The Twilight fandom is still alive and well.
Walking towards Downtown Los Angeles’ The Last Bookstore on Wednesday afternoon, I witnessed something I haven’t seen in seven years: A line going around the block to celebrate the release of a new Twilight book. Stephenie Meyer was hosting the last of four signing events in support of the new gender-swapped Twilight novel, Life and Death.
The first person in line for the sold-out event, Ashley, drove 387 miles from Sacramento. She left her northern California home at 4:50 a.m. and arrived at the store shortly before 12:30 p.m wearing her long-sleeve “Twilight Imprinted on me” t-shirt.
These are the types of fans Twilight built its success on, and after all these years they’re still in love with everything Bella and Edward. Or in this case, Beau and Edyth.
Stephenie meets a fan, Amy, during her signing on October 14 (image credit: Tom Gallo, GH Prime Media LLC)
Stephenie Meyer surprised the world last week when Twilight’s 10th Anniversary Edition included a big bonus in the form of a gender-swapped version of the original story. Though it’s being presented as additional content and not exactly a “new book,” it’s arguably the first new novel Meyer has penned since 2008’s Breaking Dawn and The Host.
Before Stephenie’s final event, Hypable sat down with the author to discuss Life and Death’s release, fandom, and what other Twilight books she may publish in the future. Jacob and Renesmee fans should prepare themselves for some cool news!
Question: You pulled a Beyoncé with this book release.
Stephenie Meyer: That was so not the intention. Beyoncé is this big entrance, right? “Let’s just, let’s just scrape this one by under the radar” — that was my thought, it didn’t work out quite exactly that way.
Q: Were you nervous coming up to the release that the secret would get out?
SM: Oh yeah, we had like five or six leaks, and this is why Twilight fans are so awesome. There were a couple of people who saw ads that got out early, books that were put out early, and our marketing people contacted them and said, “Hey, could you keep this a secret for a couple more days?” “Sure,” and they did. Completely. I mean, not many would do that. Twilight fans are awesome.
Q: I was in a Barnes & Noble, day of release, as soon as it opened, and the books were already sitting out. And I was like, “How did this not come out the night before? That’s amazing.”
SM: That is sweet.
Q: So, it’s been 10 years. I became a fan in 2007.
SM: So you’ve been on for the long ride.
Q: Right, but the 10th anniversary surprised me because I was like, “Wow, the books were there even before 2007.” When did you personally realize that Twilight was going to be a big phenomenon?
SM: There were a lot of points at which I was surprised. When the book first came out and I got on the New York Times list, I was nobody. There was no reason for anyone to read it. Not really. And that felt like a pretty big deal. I was done. I didn’t need any more than that. And then as it kinda snowballed it’s always been this real shock. I’m incredulous. I don’t know why. [Laughter]
Q: Was there a light bulb moment where suddenly you thought, “this is huge?”
SM: Maybe when we started on the movie, and everyone who was involved was telling me, “we usually don’t have [fans] standing around waiting all day long to see people. This is unusual.” That it surprised [filmmakers] surprised me.
Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke, star Kristen Stewart, and Meyer on set in 2008
Q: Do you have one piece of Twilight memorabilia that means a lot to you?
SM: I have the main floor stone from the Volturi tower that Wyck Godfrery, who was one of the producers, got that and inscribed it for me and I really liked that. [Stephenie at this point has a huge smile on her face.]
Q: If you were to write about another character in the Twilight world, who would it be?
SM: I think if I was really going to do it it would be Renesmee. And Leah. Those are the two most unresolved characters. If I was going to do it — if it wasn’t for my enjoyment — the fans would want Alice I think. That would be the one they definitely would want to have.
SM: They were great. They were great. And it was so cool to see because we had three different, distinct parts of her life. And it felt like its own mini movie.
Q: With Life and Death you brought gender swapping to your series. Fans including myself want to know: Can you write an alternate story about Bella and Jacob?
SM: I could! I could. I think people would flip out, they’d get so angry with me. Because the real allegiance is to Edward with the fans, and the fact that there’s always an alternate story that could’ve happened doesn’t change that, but for a lot of people I think they would feel like I was saying, “Oh [Edward/Bella] didn’t really happen, this is how it should’ve been?” It would be, “This is what would’ve happened.”
Q: So I guess this means there’s no chance for Edward getting with Jacob either.
SM: No, no, I haven’t written that story in my head.
Q: Getting back to Renesmee, a lot of fans post-Breaking Dawn want to know what happened with Renesmee and Jacob.
SM: And that would be the story, if I went there. If I went on with it. So I’m not going to tell you on the off chance that I do.
Q: Have you given that thought? Has your mind gone that way?
SM: Oh yeah, there’s an outline. There’s several chapters written. It was something that I was working on before Breaking Dawn came out.
Q: What are Edward and Bella like towards Renesmee as parents?
SM: I think they’d be great parents, but I think it’d also be terribly difficult because — actually it’s kind of interesting, because right now I’m in the middle of a life crisis with my oldest son leaving home. He turned 18, he’s moved out, and it has been so devastating in a way I did not forsee. So having a child that grows up so fast, you don’t even have the time [to spend with them], I think that would be terrifying.
