This just in from TheTwilightSaga.com:
We received nearly 2000 of your questions for Stephenie at TheTwilightSaga.com. Stephenie has graciously answered a lot of your most asked questions below. Enjoy!
What was your favorite thing about Chris Weitz and how was his interpretation of the books different from Catherine Hardwicke? – Mira N.
My favorite thing about Chris Weitz: everything. Sounds hyperbole-ish, but he’s really that amazing. If you follow along on some of the cast interviews you’ll hear the same thing over and over. We all adore Chris. I would have to say that my very favorite thing about Chris as a director, coming from my unique position, is his passion for being true to the source material. He really immersed himself in the Twilight world and came to the set with the feel of it already in his head. We were very much on the same page. Second thing, he listens really well—to everybody, cast and crew.
In comparing New Moon to Twilight, I would say that the biggest difference in style is that Chris is more classic while Catherine is a little more edgy and modern. I wouldn’t want both movies to be the same, though. I like seeing different interpretations. After all, no two people see the same thing when they read a novel. I enjoy seeing that visually.
After seeing Twilight the movie you mentioned that you wish you had thought of Bella catching a glimpse of Edward watching her sleep and thinking it was only a dream. Are there any new moments in the New Moon movie that you thought…I wish I had thought of that? Miss having you around the fandom, Nicole B. (Cocoa) Crestwood, KY
Hey Cocoa! I miss you guys, too! Hope you’re well!
New Moon stays closer to the novel, so there aren’t a lot of scenes that aren’t closely related to the book. I am a little sad that my action movie—Crosshairs—is so generically titled. I like the name of the action movie they used for the film (they couldn’t use Crosshairs because there is a movie named Crosshairs somewhere out there). It makes me laugh every time Kristen says it.
Also (and I don’t consider this a spoiler because you’ve seen the trailers) there is a bit of a fight sequence in the Volturi tower now that isn’t there in the book. At first, I had some resistance to this idea because in my mythology, if you start a fight with the Volturi, your story ends right there. It would have been kind of a bummer to have Edward, Bella, and Alice slaughtered in Volterra and no happy reunion scene (and no Eclipse or Breaking Dawn). But I worked with Melissa Rosenberg (the screen writer) and Summit until we came up with a solution that made sense with the story but also gave them the visual action they needed. And now that it’s all put together and beautiful, I love it and kind of wish Felix had gotten his moment in the book.
Hi Stephenie! Texas LOVES you!!! In staying true to the novel, I’d like to know if there were any scenes missing from the original screenplay that you insisted be in the movie?? Thank you SOOO much!!!! -Trinity in Fort Worth
Sort of. In the original screenplay, Jacob’s visit to Bella’s room that one night didn’t exist. The necessary information was still there, it was just scattered through a few other scenes. I really missed that scene, but change (and cutting!) is a part of the adaptation process—especially when you write really long books—so I was prepared to suck it up. And then Chris Weitz felt like we needed that scene, too, and he wrote up a beautiful version I love. And we all lived happily ever after.
I’m curious about whether or not you would have liked to write the screenplay for New Moon or any of the movies? Melissa has done great so far, but do you think the movies would have been any different if you hand a bigger hand in the screenplay? – Colleen
I don’t think I’d be any good at adapting my own books. As you can tell, I like to write long stories. I do actually cut a lot in the editing process (Twilight was ten thousand words longer in the rough draft form), and what stays all feels absolutely vital to me. I just can’t look at it objectively. I think I’d be better at adaption if I had some distance from the work. So yes, the movies would be different if I’d written the screenplay—they would be six hours long, which might sound great to some people, but as such they never would have been made.
Hi Stephenie – What is your favourite scene in New Moon the movie? – Laure
I can’t really choose just one. I love so many things. Bella’s and Edward’s first conversation in the parking lot…the painting…Jessica’s monologue…the scenes in Jacob’s garage…the first time you see the werewolves!!…Jacob in Bella’s room (thanks, Chris!)…the underwater moment…what you see while Thom Yorke’s amazing song is playing…everything in Italy…and I could go on. It’s all so good.
