your head until after the book is written. I really think that is an important thing to do.

*********************** End *************.

What kind of involvement did you have in making the Twilight movie?

When I get started on the movie, I just kind of drool, and eeyyylll. I was more involved than I had the right to be. The thing with movie people is they know too many cooks in the kitchen, you know, cause a big mess. And they're very visual, creative people, and they have their visions, so they know pulling in an author with a very distinct vision of her own can cause problems. And there are all kinds of lawsuits going on with authors about script approval and whatnot, in case things don't work out. So it's kind of a scary thing for them to have you come in and say, "wow... that's really not how I pictured it." Luckily for Summit, most of it fits. I don't know how many of you have seen the movie poster that's up online now... yeah, I got to see that, like, two weeks ago. Sorry. And it was so amazing. I'm looking at it going *jaw drops*, you know, I always knew that Rob Pattison was going to be good, and I was out there at the very beginning *screaming* telling al those Gaspard Uliel fans, and I thought, "no, seriously, he is the best Edward! Trust me, he can do this!" And I just love now, that, you know at first when I saw him, I thought, "Yeah, he's going to do a good version of Edward. I can totally see him doing that." But I never anticipated that he would end up looking like the Edward in my head. I had not seen that one coming. And he really does. Which is just amazing. And he's such an amazing actor and to have had this photographic evidence that I was right, I love that. I got to work with the script for a little bit, they didn't take every one of my advice, my suggestions, but they took a lot of them. They rewrote a couple of the scenes for me, they've added in some scenes for me. I got to fiddle a little bit with the actors, which was great. They let me come on set and kind of sit there and watch everything. And I try and behave like I'm mature, which I'm not. So I got to be pretty involved. Right now we're working on the second one, which I hope comes together, because I think they did a really good job; I think this is the right place to be. And overall, you know, the movie's just fun. If it turns out, somehow, to be total crap, it's not my fault! Having zero responsibility just makes it so much fun for me again; I get a huge kick out of it. .

OK, this is the last question. I saved it for last because I thought it was funny. Alanna wants to know if I've ever slipped and called my husband Edward. And you could add into that... you know, or Jared, or Ian, or... or Jacob. The sad truth is that no one ever, ever, ever in a million years could mistake my husband for Edward. So no, I honestly have never done that. Usually when I step away from my computer I'm pretty good about reawakening to the real world and remembering that they're all not real, which is terribly depressing, so I haven't done that.

So I'm done with my questions, and now I have a lot of books to sign and I know you guys want to be able to go home. So I just wanted to say again: you guys are so amazingly awesome. I'm so glad you're here tonight supporting my new book even there there's no Edward in it. I love you. Thank you so much.

This post would have been utterly impossible without the following:

The Twilight Lexicon, where people send all their stuff, Anexiarin, ImAnAlice, rosastania26, simplymortal14, sweetishbubble, and VampiresHaveFangs.

If you were present at this Q+A and have more information or somehow otherwise know what order these things occurred in, please let me know and I'll add you, too! =)


steph says