Q: Would you say Edward and Bella as parents would be more like Charlie and Renee or —
SM: Oh no, they’re way more helicopter parents than that. They are a lot more… eyes on.
Q: You said last week at New York Comic Con that E.L. James’ Grey put pause on Midnight Sun. So what I’m wondering now is, what is it going to take at this point for the book to be released?
SM: I’m working on it. I didn’t completely shelve it because of that. It was just that — I was telling this story — it feels like it’s cursed. Because every time I start it, something happens and it’s just like, ‘ugh.’ But… my mother is going to kill me if I don’t do it. It’s more true than you know. This is all she wants from me. Every birthday, every Christmas present I get her, [she goes,] “you know what I really want.” This is my life.
Q: So I wanted to ask you about that. What are some other things your mom does to remind you that she really needs it?
SM: It’s just whenever anything comes up. It’s just a topic of conversation. Life and Death, she didn’t understand why I’d do that instead. I think a lot of people don’t. [laughs]
Q: Did you sit down with your mom to break the news to her?
SM: No, I gave her a copy. I said, “hey, this is what I’m working on.” She knew I was working on it because I didn’t have a lot of time. For the first time in my life I actually left the kids with the husband, and went up for a week, by myself, totally alone. Turns out that’s not the best writing environment because I don’t think I ate for an entire week. I didn’t know what day it was — it was the middle of the night — I didn’t come up for air very well. So she knew what I was doing, I gave her a copy, and she said, “It doesn’t have Edward in it.”
Q: So your comments last week at New York Comic Con were a really nice surprise to fans, that you actually did return to Midnight Sun.
SM: Well that’s good.
Q: So it’s fair to say that one day —
SM: I hope so. Like I said, I hit a snag with something that didn’t work quite right. I’m really trapped into this conversation that they had. I was writing it from Bella’s perspective, he was doing this thing and you’re assuming there’s something going on in his head, why he’s acting this way. But if I had written it from his side first I would’ve had to have changed a lot of the conversations because they didn’t quite line up the way I wanted them to. So it’s frustrating.
Q: Will you tell me — you said you wrote a couple of paragraphs — what those paragraphs were?
SM: It was the day that Edward leaves school early right before the weekend with the meadow.
Q: So other projects. The Host. There’s been talk of a sequel. Is that —
SM: It’s partially written. This is where I’m dealing with the most frustrating writer’s block, where I just know everything that happens. Maybe I need to do it on my recorder and just have someone else type it up. I don’t know.
Q: And you also revealed recently you’re working on a separate book right now?
SM: I have one that’s in the editing phase. I wrote the book, I have my edit packet. It’s going to kill me. But it’s a — it’s not YA. It’s not fantasy. It’s a thriller set in today’s — it’s as realistic as the Jason Bourne movies are. It’s in that kind of slightly heightened existence.
Q: It’s for adults?
SM: It’s not gonna be — I mean, a lot of people die — but it’s not super hardcore. It’s not like younger fans couldn’t read it.
[Stephenie later revealed she hopes to have this book out next year.]
Q: How about updates on Fickle Fish productions. Any coming down the pipeline first?
SM: I don’t know. It’s like neck and neck right now. Whether Down the Dark Hall or Anna Dressed in Blood is the first off the starting gate, we’ll see. It could be either one.
Q: Fast fire fandom questions now. Do you watch Game of Thrones? [I was going to ask her about Jon Snow.]
Q: Read the books?
SM: No. I can’t help you!
Q: What’s your Hogwarts House?
SM: I think I would be Ravenclaw.
Q: Have you ever sorted Edward, Bella, Jacob?
SM: Edward’s Gryffindor, Bella’s Hufflepuff, Jacob might be Hufflepuff too. Alice is Ravenclaw. I could probably [sort] them all.
Q: How about Renesmee?
SM: Oh wow. She could pick any house she wanted I think. She’s got it all.
Stephenie’s sorting of the ‘Twilight’ characters (and herself)
Q: What’s the last book you read?
SM: Last book I read was Far Far Away by Tom McNeal. I loved it.
Q: You met Rainbow Rowell last week.
SM: I did!
Q: Have you read Fangirl or —
SM: Oh yeah, I’ve read all of hers. My favorite is Attachments.
Q: Are you watching any TV right now?
SM: I am… I’m so behind, you’re going to make fun of me, but I’m finally watching Battlestar Galactica. And I’m so in love with it. I knew I would, this is why I didn’t start it. I’m going to have to put the kibosh on it so I can edit. And it’s kind of breaking my heart.
Q: Would you say that’s your favorite TV show right now?
SM: I don’t know, I’m kind of a huge Supernatural fan. A new season has started, that’s another problem.
Q: And there are a lot of seasons of that show.
SM: Yes there are.
Q: And finally: Red or green apples?
SM: To eat? Green. Absolutely. I’m a granny smith girl.
Q: So it must’ve been really nice to put a green apple on the cover of Life and Death.
SM: [Laughter] It worked out, that was nice.