Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Stephenie Meyer's VARIETY interview

My friend Maggie posted a link to an interview with Stephenie Meyer that's apparently causing some controversy. Since I'm blogging so soon after reading the interview (half an hour-ish later) it obviously stirred something in me. Maggie and I have differing opinions on the fan response to this interview. *sharpens claws* KIDDING! That's what makes a great interview--it got both of us talking.

I am going to post the sections of the interview that I want to discuss. This interview is from VARIETY and written by Dave McNary.

So, from the interview (Q&A Stephenie Meyer: ‘Twilight’ Author Trades Undead for Well-Bred in ‘Austenland’) here are the sections I pulled:

DM: What about a return to “Twilight?”

SM: I get further away every day. I am so over it. For me, it’s not a happy place to be.

DM: Is the door completely closed on that?

SM: Not completely. What I would probably do is three paragraphs on my blog saying which of the characters died. I’m interested in spending time in other worlds, like Middle-Earth.


First, if you know me at all or have read my blog before, you know I'm a die hard Twilight fan. I adore the books, the movies, actors--all of it. So there's your full disclosure. :)

That said, I don't think this is JUST about being a Twilight fan or not.  I read these quotes (and read them again) and got more irked each time I went through the interview. If we step back from the "fans are going CRAZY!" for a moment, does anyone else think this could go deeper as an issue of respect between an author and a reader? Could those words in the first section I posted be read as an example to authors of what NOT to say?

For *me,* as a Z list author compared to SM on the A list, I would feel as though I'm completely disrespecting so many people and rolling my eyes at what (Canterwood and Team Canterwood) got me to where I am.

Part one of the two quotes:

"I get further away every day."

Okay! Totally true and understandable. You're working on new things. Your passion has shifted to different projects. That happens as an artist. Cool. Go and create!

"I am so over it."

Sigh. This one really got me. On one hand, I HATE the part of me that's thinking, "Censor yourself, SM! Even if you feel that way about TWILIGHT and are so over it, keep it to yourself!" Going along with that line of thinking . . . what good does it do to say you, as an author, are "over" a completed project? A completed project that people are still enjoying--both reading and watching--and a new generation of younger people might pick up and try. If you're over your creation and done with it, WHY voice that to people who aren't in that space?

To me (again, in my opinion! :)), it comes off really ungrateful and disrespectful to many people. Not just readers and movie goers, but editors, agents, producers, actors, sale teams--etc. Down to people who played the smallest of parts in getting YOUR product (books/movies) to catapult you to the place you are now. Where you're able to live a comfortable life and not worry about a paycheck and have endless opportunities like creating a film company. I'm guessing SM didn't imagine herself to be a film producer when she was on submission with TWILIGHT. But this one book turned series turned movies took SM to her current lifestyle. She worked INCREDIBLY hard--not disputing that at all. Not for a second. That said . . . there were many, many people whose name's we don't know who worked behind the scenes on the TWILIGHT SAGA (TS) and are now reading quotes of the creator who is "over" it.

As a reader, I felt like it was a slap in the face and something that made me like SM a lot less as a person. That opinion doesn't come from this one interview, BTW, but from several that I've read and wished I hadn't. I adore the TS and don't want to be reading NEW MOON and thinking about this interview where SM has washed her hands of the TS.

As an author, I feel a tremendous amount of disbelief, I guess, that she would choose to say these things. Again, maybe a little self-censorship would have better served her here. I spent 7 years writing Canterwood. It wasn't easy and of course there were times I got frustrated. I am not delusional--please don't think I'm likening my experience to SM's.

But on a basic level . . . 

There were days when I wished I could be working on a different project. But I would have felt as though it would have been rude and insensitive to my readers to say, "Hey, guys! Keep reading my books, but I'm over 'em! Peace."

Team Canterwood, my readers, are fiercely loyal to the series and to ME. I'm incredibly lucky to have readers that care about what I have to say beyond my books. So if during the writing process of a novel, I suddenly became uninterested in it, I would keep that to myself! I would never put that on my readers. It does nothing but dampen enthusiasm. I mean, if I, as the author, am not excited, why should anyone else be?