Hi Stephenie, I know that your writing is inspired a lot by the music you listen to, so my question is how much say did you have in the music that was picked for the movie/soundtrack? Thank you! – Marci P.
Not a ton. I had a short wish list, and I got one wish out of the four, and that’s really a lot when you think about it. My answered wish: a Muse song. My wishes that were not granted: a Blue October song, a Marjorie Fair song, and a Motion City Soundtrack song. All of these artists were a big part of the New Moon writing process for me, and I would have liked to see them included, but in the end, the soundtrack is truly amazing, so I don’t have any complaints.
Do you make any appearances in the New Moon movie? – Mandy, Captain of Official Team Jacob
Nope. I felt really awkward doing the first one, and I still have to cover my eyes for that part of the movie. I decided this time I didn’t want to do anything like that, and it never came up, so problem averted!
What do you think about the casting of Robert Pattinson as Edward, i.e. does he look like you expected Edward to look like and does he portray the right emotions? – Carly, Captain of Official Team Edward
Initially—as in when Gillian (the producer) called me and said, “So, we’re going to cast this guy, Robert Pattison. Go google him and see what you think!”—my opinion was that Rob would do a good version of Edward physically. Not the Edward I see in my head, of course, but a good and interesting portrayal. There’s something otherworldly about his face, I thought as I watched him in Harry Potter and checked out the pictures on line. If vampires really existed, that’s the kind of face you might wonder about, right? So I was happy with Catherine Hardwicke’s choice, because it’s not like we were going to find someone who looked like the person in my brain.
I continued in this same opinion for a while. I met with Rob a few times and was impressed by the amount of thought that he was putting into the character (though we still don’t entirely agree on who’s got Edward’s emotional state right—Rob contends Edward is more depressed than I think he is) and I was excited to see what his version of Edward would be like. Cut to a few weeks later, when I headed up to Portland to watch the filming. And then Catherine said action, and Rob shifted into character and my jaw dropped open.
Suffice it to say, he really nailed it. He’s not playing a version of Edward, he’s playing Edward. There is still quite a difference between Rob’s Edward and the Edward in my head, but there are moments when they look eerily similar. I’m still not sure how he does it, but I’m glad he can. As for emotions, I think he does a great job.
Of course, a lot of the credit for this goes to Kristen as well. She contributes the other half of that Bella-Edward vibe so amazingly well. I’ve been on set through three movies now, and I still thank my lucky stars every day that she signed on to this franchise.
How did you come up with the Twilight character names, were they random or did you have a reason behind them? – Carly
I’m not a huge research junkie, because I’m always more into creating the fantasy than the reality, but names are one of the things I do spend some research time on. For example, for Jasper’s name I searched roll calls for the confederate army in Texas. Both “Jasper” and “Whitlock” are on those lists, but not together. The name Cullen exists on seventeenth century English headstones. Other names I find by time and place of birth—I look through the most baby popular names from that year or census records from that city. Some things are more random; if I’m really stuck for a surname, I’ll flip through the phone book. For Edward, I wanted a name that had once been very romantic, but had fallen out of use (See: Edward Rochester, Edward Ferrars). Bella was the hardest for me to name, because I needed a modern name but nothing seemed to encompass her personality. I tried a lot of things that didn’t fit at all. In the end, having just surrendered the hope of ever having a daughter, I gave her the name I would have given one of my children if any of them had decided to be a girl.
Since many of us will not have the opportunity to visit a movie set, what part of film making was fascinating to you? Thanks again for the opportunity to ask questions! It is appreciated! Anny
The most fascinating thing about filming is probably just what a huge undertaking it is. I’m constantly stunned by the sheer number of people it takes, by the size of the sets, by the intricate planning necessary. It’s surprising to me that given all the effort and expense necessary, so many movies even get made. I love the care that goes into the set design, and the amazing things they can build (like tower interiors and mountain tops). I love watching the actors make dozens of minute shifts for each take of a scene, so that the director has a variety to work with when he starts cutting it together. I love it when everything comes together just right and even on the tiny little monitor, with no music and no editing, you can see that something exceptional just happened. It’s a cool process, and one I never expected to have the opportunity to be involved with.
