Hi Stephenie! I am incredibly intrigued by this new version! Thank you so much for writing this. My question is: Who was the hardest character to do the gender switch on? And why? Xxx
Why is Edythe significantly awesomer than Edward?
SM: To quote Movie Jessica: I know, right? I feel a little guilty for loving Edythe so much. She’s a rock star. I love Edward, but he doesn’t have the exact same edge, does he? I’m not sure why this is. Is it because Edythe is a girl, so I more naturally put myself in her shoes? Now I’m the deadly, mysterious one? Or is it because of some indefinable Edythe-ness that came out of the ether and remains impossible to explain? I do not have the answer.
Hey Steph! I wish I could meet you someday! ☺ So, in what occasion will the Cullens find out that Beau is a shield? Is he also shielded against Mele? And what if Aro finds “Mel”? — a young boy this time. Are the Cullens protected because of Bella?
SM: I can imagine a few scenarios in which the Cullens would discover Beau’s talent. Maybe it would be when they have a reunion with the Denali clan. Being so strong at first, Beau would probably be a little cocky. He might want to see what Kirill’s electricity thing felt like. Or maybe Sulpicia would hear through the grapevine about the Cullens’ new addition, and request a visit. It wouldn’t be the same fraught encounter that Bella’s first trip to Volterra was, and there would have been more time to talk through the implications of Beau’s mental silence with the experts.
I think that Aro did eventually find “Mel” (long after Didyme’s death) and, after thinking carefully through the implications of Mel’s gift for a century or so, had him quietly destroyed. Aro wouldn’t like the thought of himself being replaceable.
It seems that Beau had a much easier life than Bella, he has to go through faking his death but doesn’t have to deal with nearly as much as Bella. Was that intentional to completely change the story so Beau’s couldn’t follow what happens in New Moon and on or is their more to his story?
SM: As I said in the afterword, I think Bella got the better version of the story. Yes, she endured so much more physical and emotional pain, but in the end she gets to keep her human family. Worth it, in my opinion. Edward, also, did many things he regretted, but he can at least console himself that Bella got to make her choices and shape her future into what she wanted. Edythe will always have doubts about the way Beau was forced into his vampire life, no matter how content he may seem.
I changed the ending of the book because I always wondered how it would feel if the story had ended with Twilight. Now I know. Obviously, Beau has an indefinite number of years ahead of him, no doubt full of adventures, but I feel satisfied with what I’ve already written. I’m happy to leave those adventures to the imaginations of the readers.
Is Rosalie’s vampire origin story still going to be steeped in heavily gendered trauma and revenge now that she’s a man in the new book? Please say yes.
SM: Not in exactly the same way, but there is definitely still revenge. As Royal explains while Beau is transforming, he was beaten (nearly) to death by the secret boyfriend of his erstwhile fiancée, and that boyfriend’s mafia colleagues. The feeling of betrayal is still there, perhaps even stronger. Royce King was loathsome, but he did have feelings for Rosalie—desire, at the very least. Rowena King was ice cold as she watched Royal die; she was entertained by the spectacle. As she laughed, he realized that she had never felt anything for him at all, except perhaps scorn and amusement that he was so easily duped. When he came for his revenge, he didn’t come in a tuxedo. He came carrying the broken body of her lover.
Stephenie, does a male version of Leah exist in the Life and Death world? Will he eventually turn into a werewolf? Will he have the same relationship with the wolf pack as Leah? Thank you!
SM: Ooh, fun question! The answer is yes, absolutely. The Clearwaters still exist. The shape-changer bloodline runs through both Holly and Saul Clearwater to their two children, Leland (Lee) and Sarah. Just like in the Twilight universe, Holly is in on the secret, and after Samantha Uley changes, she knows eventually that her daughter Sarah will join the pack. But she’s never dreamed that Lee could change, and the shock of that occurrence triggers her fatal heart attack.
Lee is every bit as horrified to join the pack as Leah was. He, too, had his heart broken by Sam. He, too, doesn’t want to have Sam’s love for Elliott—his former best friend—always there in his head. He, too, feels ostracized by the pack for his gender. He, too, is pretty harsh in his thoughts toward the pack.