Canterwood as a series on shelves is complete. Or, will be in November. :) and :( As I've said, I have such mixed feelings about this coming to an end. Well, okay, not so mixed that I'm ready to let go yet since I'm planning Canterwood e-novellas. I do have the desire to work on other projects (such as WILD HEARTS, my debut YA, and UNICORN MAGIC, my debut chapter book series) and am in love with them. But I am still utterly infatuated with Canterwood. I always will be! Even if I'm not writing it and it's NOT the project that I'm the most passionate about at the current moment, I can say this about Canterwood: those 20 books got me here. Here as in able to be a full time writer. Here as in having lovely readers who do nothing but support me and love those books as much as I do. I will never be able to say about another project that it did for me what Canterwood has. To ever even dream of saying that I'm "over it" would not only be a huge disrespectful move to my readers, but to my editor, publisher, etc.

I may be finished with Canterwood, but I am not over it. If I ever post that I am, however, then I wouldn't be upset with any reader who decided to be as over it as I am. Unfortunately, I think that's a lot of the feeling that SM stirred up in TS readers.

 The next sentence:

"For me, it’s not a happy place to be."

Obviously, I am NOT at a level to even begin to understand what SM has/is going through with TS success and fame. If it's not making her happy--she shouldn't be involved in it. I wouldn't want an author to continue creating something (say another book from Edward's POV) if it makes the writer unhappy. It will come through to the reader. So for this sentence, I can't and don't judge her for something about the TS not making her happy. That's her personal business to deal with however she chooses.

Onto the second question. SM's response to if she's completely out of the TS world:

"Not completely. What I would probably do is three paragraphs on my blog saying which of the characters died."

Me: REALLY long pause. *head tilt* Pause. *reads the quote again*

From a reader's POV these two sentences probably bothered me the most. I've invested countless hours of time in the TS books and movies. The characters are part of me. I'm endlessly grateful to SM for creating the TS and giving me such a huge gift. WHY, oh why, would she want to sum up whatever fantasy I've dreamed up after BREAKING DAWN's end with that little of an effort?

"Three paragraphs on my blog" is ALL she is willing to do? I really doubt a lot of readers would want any form of . . . I don't know . . . "closure?" to come that way. After thousands of book pages read, the fact that SM would even SAY that the only way she would get back into the headspace of the TS is via her blog and three paragraphs with info on who died is infuriating.

As an author, it would be like me posting a sentence on my own blog about how Sasha's time at Canterwood ended. Just one sentence. That's it. That's all you get, readers, after sticking with me for 20 books. Thanks! NO WAY! That's beyond--just beyond--comprehension. I really, truly would like to know what went through her head when she concocted that answer. How could SM even entertain that as a good idea?

I'm honestly not trying to make this a "let's all hate on Stephenie!" post. I think this interview in particular is good for authors because it may serve as a reminder that even if we've long moved on from a project, there are still readers/viewers who haven't.

Again, SM has every right to move on and do what she likes creatively. I wish there had been more thought put into her words. For me, it impacts whether or not I really want to invest my heart into a future work of SM.

I'd love to hear what you all think. (Haha that I thought I could express my feelings on this via a Tweet or two!)


Kim said...

Thanks for this well thought out post. Glad I found it via Twitter. I like how you broke it down. I feel the same way you do on every point. Thank you for voicing my feelings so well.

Anonymous said...

I think the fandom really doesn't understand how much Twilight has already taken over Stephanie Meyer's life. to expect her to stay in Forks, WA forever and never move on is a really unreasonable expectation. How many times has she been having a bad day, and still had to put on a smile as one more set of people comes up to her and asked for her autograph, or to ask her some question about a made up character? How much time has she already given to her fans--time she could have spent with her family? No matter how much this fandom has given to her, she has given it so much more. And still, in their obsession, they want more. I don't think Stephanie is the selfish one here. I think the fans need to come out of their fantasy long enough to realize what they have done to this woman. I don't see someone who is selfish in this interview. I see someone who cannot give her fanbase the fuel for their addiction anymore. I feel sorry for her. she doesn't deserve this.

Alyse said...

