With my "Twilight" obsession reaching new levels every day, you can only imagine my excitement to sit down with Stephenie Meyer, the author of the series, which now has an exponentially growing fan base. She wasn’t at liberty to talk about "Breaking Dawn" just yet (the fourth and final installment of the series, told from Bella’s perspective, comes out tomorrow), but I was able to talk to her about everything else, such as the pressure of her newfound rock star status, the influence that writers such as the Bronte sisters and Jane Austen had on her writing, and of course, the development of Bella and Edward.
Within the first few minutes of having a conversation with Stephenie, it is impossible not to be struck by her humble excitement for extraordinarily broad fan base paired with her passion and integrity as a writer. From working with the production team for the movie "Twilight" to developing the story with her agents at Little, Brown, it is refreshing to meet a new author whose vision is so clearly respected and highly regarded by everyone involved. Perhaps this is because Stephenie’s conception of vampires and the fantasy world she’s created has been completely conceived of through her dreams and imagination. She has never watched "Buffy" nor read Bram Stoker’s "Dracula." In fact, she never even really thought about vampires until just a few years ago when, in a dream, she met a vampire in a forest. It follows that the Cullen family, as well as other vampires in the series, break the stereotypes and preconceived notions of such creatures, and bring a new class of “bloodsuckers” to the world of its readers.
Vampires are not “evil” in Meyer’s world. In fact, Stephenie explains that she believes that very few people in the world at large are in fact “evil.” Take Victoria, for example. After reading "Eclipse," it is hard -- nearly impossible -- to see her as “evil,” because Stephenie brings her emotions to life in such a way that readers can’t help but sympathize and understand her desire for revenge -- her plight is inspired by love, and the yearning for love lost. In fact, this motivation harkens similarities to Bella, Edward, Jacob, and virtually every character in the series, even Charlie.
One of the most exciting things about "Twilight" is the series’ attention to feminism and the notion of a woman’s “choice.” There is a theme of “choice” throughout the story: the “choice” to be a good vampire, Bella’s “choice” between Edward and Jacob, and of course the everyday “choices” that Bella must make, constantly battling the pain she causes or knows she will cause others in order to achieve her own happiness. Bella draws allusions to the complicated emotions and self-realizations of Cathy of Emily Bronte’s "Wuthering Heights" and, perhaps in a very different and more innocent way, to the undyingly but piercingly love-struck Elizabeth Bennett in Jane Austen’s "Pride and Prejudice."
In our interview, Stephenie used the term “true love” to describe the connection of Bella and Edward. I asked, thinking I had found an answer, if that meant that Bella will undoubtedly choose Edward at the end of the story. Stephenie replied that there may be more than one kind of true love, and perhaps something “warm and fuzzy” is to be desired. I guess I’ll just have to wait until tomorrow night, when I turn the first page of "Breaking Dawn."
Check back soon to watch Kim's interview with Stephenie Meyer, and to hear more from tonight's "Twilight" concert series event tomorrow which she is moderating!