Hey Stephenie! Could you explain the inspiration between the Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea epigraph, and Beau’s love for the book?
SM: Ha ha, this is kind of a funny answer. Because we did this project so quickly, there wasn’t time to get an approval for any modern quotes (I initially thought of using lyrics). So I was limited to public domain novels and songs. I had to scan through options pretty quickly, and I wasn’t finding much. Knowing that I had to narrow it down if I was ever going to find anything, I decided to go with Beau’s favorite book, which is—not coincidently—my son Gabe’s favorite book. Once I had decided that Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea was the source, it was easy to find the option that fit. I like that it’s also a little clue. Unlike Bella, Beau does find his destiny by the end of the first book.
With changing genders of the two main characters in life and death were you worried that the storyline might change to the point where people wouldn’t be able to see the similarities between that and twilight? love both books by the way
SM: I was not worried that Life and Death would become too different from Twilight for the story to be recognizable. It was obvious from the beginning of the project that my hypothesis was correct: switching the genders did very little to the plot.
If you had kept the same ending from Twilight for Life and Death, how would Renesmee ‘fit’ in this new take? Would it be possible for Edythe to carry a child?
SM: Even if Life and Death had ended the same way that Twilight did, the storyline would have had to take a sharp left when it hit Breaking Dawn. Edythe is not able to get pregnant, so all the post-honeymoon drama would vanish; Renesmee could not exist in this alternate version. Which means Ivan (Irena) would have had nothing to report back to the Volturi, and the entire second half of the novel would have been pretty uneventful. Maybe they would have gone to Dartmouth after all. Let the college hijinks ensue!
Stephenie, in a hypothetical world where we’d get a Life and Death movie, who would you cast as Beau and Edythe (and the rest of the Cullens, if you feel like, of course!)? Can be any dead or alive actors, pun fully intended!
SM: While I am an avid book character fantasy cast creator, the drawbacks of saying “This is who I see as ___________” when you are the author are worrisome. I don’t like interfering too much with what the reader sees when s/he reads. (I know I did precisely this about eight years ago, when I posted my fantasy cast for Twilight before there was a movie. At the time, I didn’t think anyone would read the book anyway, and I hadn’t given the idea of altering a reader’s personal mental picture any consideration.) There is nothing like having your own personal mental hero/heroine. This is one of the reasons that I love fan art so much. I love seeing what you see when you read the story. In fact, I’m planning to put up a gallery of Life and Death character fan art on my website. Shameless plug: if you can draw, please send me something. You can find more details on my website. I want to see your Beau and Edythe (and all the others—someone draw Archie, please)!
All that being said, do I have a fantasy cast? Of course I do. And I’ll tell you what it is, just promise me that you won’t read the next paragraph unless you already have a solid image in your head of all the Life and Death characters. Promise? Okay. I’m going to hold you to that.
Thank you for letting me pick actors that are not alive, because my only Carine is Grace Kelly, from the Rear Window era. All the rest of my actors are alive, but few of them are the right age. I will give you context. For Beau, I would cast 2013-ish (post-Perks) Logan Lerman. Edythe is harder, because she’s a perfect vampire, but my favorite choice is Emma Stone around the time of Easy A; she’s adorable. For Jules, I chose an actress I’ve never seen in action, just based on looks—Amber Midthunder. Archie is Nicholas Hoult, right after he finished filming Fury Road and his head was still shaved; there’s a picture floating around the internet—he’s wearing an off-white jacket, sitting on a brick wall—that’s perfect, but I can’t find a source for it. I like Tavi Gevinson for Jessamine. The closest I could find for Eleanor was circa-2011 Gina Carano. I think last year’s Liam Hemsworth is probably the best option for Royal. My favorite Earnest is Tom Hiddleston, 2010-ish. And then the baddies: Joss—Tatiana Maslany, Victor—Brian Balzerini, and Lauren— Léa Seydoux.
