Friday, November 13, 2009
Stephanie Meyer, author of the phenomenal TWILIGHT SERIES, was a guest on the Oprah Winfrey Show today, just one week from the opening of the new movie NEW MOON, which is based on the second novel in the series. Although I’m sure she was there to publicize the upcoming movie, I focused on the interview as a writer and thought I’d like to share with you my take on it.
Meyer, like myself, is a stay-at-home Mom. She had no ideas or hopes of ever becoming a writer and had not dabbled in the craft. (Although her author’s bio states she graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in English Literature.) She was always a voracious reader. In fact, you could say she was more than your average high-level reader as at the age of eight she was reading books like GONE WITH THE WIND and PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. Although the horror genre was one she always shied away from claiming to be to “chicken” to read it.
One night, she had a very vivid dream. In it, there were two people in a clearing in a rain forest and the boy, who was very beautiful, was sparkling in the sunlight while the girl was not. It became clear in the dream, the girl was human, but the boy was a very perfect specimen of a vampire. When she woke, she felt compelled to write the dream down so she wouldn’t forget it. She began concocting the story because she wanted to know what happened to this couple. Her now very famous novel grew from what TWILIGHT fans have come to recognize as chapter 13. When she finished, she went back and filled in the beginning. Throughout the writing process she kept notebooks by her bed because she would often wake in the middle of the night with fresh ideas and needed to write them down. While she wrote the story, her husband really had no idea what she was up to. She was embarrassed to confide in him she was writing about vampires fearing she was crazy and not wanting him to confirm it.
Meyer’s sister, Emily, read the story and encouraged Meyer to submit it for publication. For fun, she looked into the process and queried numerous agents. She received nine rejections, five no responses and one request to read more. That request came from Jodi Reamer of Writer’s House who eventually sold the manuscript to Little Brown & Company. I imagine Ms. Reamer is decidedly thrilled she took a chance on a novice novelist. Which just goes to show how subjective this business really is. Maybe, given the opportunity, other talented writers might realize their dreams too –literally!
-Niki Masse Schoenfeldt