I'm sorry but what the fans have done to her? I think for her is a far more correct statement. No one forced SM to sign the movie deal, she could have said no. True she didn't know it would become as big as it has, but that is always a possibility. J.K. Rowling never expected HP to hit the magnitude of fame it did either, but there it is. Yes she wrote the books and created this world, but the fans made it possible to bring it to life. I'm not saying I don't understand her frustration and having bad days and having to grin and bare it. But that's a part of life and something everyone does at times regardless of their occupation.
She wouldn't have the opportunities she now has without TS both career wise and personal. If she felt it was interfering with her family and the time she wanted to spend with them it's her responsibility to say no and pull back a little and make time for them. Perhaps by not taking on another project.
No one is asking her to remain in Forks, WA or the world of Twilight, by all means she should create and follow her other passions. But to basically throw the thing that gave her the opportunities to follow those other passions into the garbage bin is disrespectful to herself and the world she created along with her fans and like Jessica said all of those who have been involved in the franchise. Including that small town who attributes her with saving their town.
It's understandable she's moved on from that world to another. But a simple no I don't see myself going back to that world at this time, and possibly ever is a perfectly suffice and respectable answer. But to say....hey thanks for all the awesome opportunities your years of constant support have given me and my the way Jacob gets bit and dies, because Jasper can't contain his thirst and massacres a ferrie full of people and Jacob tried to step in and stop him, the Vultori then had the ammo they needed and finally destroyed them all except Renesmee who narrowly escaped and is now on the run. But Sam and Emily are happily married and just welcomed a little boy...peace out fans! Would understandably be a huge disappointment to those who stuck by SM side over the years and spent many hours pouring over the pages of these book.
I'm very truly sorry it's no longer a happy place for her and I'm sure it's been hard to deal with it all. But if she truly feels that way she should smile, walk away from it, and let fans create their own conclusion. She should have chosen her words wisely and its very much understandle that its a huge slap in the face to her consistently loyal fans who have supported her every step of the way over the years.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Jess! Saw your tweet abt a sneak peek of HFC, and I don't have a twitter, so consider this a response. OMG, yes!!!!! I would love that! Please do it soon (or today ;) lol) thanks!

Anonymous said...

Read her response, Aug. 14th

August 14, 2013

Hi everyone,

I'm just back from my short publicity tour for Austenland, and very glad to be home with my boys. I hope you all are having a wonderful summer with your families, and that you have a few more weeks to enjoy (unlike Arizona, where we were back to school last week).

With all the travelling, I only just heard about the current controversy, and I am both surprised and dismayed. I am horrified that my words could be construed in any way to mean that I am "over" the lovely people who embraced Twilight, made it such a huge hit, and changed my life. The time I've spent with my fans has been one of the most precious gifts of this whole experience and I will certainly never forget them or think of them with anything but immense gratitude. I was lucky enough to see a few of them Tuesday night at the Apple "Meet the Filmmakers" event, and they were so lovely! I'm always surprised and touched that people still care about my stories.

Any of you who have ever watched me answer a question live, especially to an indulgent inquirer like a fansite, know that I do tend to go on. Though I try to be as concise as possible to make editing easier for whichever news outlet I'm working with, I'm (still) not very good at it. If you look at the Variety article, you'll notice that I'm speaking in very short statements. Of course, I didn't actually. I spoke in run-on paragraphs and made the poor, sweet man who interviewed me comb through painstakingly trying to find a few completed sentences that he could use to convey the idea of what I was saying. Unfortunately, in shortening the interview to a usable size, some of the meaning of what I was trying to say was lost, and I believe the statements I made ended up sounding much more harsh than I meant them.

Even those of you who love Twilight the most (in fact, especially those who love it the most) have probably noticed that there's been just a teensy little bit of backlash following the success of the books and films. I try my hardest to be thick-skinned, but I'm not much better at that than I am at brevity. So when I speak of Twilight becoming a negative place for me, it is entirely that near-omnipresent Twilight antipathy that I am speaking of. And I'm not complaining or saying it's unfair—I totally understand and even empathize with its existence. I'm just saying that Twilight isn't the wholly positive place for me that it once was.

Also, in regards to being "over it," I will admit, it's getting harder to answer the same questions about Twilight that I've been answering for the past decade (especially when I'm so excited to talk about Austenland). I can only imagine you are just as over reading those same answers. And the little bit about posting which characters died? That was referring to a solemn oath I made years and years ago to some cool fans. I swore I would not take to my grave the ideas I had for future stories, even if all I could to was list the outcomes in bullet points.

So please, never think I don't appreciate the people who read, watch, and love Twilight. I am grateful for your existence every single day. Thanks for the most amazing decade!



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