Of course, being on set is not constant excitement by any means. It takes hours to set up for each different camera angle, and during those times, it’s pretty dead. On the last set, a bunch of people learned to knit. It can be very slow.
I am curious, when you think of Edward and Bella, or read or talk about them, do you still picture the people from your dream? Or has your images of these characters changed over time, especially now after seeing your books adapted to film? Thanks! Danyeal J.
When I read the books or think about the characters in a writing scenario, I still see them they way I first did. I can still see exactly what they looked like in that first dream. When I’m reading the script, however, it’s all Kristen and Rob and Taylor.
Why in the world is Edward’s volvo now black in the New Moon? – Kim B.
This wasn’t my call. Picky as I am about cars, if I’d been rounding up the vehicles for Twilight, they all would have been the exact makes and models I’d written about (especially that ’53 Chevy!). I don’t know what all is involved with choosing the cars—I know they have to be able to get their hands on several identical vehicles—but I can say that I like this Volvo—the XC90—better than the first one—the C30. In regards to the color, it’s actually a dark silver, not black. And I enjoy the black rims quite a bit.
Dear Stephenie, Each director brings something different to the movie they are working on. Do you feel that by using different directors for each movie will take away from the continuity of the story? – Shannon
As I said before, I like having new styles for each story. I think it reflects, to an extent, all the millions of different versions that exist in the world—a different one for every reader. As for continuity, I think we’re fine there. The actors bring the same characters into the new vision, and the backdrop of the location is consistent.
Will New Moon the movie have a lot of Edward in it or will it be like the book and he will be missing for a big chunk of it? – Patricia M.
Something I felt very strongly about was that Edward’s absence was essential to keeping the feel of the movie consistent with the feel of the book. The story doesn’t work without the missing hero. Chris was able to come up with a way to preserve that feeling while at the same time conveying the fact that to Bella, Edward is always present. It’s more than just that Bella’s audio hallucinations are now visual hallucinations; Kristen’s performance revolves beautifully around that absence. Edward is absent for a “big chunk” of the movie, but he’s always there, too.
What does Stephenie think about the change of Edward from an auditory to a visual hallucination? For me this was an integral part of the book in that it added to the longing for Edward. – Karen M.
I think this change is necessary for the visual format, and I also think it works really well. The longing is still there.
Dearest Stephenie, I was wondering if you had given the actors in the movie some kind of advice to get a better insight to their character in the movie. Thank you so much for everything! You’re amazing! – Lucila S.
I was able to give Rob the first half of Midnight Sun to help him prepare for the first film, and I feel like that manuscript is basically a guide to Edward. Of course, Kristen gets Bella’s first person perspective in all the books. I have discussed most of the characters with the actors. I’m always happy to answer any questions, and it’s fun to hear some of the backstories they come up with. I know Edi Gathegi has a fairly elaborate Laurent history in his head, and many others do the same thing. I like that they get into the roles so deeply.
Is there going to be a Breaking Dawn movie? If you are not sure of that, then do you wish there is going to be one? – Jamie C.
At this point in time, we’re in talks. I would love to see BD made if it could be made well. It’s a little bit trickier than the others.
First, thanks for the amazing books! Now, with the question: If you could live one scene (for real) in the movie, what would it be? – Anna
I think a lot of the scenes that are exciting write or to read about or watch on the screen would be very uncomfortable to experience first hand. The ones I would want to live would be the quieter scenes. In New Moon, probably the only scenes that would actually be fun to live would be Bella’s birthday up to the papercut, and the night after Italy (though that one starts out pretty emotionally painful, too). Twilight, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn all have a lot more “it would be cool to be Bella right now” moments.
I love your books, thanks for writing them. What was your favorite memory of writing new moon and filming new moon!! – Christina B.
I have a lot of favorite moments from both. In the writing, envisioning Volterra and putting Bella into that situation was very exciting. I loved spending time with Jacob’s character. All the interactions with the boys in the pack made me smile. The reunion scene between Bella and Edward felt really good to write.
