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!

Twilight – Stephenie Meyer

Pillar Post Place Holder for Sidebar Listing

New Twilight Films Are In The Works – A Feminist Project!

Why do I think this is important news? I have argued in Spotlight and on this site against the tide of critical opinion that Mrs Meyer’s work is feminist. The meme is that her stories, especially the Forks saga, are demeaning to women, that her heroines are blandly submissive and unthinking, and reading about these poor role models will discourage girl readers from being brave and bold.

For why all of that is nonsensical, please read this explanation of why Stephenie Meyer is the Latter-day Saint Kate Chopin. [And then read Spotlight!]

Her efforts to support women in Hollywood, consequently, are best understood, not as a publicity stunt to counter the risible pigeon-holing of her work as anti-feminist, but as work that is consistent with the soul and substance of her written work.

Just sayin.’ For links to stories around the web on this project — and how to vote for your choice — make the jump!
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Stephenie Meyer ‘So Over’ Twilight? Yes! and No, Not Really…

It occurred to me when writing yesterday’s post, which began with Stephenie Meyer’s refusal to answer a question about abortion rights, that her refusal to answer, her refusing to answer, was probably driven by humility and, perhaps, by a little practical wisdom. Was the reporter really looking for insight on the issue? Or was he hoping she’d oblige him with the PC ammo that critics would use (citing his interview as a source) to bash Mrs Meyer once again as a neanderthal nobody from nowhere?

That’s a rhetorical question. I’m guessing she could see the downside of stating her beliefs about the rightness or wrongness of abortion, either agreeing with or standing apart from the position of her LDS faith. Either way, it’s headlines and unpleasant blowback from all sides of the political spectrum. By saying, in effect, “I’m an artist, ask me about my work, numbskull,” she neatly sidestepped the pathetic faux controversy that would have blown up her life if she had answered.

If you think I’m exaggerating how anything she says is misconstrued or her fatigue in being treated this way by the Fourth estate, read her answers to this interview in Variety and the statement she had to put out later on her website to calm the back-lash:

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Celebrity Writers: What Socrates, Stephenie, and Solzhenitsyn Teach Us About the Insight of Poets Outside Their Inspiration

Thank you to everyone who has sent me and my family Christmas greetings on Orthodox Nativity. Joyous Noel! On to business!

Although the meme survives that everyone who reads Stephenie Meyer with admiration or fondness is a loser (and the contrary, those who despise her work and her fans are by definition winners, at least in comparison), I confess to being a Meyer-Reader and an admirer. I don’t recognize myself in the people being ridiculed in the Twilight of Our Literacy posts — 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, or 10, thank you Alix —  and I do see my reflection, an unpleasant snobbish side, alas, in the attitude of those rolling their eyes at others who are beneath them in literary taste or acumen.

I say all that to introduce an aside Mrs. Meyer made in a recent interview about celebrities, politics, and the real world. And the wisdom of knowing when your opinion isn’t worth the consideration that many might give it for all the wrong reasons:

Stephenie Meyer on Twilight, feminism and true love

I ask whether she’s anti-abortion, and she says: “You know what? I never talk about politics, because that is one of my pet peeves, when people with any measure of celebrity get on their soapbox and say: ‘You should vote this way.’ First of all, celebrities don’t know anything about real life. They live in an ivory tower … I lived in the real world for 30 years, enough to know I’m not in it now.”

There are author-celebrities, alive and dead, whose view on political issues I do want to read. The two I think of immediately are both dead — C. S. Lewis and Alexsandr Solzhenitsyn — and I can honestly say I do not hold with the opinions of either with respect to partisan issues of governance. Their ideas, however, on all things including politics are more than worth my time and serious consideration because what made these men great artists and Christians, their gravitas and spiritual achievements won the hard way, demands my respect and deference, if not total agreement.

Do such giants walk the earth today? I assume they do but their names do not come to mind (please educate me in the com boxes below with your literary-celebrity guru list). I will add that I believe that the muses of more than one artist are more perceptive and more edifying than the expressed political positions of those they inspire — and who believe their fame entitles, even obliges them to speak out, truth to power!, on issues and concerns having little to do with what made them famous and without the depth or breadth of understanding that such commentary requires, if only in order not to be just psychological discharge or another voice of the age in which we live.  [Read more…]