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Stephenie Meyer
Stephenie Meyer

Stephenie Meyer: ‘I love that the mad woman in the attic gets to be the hero for a moment’ Add to ...

Stephenie Meyer is best known as the author of the bestselling Twilight series, which later became feature films. She is also the author of The Host, a novel for adults. Her latest novel, The Chemist, was recently published by Little, Brown.

What scares you as a writer?

I tend to write about the things that frighten me, probably as a way to assert some form of control over them. Monsters and blood lust, isolation, losing control of your body, being hunted. Now I can add torture to the things I’ve taken out of my nightmares and made into tools.

Who’s your favourite villain in literature?

Mr. Croup and Mr. Vandemar from Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere. I love them because I fear them – they are 100-per-cent evil to their cores, with no redeeming qualities whatsoever. They are terrifying. There are other antagonists who do a good job at tripping up the good guys, but usually they have a soft side, a weakness, a liability. Croup and Vandemar are chillingly without chinks in their armour. There is no chance that they will change their minds and spare you. I love reading them to life, but I also love that I can close the book on them.

What’s the best death scene in literature?

I’m not sure if it’s the ‘best’ death scene in all of literature, but my current favourite – probably because I just reread it – is the death of Acheron Hades in The Eyre Affair. Against the backdrop of the raging inferno consuming Thornfield Hall, the crazed Bertha Rochester stabs her silver scissors again and again into the nearly indestructible half-demon Hades. Other deaths have left me grieving – Matthew in Anne of Green Gables, Beth in Little Women – but this is one that I cheer along with. Go, Bertha! I love that the mad woman in the attic gets to be the hero for a moment.

What’s your favourite bookstore in the world?

I have two. The first is Changing Hands in Tempe, Ariz. It’s my hometown independent and they’ve been my biggest cheerleaders and my literary home. I will also always have a place in my heart for Anderson’s in Chicago. I had one of the happiest nights of my professional life at Anderson’s. I was on my very first book tour – terrified, unprepared – and Anderson’s put on the most amazing event, fun and somehow relaxing, with the kindest fans. And then, as we were finishing up, I got the news that Twilight had made The New York Times bestsellers list – thanks in no small part to booksellers such as those at Anderson’s and Changing Hands. I felt like I’d reached the pinnacle of my career and I’d never want anything more.

What’s more important: the beginning of a book or the end?

The beginning. I have been disappointed by endings in the past, but I’m sure there are fantastic endings that I’ve never read because the beginning didn’t pull me in. And there are beautiful stories in the middle that no ending can take away from me.

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