As for the filming process, my favorite memories are not exactly favorite scenes, because you don’t entirely get a sense of the scene until you see it cut together. I loved walking into the Volturi tower for the first time. (Adding to that moment was the fact that it was also the first time I met Daniel Cudmore. Picture the scene: I’m in this huge white marble rotunda, just in awe of the sheer size and how good it all looks, when through the door walks Daniel in full costume. Six foot eight, tailored black coat, deep red eyes. Totally perfect and totally intimidating. It was great!) Another favorite memory of the filming was watching Michael Sheen work. Michael is a staggeringly talented actor. It was an education just to watch his process.
I was wondering, in the trailers for New Moon, the werewolves all have tattoos on their right arms. What does that stand for? It wasn’t in the book, so I wasn’t sure. – Carissa S.
Like the Cullen crest that Catherine invented for the first movie, I believe the tattoo is just a visual sign of solidarity for the pack.
Do you think Taylor Lautner does a good job of portraying Jacob’s smart alec side? Taylor seems so sweet, especially in the first movie, and I like to think of Jake (esp werewolf Jake) as a tough guy with an attitude, who sometimes let his nice side slip. Thank you! Larissa
Taylor is going to surprise you. He’s wonderful as the sweet kid, but even better as the angry werewolf. The kid can act.
I was wondering what made you choose Italy for the home of the Volturi? Is there a special meaning about Italy in your life or was it a random setting? Thanks :] – Kerry K.
I chose Italy because I needed a place with a really long history. Choosing Volterra itself was a strange thing. I wrote the whole Volturi scene before I’d picked a location for it. For the first time, I was planning to create a fictional city, because at this point, I was starting to realize that people were actually going to read this book, and I was nervous about what the real life citizens of Forks would think, and more especially what the real life people of La Push would think—I’d taken some rather big liberties with their fictional history, and I wasn’t sure if they would find it amusing or irritating. So, to avoid similar moments of panic, I decided to set my clan of ancient ruling vampires in a made up place. I was going to call this place “Volturin,” and I knew it needed to be located in Tuscany about an hour or two from Florence—I’d already written the drive from the airport. I’d also already written my descriptions of the plaza and clock tower and Volturi turret. So I pull up a map of Tuscany, trying to decide if Alice should drive north, south, east, or west, and look at that—there is a city named Volterra just about an hour from Florence. So I google image search Volterra, and the very first picture that comes up is the Volterra clock tower. Chills. I called my sister (who’d already read about my fictional Volturin) and told her to go look at Volterra. She freaked, too, because she’d pictured it the same way, too. It was actually a rather creepy moment.
After that, I gave up the idea of creating a fake city and just hoped the people of Volterra did not mind a few vampires. When I went to visit a few years back, all the people I talked to were totally fine with the vampires—what had upset them was the fountain. They don’t have one, and think their square is perfect without it.
Hello Mrs.Stephenie Meyer, I adore your books. My question is where did you get the inspiration to make Jacob Black a Native American? What is the whole back-story to Jacob being Native American? I too am native American [Navajo] by the way, therefore making me curious. Thank you very much if you answer my question or not, you still bring a great story to your readers around the world. – Kristine B.
There was a bit of random chance involved with including the Quileutes, but it was also about my personal fascination with Native American history. I picked Forks first, and at that point in time the Jacob character didn’t exist. But around the same time that I realized it would be out of character for Edward to be able to admit that he was a vampire, I discovered the existence of La Push and started reading about the Quileute’s unique history and culture. Jacob developed really naturally from that research, as a solution to my “how does Bella find out” dilemma and also as a way to enrich the mythology. If I hadn’t always been very intrigued with Native American history, though, I don’t know if the proximity of La Push would have resulted in Jacob’s creation.
