At one point, I think even before the book came out, you were imagining like Matt Damon or older actors for the male roles. You had this as older people in your head at one point?
I mean, consciously I knew I did want that separation from Twilight. I wish that didn’t affect things but of course, it does. So, I wanted to have it a little bit older than even they were in the novel. I feel like the character s in the novel are so aged by circumstance that it would be hard or someone who is 20 or 17 to portray that, but if you get the right actress...

Well the guys are a good bit older than she is, both of them.
They are, and they actually are really closes to the ages of the characters are in the book. They look so much more fresh-faced. I mean everyone in the book is this gritty survivor.

Obviously Invasion of the Body Snatchers comes into the inspiration for this, and you’ve talked about how you’ve always been more of an aliens person than a vampires person. I’m curious about what your other sci-fi big influences are.
Part of the first thing was Ray Bradbury. I loved his short stories. I think, Fahrenheit 451 was my first exposure to him and then I read everything I could get my hands on. And I was a bit Orson Scott Card fan, Anne McAffrey...I loved her when I was young. Pierce Anthony actually has some too that I guess you could call science fiction. A lot of things are right on that line between science fiction and fantasy and that’s really where my home is, those two worlds, much more so than horror.

And you’ve said that you’re not really interested in writing humans. I mean obviously you write humans but…
You know, I love reading humans. I love reading, you know Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte. I love those stories, but I don’t know. I guess I just haven’t found a story that feels big enough with human. Anything that can actually happen just feels like it’s been done and so when you’re doing something that’s new and that’s not a world that’s ever been seen that same way before, it just feels more mine.

There are some really interesting essays out there by people writing from a Mormon perspective about the idea of free will in this. I’m curious if you see that, maybe not necessarily when you were writing it, but after the fact.
I haven’t seen that yet, but free will is always something that comes into my stories because it is something that I really have thought about a lot and it seems very, very important.

As a result of faith, or just in general?
I think both, because it’s something that I think about with religion and that I also think about separate from that, but it’s just a really important part of who we are and it’s part of even the Twilight novels. I’m so inspired by people you see, like a hundred kids who are from these horrible abusive families and a lot of them lead these horrible lives and continue this awful cycle, and then there’s this one person who just does it differently and succeeds and goes to college and becomes a professor or doctor and tells this story of success and you think, “Why does this one person stand up and say, I don’t have to be this. I can be something else.” Because my own childhood was fairly wonderful, you know, I had really great parents who cared a lot of me, I don’t know if I would be that strong and so I’m really inspired by people who do something different than what’s been prescribed for them for their life. And so that kind of side of free will has always really fascinated me.

Well, it also really ties in with Twilight and The Host. Bella knows what she wants and she sticks with it despite everyone else telling her otherwise. I think a lot of people see young girls and think the opposite, like we need to tell you what to do, we need to tell you what to be.
There are some kids who need direction--that’s not my personal experience, my kids don’t need direction. They know what they want and I knew what I wanted. When I was a kid, I had the same major plan for college from third grade through my graduation in college. I knew what I wanted and I always stuck on the path.

(Stephenie Meyer image via Helga Esteb /

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