Stephenie Meyer attended Sundance in connection to the film she just produced, Austenland. Fred Topel with Crave Online interviewed Ms. Meyer about what her experience as producer was like. More related to our topic of interest, The Host, was the information she shared about what her writing has been like lately. I would recommend reading the full interview here, but below are quotes of the parts I found particularly interesting.
“How much did producing this take you out of writing?
Oh, I’m very much not someone who can do two things at one time so the Twilight movies, I couldn’t write while working on them. With Austenland, when we were doing the scripting phase, I’d have time in between to work, but when you’re actually filming a movie, that’s a 15-16 hour day. You go home and you sleep…
They call me Franchise Fred because I love my franchises. I never want them to end, even when there’s a final chapter. I want them to always go on and I trust the authors to create more good stories. Why wouldn’t you want to continue them?
I mean, obviously there are more stories there. When I first wrote the end of Breaking Dawn, I was planning on going on for quite a while further and so I didn’t wrap it up. I didn’t kill everybody. I could have. [Laughs] Thought about it later. So there are other stories there, but like I said I am vampired out. So maybe in a couple years, spend some time with some aliens, maybe do my mermaid book finally, and then maybe I’ll be able to get back to it but right now I’m just sick of them…
How different was adapting The Host to the Twilight books?
The Host was a huge challenge because Twilight, you can stop and look at the plot and just say A causes B causes C. It’s fairly straightforward. There are some supernatural things you have to figure out how to film but that’s some special effects person’s job. It’s not the screenwriter’s job. With The Host, it’s a 200,000 word novel. To fit it into two hours is a real challenge and there’s so much we had to cut. So we really had to boil it down to the real essence of the story and also we had the issue of one person who was two characters, and that was something that threw a lot of studios when they were trying to figure out how we were going to sell it, how it was going to come across right. But the director and I and the producer, from the very beginning we thought that was really simple. You just have the best actress in the world, and we’d be fine. Just have an actress that can do it, that can just sell the two characters and we don’t have to worry about it. And so we got the best actress in the world and it worked out exactly right…
Was there one big change that those filmmakers sold you on that would be better for the movie?
You know, there were little visual things. I don’t know that they had to sell me exactly. When I was writing the novel, to me the world looked very much the same as our world looks. Not that much has changed, but Andrew [Niccol] has subtle shifts and he glossed up the human world and made it a little shinier, and the way the people dress and the cars they drive. He just had this vision for the look and particularly for the Seekers. They have a very distinct look that I hadn’t envisioned. It works beautifully. It just makes the world just that much off kilter. We can tell it’s not our world even though it looks like it. He’s a genius. It was fun to have someone like that coming up with ideas. It’s easy to go, “Yes, yes, absolutely.”
When you’re writing, do you have a writing schedule you follow?
I don’t have a schedule like that. I tend to write best at night and so after the phone stops ringing and the kids are in bed, that’s my best concentration time. Lately, I’ve just had to be getting up so early that that’s a challenge. That’s one of my challenges is trying to get back onto a night schedule…
But you have other movies in the works and other books you want to write.
Yeah, and I do sometimes feel pressure, this is going to sound crazy, only other authors get this, but from the characters I haven’t written yet that want to have their day in the sun and they’re just getting shuffled to the back of my head, so I do feel that sometimes.
Have you spoken to other authors about this shared feeling?
Mm-hmm. Actually, Shannon [Hale] and I did an interview together once. She interviewed me and we talked about that quite a bit. Other authors totally get that. They know how the voices in your head don’t feel like you’re creating them. They feel like they’re kind of their own entity. Everyone else says that makes you a crazy person but authors are like, “No, yeah, absolutely.””