I love that you decided to skip over describing that first week (and the following months) after the break-up between Edward and Bella. It makes it that much more gut-wrenching because you truly feel like Bella was detached from herself and the world. I was wondering if it was your initial intent to leave that void there or did you edit anything out? Did you start by writing how she felt the next morning after Sam found her? I always wonder if it was just too hard to write for you. Thank you so much for answering these questions for us. Your books (The Host, too) have changed my life. –Eden S., Vancouver, Washington
This is how the blank pages came about: I never planned to write about the time immediately after Edward left. Originally, I just skipped to the one-paragraph preface to chapter four (“Time passes…”). It felt way too abrupt that way, though. I knew I didn’t want to put those four months into words, because the words would never be as good as the reader’s own imagination, but I wasn’t sure how to make that transition feel right. So put some blank pages into the document to separate September from January. That felt a little bit better, but the passage of time still wasn’t clear. I typed in the names of the months at the top of the pages, just playing around with it, so it looked like blank journal entries, and instantly felt a sense of rightness to that format. I think I tried it out on my agent first (“What do you think about having one-word pages, Jodi?”) and she liked it. Then my editor played around with the formatting, putting the month names in the center of the page in caps, and that gave them more impact. We all loved it. So it was a process and not an immediate inspiration, but now it’s one of my favorite things.
I am a 39-year-old member of the Older Women’s Group (OWG) on thetwilightsaga.com. My question is, what lead you to the concept of IMPRINTING — in reference to the Wolf Packs future mates? Thank you for pouring your heart and soul into this series! I can’t tell you how much happiness it has brought me! Sincerely, Stephanie R. – Atlanta, GA
Imprinting was inspired by two different sources: ducklings and dragons. Imprinting actually exists in nature, but usually between parents and their offspring. I saw a nature documentary about ducklings imprinting on their moms and it always stuck with me. The other inspiration is Anne McCaffrey’s dragon books (which, if you haven’t read them, do so now! Start with Dragonflight). In her mythology, humans and dragons bond so tightly that if one of them dies, the other either suicides or goes mad. They love each other with an absolute and unreasoning love that never falters or changes. I was always captivated by this concept, and I wanted to explore that kind of life-changing and compulsory relationship.
While writing the books, were you ever unsure of whether Bella would choose Edward or Jacob, or did you always know she would end up with Edward in the end? – Samantha V.
I wrote New Moon and Eclipse after I wrote Forever Dawn, which is pretty much the rough draft of Breaking Dawn. So I always knew Bella’s destiny was with Edward, and as her relationship with Jacob evolved and deepened through the course of the middle novels, writing about it was sometimes painful. Even knowing Jacob’s eventual happy ending, it was hard to put him through all the heartbreak. I do know what would have happened if Bella hadn’t jumped off the cliff that day, but I always knew that was a could-have-been that wasn’t the right way to go.
Question: Lets say Bella did go to college… Later on in life what profession do you imagine for her?? – Abigail
I always imagined that Bella would someday teach. She really admired that one part of Renee’s personality—Renee may be dippy, but she’s a great teacher and the kids love her—and I saw her taking her love of books in that direction. She would have taught older students, though. High school or college. Maybe she still will—in night school.
Out of the entire series, to you what is the most romantic moment between Bella and Edward? Why? – twilight-fan
For me, it’s always been the last two pages of Breaking Dawn. It’s the culmination of so much that’s happened between them, and such a happy, satisfying moment for me.
My question for you is…. are you at all surprised by the variety in age of your readers? I am 32 years old and absolutely loved your books, and I know I am not alone, in many discussion groups I have found there are 30, 40, even 50 somethings reading twilight. Thanks and keep writing! – Amy B.
Because I wrote Twilight for my twenty-nine-year-old self and not for a future YA audience, it always made sense to me that women my age would get it the same way I did. Are you ever too old to remember falling in love for the first time?
There are many of us 30+ that enjoy (well we are actually obsessed with) the entire Twilight series! Is there anything that you do to help you escape reality momentarily? – Michelle P., Oklahoma
Reading was always my favorite escape. I read a lot of fantasy; I like spending time in worlds that don’t exist. However, writing is now my best escape. For me, it’s more fulfilling and takes me farther away from the real world than reading does.
