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!


  1. Thanks for the update, John! I wonder how seriously she and her production company, Fickle Fish Films, are seriously pursuing new film or TV projects? I suspect they can often turn into time-sinks that never come to fruition so it may be hard to tell.

    They did the romcom, “Austenland” as sort of a girls-night-out project (that went on for months). Directed by one of the people behind “Napoleon Dynamite,” I thought it was “frickin awesome,” but it didn’t do gangbusters at the box office: https://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=austenland.htm

    I think they did a couple smaller YA adaption/teen horror films but I wasn’t familiar with the books/source material and lost track of their releases, if any.

    Maybe there are more clues about what’s on the way on the production company’s Facebook feed where they often cheer on female-led movie and TV projects: https://www.facebook.com/ficklefishfilms/

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