Rowling Wades Into Mormon History

Late last month, Rowling made an allusion to Joseph Smith, Jr.,’s claim to have translated The Book of Mormon from actual gold plates given to him by an angel. Her point was about the credulity of those accusing her of being a transphobe and bigot without evidence from her actual statements.

What Rowling couldn’t have known, assuming that she knows no Latter-Day Saints and hasn’t studied the subject or interacted with LDS apologists online, is that this off-hand remark would cause an avalanche of correction from Salt Lake City and the army of internet mavens sworn to protect and defend Smith’s revelation. To her credit, she corrected herself without caving to the Mormon church’s strict messaging on the subject. More after the jump. [Read more…]

J. K. Rowling’s Life in Two Tweets

Neither of Rowling’s twitter statements on 1 April was an April Fool’s Day joke or a birthday greeting for George Weasley, with a ‘Memory Eternal’ note about his late brother Fred.

Instead she answered a question about how she “fit writing” into her “everyday schedule” when “starting out” and made her case for the protection of children from transgender activists’ call for transition without parental consent.

This is a subject much overlooked, at least by me, with respect to The Presence. To her life is about writing. As she wrote in ‘On Writing:’

The truth is that I can’t really separate a ‘writing life’ from ‘life.’ It’s more of a need than a love. I suppose I must spend most of my conscious life in fictional worlds, which some people may find sad, as though there must be something lacking in my external life. There really isn’t! I’m a happy person, by and large, with a family I adore and quite a few activities I enjoy. It’s just that I have other worlds in my head that I often slip in and out of and I don’t really know how it would feel to live any other way.

Her second tweet on 1 April involved children and transgenderism, which I think gets to the heart of who she is as a person as much as her need to write: [Read more…]

Midnight Sun, Edward’s Version of ‘Twilight,’ to be Published August 2020

There has been a countdown page at Stephenie Meyer’s Fickle Fish Films Facebook page the last thirty days and today we at last got the payoff. It was announced that the long awaited Midnight Sun, the Edward Cullen perspective of the events in Twilight, the first book in the Forks Saga, will be published on 4 August 2020.

This manuscript has an interesting history. Meyer was writing it in 2008 when beta chapters, the first twelve, were released by her trusted readers to the internet. She then gave up on writing the book and put up a pdf of the draft chapters on her website. That draft is not available this morning at (check here to see if it is now). She talked about it again in 2015 but balked at publication.

Read the news about the new Twilight at The Guardian, Entertainment Weekly, and USA Today. The TwiHards on Twitter, of course, are losing their minds with excitement. Me? I’m looking forward to it, frankly, for two reasons.

First, I’ve read the Midnight Sun draft chapters and more than once. It was an important part of my writing Spotlight: A Close Up Look at the Artistry and Meaning of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight Saga. I’d love to read, to experience Jacob’s perspective on the finale in the room of mirrors. I’m a fan and a serious reader of the series; of course I want to read the complete Midnight Sun. I have a three ring binder on my Twilight shelf with a print out of the drafts.

Last, Meyer is a student, nay, a disciple of Orson Scott Card, the other best-selling Latter-day Saint writer of our times. Her favorite book is Speaker for the Dead, part of Card’s Ender’s Game series, and she claims to have read at least twice everything Card has written. Check out his bibliography to understand what that means. One of Card’s signature moves? Re-telling stories from his various series from the perspective of other characters in that story.

My only question is, “Why now?” Besides it being International Star Wars Day (‘May the Fourth Be With You’). Is it the fifteenth anniversary of Twilight’s release? Or the failure of Meyer’s other books to take off?  I doubt sales of her The Host or The Chemist will ever approach those of Twilight or even pay back her advance from hopeful publishers. Or is that just a cheap shot at a target that is more abused than given her due?

Let me know your thoughts on Midnight Sun in the comment boxes below. Hat-tip to James, my contact in Twilight fandom, for letting me know about the count-down page and this morning’s announcement.


Vampire Batman: Robert Pattinson Confirmed as New Caped Crusader

Holy Hufflepuff Switcheroo, Batman! Rumors have finally been confirmed that Robert Pattinson will be donningImage result for batman the famous Batman cowl in 2021’s The Batman. While there will undoubtedly be hue and cry from every corner, as there always is with the casting of such a culturally important character, Pattinson is both an interesting and a promising choice.