You have such a great taste in music. What would be your ultimate karaoke song? – Justina
This one changes a lot. Today, I’d want to sing along with Metric, probably “Sick Muse” or “Front Row.”
If you had to choose, would you rather be a vampire or a werewolf? – Kaitlin T.
Werewolf. I like being able to change my mind, and the werewolves always have the option to go back to “normal.”
Are you writing any other books right now? – Kershia
One of the weirdest things for me about success is how it sucks away your time. I’m successful because I write books, but that very success takes all my writing time! It’s very frustrating. I’m just itching to get back into a fantasy world right now, but the real world won’t let me. I thought this would be a writing year, but unless you count emails as writing, it didn’t work out that way. I was able to do a few smaller things that will show up here and there—an extra chapter for the release of The Host in paperback, that kind of thing. I’ve really worked to clear my time, but that is a slow and ongoing process. Of course, another aspect is that I am more burned out by the last five years than I even realized.
My question: Is Stephenie Team Jacob or Team Edward? Please add that “I am a huge fan. Xoxo, Jenny”
I am Team “You Don’t Have to Choose When it’s Fiction.”
Hi Stephenie! 🙂 Of course, I love the Twilight saga, but I was also blown away by how beautiful and unique your other novel, The Host, was — so I was wondering: do you have any plans for more books not related to Twilight? Thank you so much! 🙂 Kelly <3
I’d like to eventually have The Host be part of a trilogy. That’s one of the projects I’d really like to get to in the next year or so.
To address the many, many questions about Midnight Sun:
I’ve found that there really isn’t any answer I can give that changes the substance or tenor of the myriads of requests, pleadings, and demands I get for Midnight Sun to be finished, so I feel a little silly answering that question at all. But it’s the most popular question, so I’ll take another stab at it.
I am not working on Midnight Sun now. I don’t have a plan for when I’ll get to it; I don’t know now what the right time for it will be.
In your questions, there were some erroneous conclusions about the situation which I’ll try to set straight. First,Midnight Sun is not finished and locked in a safe, waiting for me to be done angsting over the leak. If it were done, I would be throwing it on the bookstore shelves myself. I’d love to be able to give it to all the people who are anxiously waiting for it. Second, I am not upset about the leak. I haven’t been for a long time; I was over it after about three weeks. Third, and most important, I am not trying to punish anyone. Not the persons who leaked it, not the people who read the leak, nobody. As I said, it would make me very happy to be able to give it to anyone who wants it.
So why the hold up? Because it’s not finished and lying in a safe. It’s not done, and finishing it is not a simple matter of sitting down in front of my computer and typing out the words; the words have to be there in my head to type out, and right now, they’re not. I have to be in the zone to write any story, and trying to force myself into that zone is a waste of time, I’ve found. I’ll get back to Midnight Sun when the story is compelling to me again. Just because people want it so badly does not make it more write-able; kind of the opposite, actually. I need to be alone with a story to write, and Midnight Sun feels really crowded, if you know what I mean.
People write for different reasons. I have always written to make myself happy. If I’m enjoying a story, feeling the creativity flow, engrossed in a world, then I write and I write fast. If I’m not into it, I can’t write. I’ve never been someone who writes on demand and I can’t imagine working that way. As cool as it would be to say to my favorite author, “You know, I’d really like to read a great book about a narwhal mafia. Write that for me, ‘kay?” or even “I’d love a sequel to that last one,” that’s not how it works. How it works is that my favorite author writes a new book about whatever he/she is interested in. Maybe it takes a year, maybe it takes five. If it’s something I want to read, I buy it or I check it out at the library. If not, I find something else to read. The end.
(All of this goes for writing about vampires in general, too. Vampires and I? We’re on a break.)
I’m pretty sure this won’t slow the pleadings and the demands, but I didn’t want you to think I was ignoring the question.
In the meantime, there are so many great books out there. I’ve got some recommendations on my site, and any librarian would love to show you more options. Same goes for independent bookstore employees. Ask for guidance, and they will fill your arms with awesomeness!