In celebration of The Host's one year anniversary 30 blogs are hosting The Host by Stephenie Meyer. Be sure to check out some of the other tour stops for more fun.
The author of the Twilight series of # 1 bestsellers delivers her brilliant first novel for adults: a gripping story of love and betrayal in a future with the fate of humanity at stake.
Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away. The earth has been invaded by a species that take over the minds of their human hosts while leaving their bodies intact, and most of humanity has succumbed.
Wanderer, the invading "soul" who has been given Melanie's body, knew about the challenges of living inside a human: the overwhelming emotions, the too vivid memories. But there was one difficulty Wanderer didn't expect: the former tenant of her body refusing to relinquish possession of her mind.
Melanie fills Wanderer's thoughts with visions of the man Melanie loves-Jared, a human who still lives in hiding. Unable to separate herself from her body's desires, Wanderer yearns for a man she's never met. As outside forces make Wanderer and Melanie unwilling allies, they set off to search for the man they both love.
Featuring what may be the first love triangle involving only two bodies, THE HOST is a riveting and unforgettable novel that will bring a vast new readership to one of the most compelling writers of our time.
1. What inspired the idea for The Host?
The kernel of thought that became The Host was inspired by absolute boredom. I was driving from Phoenix to Salt Lake City, through some of the most dreary and repetitive desert in the world. It’s a drive I’ve made many times, and one of the ways I keep from going insane is by telling myself stories. I have no idea what sparked the strange foundation of a body-snatching alien in love with the host body’s boyfriend over the host-body’s protest. I was halfway into the story before I realized it. Once I got started, though, the story immediately demanded my attention. I could tell there was something compelling in the idea of such a complicated triangle. I started writing the outline in a notebook, and then fleshed it out as soon as I got to a computer. The Host was supposed to be no more than a side project—something to keep me busy between editing stints on Eclipse—but it turned into something I couldn’t step away from until it was done.
2. Did you approaching writing The Host, your first adult novel, differently than your YA series?
Not at all. Like the Twilight Saga (this is probably the only way The Host is like the Twilight Saga!), The Host is just a story I had fun telling myself. My personal entertainment is always the key to why a story gets finished. I never think about another audience besides myself while I’m writing; that can wait for the editing stage.
3. You have referred to The Host as being a science fiction novel for people who don't like science fiction. Can you explain why?
Reading The Host doesn’t feel like reading science fiction; the world is familiar, the body you as the narrator are moving around inside of is familiar, the emotions on the faces of the people around you are familiar. It’s very much set in this world, with just a few key differences. If it weren’t for the fact that alien stories are by definition science fiction, I wouldn’t classify it in that genre.
4. There is a lot of internal dialogue between Wanderer, the narrator and invading "soul", and Melanie, the human whose body Wanderer is now living inside. Each character has her own distinct voice and internal struggle. Was it a challenge to have the two characters, who essentially take up one body, stand on their own?
Wanderer and Melanie were very distinct personalities to me from day one; keeping them separate was never an issue. Melanie is the victim—she’s the one that we, as humans, should identify with; at the same time, she is not always the more admirable character. She can be angry and violent and ruthless. Wanderer is the attacker, the thief. She is not like us, not even a member of our species. However, she is someone that I, at least, wish I was more like. She’s a better person than Melanie in a lot of ways, and yet a weaker person. The differences between the two main characters are the whole point of the story. If they weren’t so distinct, there would have been no reason to write it.
5. Did any of the characters surprise you while writing?
I am constantly surprised by my characters when I write—it’s really one of my favorite parts. When a character refuses to do what I had planned for him or her, that’s when I know that character is really alive. There were several characters who caught me off guard with The Host. One in particular was slated for a bit part as the wingman to the villain. Somehow, he knew he was more than that, and I couldn’t stop him from morphing into a main love interest.
6. Your Twilight series has had a lot of crossover appeal for adult readers, do you think The Host will also appeal to your younger readers?
I’ve had a great deal of interest from my YA readers about the release of The Host. I have no doubt that they will continue to make up a core part of my readership. I love blurring the lines between the different genres and categories—because in my head, a good book won’t fit inside the lines. I hope that The Host continues to do what the Twilight Saga is doing: showing that a good story doesn’t belong to any one demographic.
7. How do you feel about the enormous success that you’ve had with the Twilight series? How has it changed your life?
I am continually shocked by the success of my books. I never take it for granted, and I do not count on it in my expectations of my future. It’s a very enjoyable thing, and I’ll have fun with it while it lasts. I’ve always considered myself first and foremost a mother, so being a writer hasn’t changed my life too much – except I do travel a lot more and have less free time.
8. What adult authors do you read?
I’ve been reading books for adults my entire life. Growing up I was an avid reader—the thicker the book, the better. Pride and Prejudice, Gone with the Wind, The Sword of Shannara, Jane Eyre, Rebecca, etc. I’m a huge fan of Orson Scott Card, and Jane Austen-- I can’t go through a year without re-reading her stuff again.
In the not too distant future Earth is taken over by the “souls”. They are inserted into a human and take over the host in both mind and body. The invaders bring world peace and an end to all sickness which on the surface seems like an answer to everyone’s prayers but at what cost?
Melanie Stryder, her brother Jamie and her friend Jared have managed to avoid the transformation by hiding out and constantly remaining on the run. When Melanie spots her cousin during a Chicago news broadcast she immediately knows that her cousin is still human and sets out alone to find her.
But Melanie is captured and Wanderer gets inserted into her body with a totally unexpected side effect. Melanie’s will to remain human is so strong that Wanderer cannot fully posses her mind and she fights back.
Little by little Melanie shows Wanderer her memories of Jamie and Jared and soon Wanderer goes AWOL in search of the two people she loves most in the world. When she finally tracks them down she finds thirty-five humans in hiding from the souls and they are quick to see her for what she really is, an “it” not a real person. But soon Wanda, as she becomes known, is accepted as part of the group and becomes something more to members of this isolated resistance.
Whether you’ve read The Twilight Saga or not, take everything you know about Stephenie Meyer and throw it out the window. The Host is an engaging science fiction love story but don’t be scared away by the science-fiction aspects of it. It’s not too technical with the sci-fi parts. The book is more focused on the characters within the group and it had my emotions flip flopping back and forth. I loved how Wanda was able to break out of the mold and gain the group’s trust at the same time as learning to co-exist with Melanie. This was an awesome read that I recommend for anyone who loves a great romance.
A few of the other tour participants:
Wendy's Minding Spot (enter to win a copy of The Host!)
Review From Here
A Circle of Books
Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin’? June 18th
Books, movies, and Chinese Food June 19th
Marta's Meanderings June 21st
Wrighty's Reads June 23rd
Vampire Wire June 29th