Tuesday, 15 December 2009

The Goodbye Girl...

After a few re-assessments and decisions in light of my current situation and the past year, I've decided to take some time out from this blog indefinately so I can get back on track with some of the things I've missed as I've been spending a lot of time blogging and doing other things/other websites which can, if you're like me, turn out to be very counter productive in certain situations. Sharing my story with you has been an absolute delight, and I'll continue to do so in the future!
Thank you so much for showing your support, it really does mean a lot to me. I hope everyone has a fantastic Christmas and New Year, and best wishes for 2010 - I sincerely hope it's a good one!
Cleo xoxo

P.S .....
.... this year hasn't been a good one for me.... so i'm hoping 2010 will be much better. It's time to click my heels three times and make a wish..............

Monday, 14 December 2009

Natalie Portman decides to slay Zombies...

Brothers star Natalie Portman has confirmed that she will appear as the lead in the upcoming film adaptation of the New York Times bestselling book Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. She is also set to produce the movie.

Released in April 2009, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is a mash-up story that puts a modern twist to Jane Austen’s classic 1813 novel, Pride and Prejudice, by injecting into the narrative a number of pop-culture elements, including, as the title suggests, hungry and violent zombies. The book was written by American author Seth Grahame-Smith and published by Quirk Books, which, after the book’s surprising success, went on to release Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, another mash-up novel based on another beloved Jane Austen classic.

The film rights to the book was sold to a then undisclosed production company around the same time it was published. The buyer turned out to be either of the two companies tied to the project as producers, Dark Films and Portman’s own company, Handsome Charlie Films.

Portman will produce with Annette Savitch, plus Darko Films’ Richard Kelly, Sean McKittrick and Ted Hamm.

Described as an expanded version of the Austen classic, the book tells the timeless story of a woman’s quest for love and independence amid the outbreak of a deadly virus that turns the undead into vicious killers.

"Natalie and I are longtime passionate fans of Jane Austen’s books and this a fresh, fun and thought-provoking way to approach her work,” Savitch said. “The idea of zombies running rampant in 19th Century England may sound odd, but it lends a modern sense of urgency to a well known love story.”

I also found this article via Oprah about what books are currently on Natalie's bookshelf:

1. the ministry of special cases - nathan englander

In Argentina's "dirty war" in the '70s, the military government had thousands of activists and political opponents "disappeared." This novel is about a mother and father dealing with the disappearance of their son. It's a moving book that also has a lot of dark comedy in it. For instance, the parents accept free nose jobs in exchange for a debt. It also captures the comic absurdity of the bureaucracy of a dictatorship. What's most interesting to me is, as one character makes clear, the truth tellers in life are so often written off as crazy.

2. sun under wood - robert haas

In college, I took a poetry class with Jorie Graham, an amazing poet. She directed me to Hass, and his stuff moved me so much. His writing is very American, spare, clean. And manly. There's a ruggedness to his poems. One in particular I've always loved is called "Dragonflies Mating." It combines a sense of abandonment in childhood with natural images. I don't even know exactly what it means, but I think that's what poetry does—it evokes all these feelings without our really understanding why or how it's done.

3. cloud atlas - david mitchell

This was the present I gave everyone I knew for three years. It's six different stories told in different time periods and genres: One is historical fiction, another is a '70s thriller mystery, the sixth is a post­apocalyptic story. It's one of the most beautiful, entertaining, challenging books—something that takes all your attention. I think the stories are meditations on violence, specifically the necessity of violence. The book ends with a beautiful exchange: "…only as you gasp your dying breath shall you understand, your life amounted to no more than one drop in a limitless ocean! Yet what is an ocean but a multitude of drops."

4. what is the what - dave eggers

I read about Sudan every day, and I didn't understand what was going on there until this book. Dave Eggers tells the story of Valentino Achak Deng, one of the Lost Boys of Sudan, who walked across the country, the largest in Africa. And then Deng spent 13 years in refugee camps before being resettled in Atlanta. It's a powerful story of what he survived. There are lighter moments in the book: He and his roommates buy a tampon box because they think it's so pretty. And there are less-kind instances of American behavior in the book—Deng was held hostage in his home and robbed. I didn't know that church groups had sponsored these men. There's so much anti-immigration stuff going on in the States right now, it's heartening to see that people worked to reach out to others who are in need of what our country has to offer.

5. a tale of love and darkness - amos oz

I'm planning on directing a film of this book, which is essentially an autobiography tracing the author's own family's move from Europe to what is now Israel and the disappointment of immigration. His mother killed herself, and he's spent much of his life creating scenarios of why that happened. The process of meditating on her life makes him into a writer. The book is also about the birth of a language. He talks about his great-uncle, who was one of the architects of modern Hebrew, and how there didn't used to be a word for shirt until he created it, because Hebrew had been a biblical language. It's so interesting to think about what comes before the process of naming something—how you struggle when you don't have the words to say what you feel.