[Read more…]

Speaking of Disappearances – Whatever Happened to Stephenie Meyer?

A good friend from the Twilight years here at HogwartsProfessor keeps me up to speed on the author of that series, Stephenie Meyer. This week he let me know that she is now posting updates on her website about projects she is excited about (check that out here if you are interested). Meyer is super-enthused about a Netflix television series, The Umbrella Family. She doesn’t share a single thing about the series, oddly enough, to move the reader to share that enthusiasm but the GIFs used in the blog post are impressive. Kind of?

A frequent guest at my Muggle job is a short older woman who is a huge Twilight fan. She catches me up on announcements about fan gatherings in Forks and the like when we meet. She has a brilliant smile and fun sense of humor especially about her love of sparkly vampire stories. I asked her earlier this year if she had read Meyer’s latest book, The Chemist. “You mean The Host?” “No, there’s a new one; a science and spy thriller.” “You’re kidding me.” She went out and bought a copy. Next time I saw her she still hadn’t finished it.

How unusual is that? Not very unusual, I’m afraid. One of the best-selling authors of the 21st Century publishes a book in late 2016 with a major house (500,000 copies printed…), just in time for Christmas, and uber fans of hers haven’t heard of it in 2019. Wikipedia, believe it or don’t, still doesn’t have a page dedicated to it. She announced in February 2018 that her movie studio, Fickle Fish Films, was starting production of a television series adaptation of the book. It seems that didn’t work out.

I read The Chemist as soon as I heard about it, which is to say, more than several months after it was published (my Twilight correspondent assumed I knew). It’s a fun read, though as I suspected, real-world chemists found it a real-hard struggle to get through. The reviewer at The Guardian thought the thriller a big improvement on Twilight, if largely because this book’s Bella is a beast of sorts; The New York Times review in November 2016, ‘Sorry, Twilight Fans, Stephenie Meyer’s Latest is a Twisted Spy Thriller,’ focused on Meyer’s conflict with Twi-hard fans that want nothing but a return to Edward and Jacob. And the author’s writing process and insecurities:

So why did Ms. Meyer decide to write a pulpy spy thriller, an ultramasculine genre that is notoriously tough to break into, particularly for female authors? “I get a little bored,” she said in a telephone interview from her home in Arizona. “Stories kind of run out, and you want to do something very different. It’s like, after ice cream, you want pretzels.”


She rarely holds book signings, and no longer reads reviews or online comments about herself. “At first I read everything, and I learned that was not superhealthy,” she said.

You would think that selling 10s of millions of novels would calm her insecurities, but success has only heightened her self-doubt.

“I’ve always been hard on myself, and now that everyone is reading my stuff, half the people hate it,” she said. “It’s hard when you start doubting yourself, and a few million people are telling you that you’re right, and that you should doubt yourself even more.”


A few years later, Ms. Meyer returned to the idea and decided to write it as a novel. She keeps vampire-like work hours — a residual habit from when she began writing “Twilight” while she and her husband were raising their three sons — and worked on “The Chemist” from 9 p.m. until 3 a.m. The plot flowed quickly, but she struggled at times to devise unusual ways to kill, maim and torture people, so she consulted several experts in biochemistry and molecular biology, including Kirstin Hendrickson, a senior lecturer at the School of Molecular Sciences at Arizona State University.

“I would send her stuff and say, ‘What if I wanted to kill someone this way?,’ and she would say, ‘You can’t do it that way, but you could do it this way,’” Ms. Meyer said. “If anyone looks at my web history, I’m going to jail.”

I don’t know where J. K. Rowling is or what she’s thinking or doing now that she is abstaining from twitter-dom. It’s been a refreshing silence, frankly, and we can only hope it has been and will continue to be a refreshing and rejuvenating respite for The Presence.

I’m equally clueless about Stephenie Meyer but at least as hopeful about her continuing to write wherever she may be. Let me know in the comment boxes if you’ve read The Chemist or anything by Meyer post Twilight. Big points for your House if you can share any 2019 celebrity spottings of her!