Would you consider making any of the other books into a gender swapped form like you did for twilight?
SM: No. I did enjoy the experiment more than expected, but it was also very successful in answering the questions I had. I don’t feel like I need to do more.
What’s your favourite and least favourite thing about (writing) Life & Death?
SM: My favorite thing during the process was probably getting to fix the little problems in Twilight that have bothered me for the last ten years; it was like scratching an itch. And then my least favorite thing was calling the story finished and turning it over to be printed, knowing that I’ll find another million tiny changes I will never be able to make.
Hi, Steph! Does Bella also like Monty Python or is that just a Beau thing?
SM: Bella is also a big fan. This was mentioned briefly in my Midnight Sun manuscript, which is where I pulled it from for Beau.
As I can remember you saw all of those Twilight fiction in your dream but how did you decide the characters’ physical appearances? And did you express your opinions on choosing the actors or actresses who will play which role, if yes, how did you do that? And finally, would you ever think that Twilight will be such a legend? (Excuse my grammar mistakes please) Thanks for your attention.
SM: When I was writing Twilight, the character’s physical descriptions came to me very easily, though I’d only seen Edward and Bella in the dream. It just seemed inevitable that Edward had a tiny, vision-seeing sister with short, dark hair, and a burly big brother whose hair was also dark, but curly. It was the same with all the others. As I thought of Edward’s family, I knew kind of instinctively how big it was and what everyone had to look like. Jacob developed later, but once I realized the need for him, he appeared fully formed like the others. I guess if I had to really think about the look for any of the characters, it was probably the ancillary human students. They felt more generic at first, and I had to spend time with them to make them into individuals.
I did not have a say in which actors played the characters in Twilight, but the cast turned out just fine, I think. People seem to like them okay 😉
And finally, no, I had no idea that Twilight would be so popular. Ten years later, that still weirds me out.
Stephenie Hello, first I would like to tell you, I’m a big fan of yours, and I admire you so much, love the way you write 💕. I wonder, what was your inspiration for writing the book “The Host”? Where did the idea of creating this book WONDERFUL. I confess, I too love this book. Steph a big kiss. Its Brazilian fan and future writer, Geovana Caroline.
SM: Thank you, and good luck in your writing career! I got the inspiration for The Host while I was driving from Phoenix to Salt Lake City to visit my sister. Highways through the American Southwest are long and frequently monotonous, so I was telling stories inside my head (as I often do) to alleviate the boredom. I found myself in the middle of this idea about a science fiction love triangle with only two bodies, without really knowing how I’d got there. But I loved the feel of the story and I started working out where it would go. Once I have a solid idea of an interesting character or two, the story usually grows quite easily.
Was there any one minor character or couple (not Bella, Edward, Jacob) in Twilight that surprised you by how popular they became in the fandom? And thank you so much for writing these books! I love them still and I’ve met so many amazing people because I love them and found friends online who love them too!
SM: Actually, no. Maybe it’s egotistical, but I’m so interested in the characters that it doesn’t surprise me when other people are into more than just the main three. This sounds like a contradiction of what I said before about being surprised by the popularity of the books, but I’m looking at it more on a case-by-case basis. Yes, I’m shocked so many people like Twilight, but if you do like Twilight, how could you not be into Alice and Jasper? Or Esme and Carlisle? Or even the tumultuous ups and downs of Mike’s and Jessica’s volatile relationship? I care about them all, so when someone enjoys my little world, I’m happy that they get excited about more than just Bella and Edward.
Also, thanks for the compliments, and I, too, have made some life-long friends through Twilight. That was an unexpected bonus.
If you could have changed one thing about the way the original Twilight series ended, if any, what would it be?
SM: I wouldn’t change anything in the plot (the writing, obviously, I’m always open to polishing some more). I wrote the story the way it made the most sense to me, and I’m happy with it.
Hey Stephenie, what made you decide that Emmett and Rosalie should be together? I like them both a lot, but they just seem like such polar opposites, and I was wondering if you have something else to say about it. Thanks!