Writing about hot vampires all day sounds like a dream job. Along with maybe a third of all people who write for TV, Twilight author Stephenie Meyer is one of the few who get to perform this vital service for money. She has taken a leisurely decade and change to produce her forthcoming book, Midnight Sun, a retelling of the original Twilight novel told from the perspective of bloodsucking sex symbol Edward Cullen. The idea of creating a lightly erotic tome with no real deadline may sound chill as fuck, but Meyer’s description of the process makes it seem sort of harrowing.
Based on a recent interview with the New York Times, Meyer’s process of writing said book sounds acutely anxiety-provoking, as does the book itself. A moonlit vacation on blood island this is not. Part of the reason for this is that Edward is famously a neurotic, anxious vampire. Twilight, as I understand it from the film adaptations, is a series about how nothing, not even a confidence bestowed by everlasting youth, can surmount the mental-health issues that come with being in high school for a hundred years. “Edward is a very anxious character,” explained Meyer. “Writing him made me more anxious, and that’s one of the reasons it was hard to be in that story. His anxiety combined with mine was potent.”
The novel’s anxious tenor is compounded by Edward’s ability to read minds, which is apparently explored in excruciating detail on the page. “I think you get the sense of how overwhelming it would be to constantly have people’s voices in your head,” said Meyer. On the one hand, this might describe the experience of reading any novel. On the other hand, the unfiltered quality of these voices does have the potential to be highly annoying.
Overall, her new book, sections of which were first leaked way back in 2008, “was just a huge, pain-in-the-butt book to write,” Meyer says. “With some of my books it was like they were writing themselves, and I was just working to keep up with dictation. That kid of writing is fun and exciting. This was like, every single word was a struggle.”
As a writer, that sounds stressful. As a reader, so long as there are chapter breaks and I don’t have to constantly refer to a giant map of Edward’s family lineage, I’ll be fine.