6. eating animals - jonathan safran foer

Jonathan Safran Foer's book Eating Animals changed me from a twenty-year vegetarian to a vegan activist. I've always been shy about being critical of others' choices because I hate when people do that to me. I'm often interrogated about being vegetarian (e.g., "What if you find out that carrots feel pain, too? Then what'll you eat?").

I've also been afraid to feel as if I know better than someone else -- a historically dangerous stance (I'm often reminded that "Hitler was a vegetarian, too, you know"). But this book reminded me that some things are just wrong. Perhaps others disagree with me that animals have personalities, but the highly documented torture of animals is unacceptable, and the human cost Foer describes in his book, of which I was previously unaware, is universally compelling.

The human cost of factory farming -- both the compromised welfare of slaughterhouse workers and, even more, the environmental effects of the mass production of animals -- is staggering. Foer details the copious amounts of pig shit sprayed into the air that result in great spikes in human respiratory ailments, the development of new bacterial strains due to overuse of antibiotics on farmed animals, and the origins of the swine flu epidemic, whose story has gripped the nation, in factory farms.

I read the chapter on animal shit aloud to two friends -- one is from Iowa and has asthma and the other is a North Carolinian who couldn't eat fish from her local river because animal waste had been dumped in it as described in the book. They had never truly thought about the connection between their environmental conditions and their food. The story of the mass farming of animals had more impact on them when they realized it had ruined their own backyards.

But what Foer most bravely details is how eating animal pollutes not only our backyards, but also our beliefs. He reminds us that our food is symbolic of what we believe in, and that eating is how we demonstrate to ourselves and to others our beliefs: Catholics take communion -- in which food and drink represent body and blood. Jews use salty water on Passover to remind them of the slaves' bitter tears. And on Thanksgiving, Americans use succotash and slaughter to tell our own creation myth -- how the Pilgrims learned from Native Americans to harvest this land and make it their own.

And as we use food to impart our beliefs to our children, the point from which Foer lifts off, what stories do we want to tell our children through their food?

I remember in college, a professor asked our class to consider what our grandchildren would look back on as being backward behavior or thinking in our generation, the way we are shocked by the kind of misogyny, racism, and sexism we know was commonplace in our grandparents' world. He urged us to use this principle to examine the behaviors in our lives and our societies that we should be a part of changing. Factory farming of animals will be one of the things we look back on as a relic of a less-evolved age.

I say that Foer's ethical charge against animal eating is brave because not only is it unpopular, it has also been characterized as unmanly, inconsiderate, and juvenile. But he reminds us that being a man, and a human, takes more thought than just "This is tasty, and that's why I do it." He posits that consideration, as promoted by Michael Pollan in The Omnivore's Dilemma, which has more to do with being polite to your tablemates than sticking to your own ideals, would be absurd if applied to any other belief (e.g., I don't believe in rape, but if it's what it takes to please my dinner hosts, then so be it).

But Foer makes his most impactful gesture as a peacemaker, when he unites the two sides of the animal eating debate in their reasoning. Both sides argue: We are not them. Those who refrain from eating animals argue: We don't have to go through what they go through -- we are not them. We are capable of making distinctions between what to eat and what not to eat (Americans eat cow but not dog, Hindus eat chicken but not cow, etc.). We are capable of considering others' minds and others' pain. We are not them. Whereas those who justify eating animals say the same thing: We are not them. They do not merit the same value of being as us. They are not us.

And so Foer shows us, through Eating Animals, that we are all thinking along the same lines: We are not them. But, he urges, how will we define who we are?

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Books Of The Week...

Here are my [four, yes FOUR!] recommendations for book of the week.... they were all just too good - read them, comment, and tell me what you think! And yes, I am aware that many of my choices are being currently remade for film/tv/theatre picks but there's a reason behind this - it's usually because these gems of literature are just too good to pass up!

1. small island - andrea levy
Small Island is an epic love story about the determined pursuit of dreams in the face of seemingly insurmountable barriers.
Set against the backdrop of the Second World War in a time when landlords would put up signs that read "No Irish, no coloureds, no dogs", Small Island follows the interlocking lives of Londoner Queenie , the young Jamaican couple who become her lodgers, Gilbert and Hortense, Queenie's husband Bernard and the mysterious and handsome Michael.
From the heat and hustle of life in Forties Jamaica through to the devastation of London in the Blitz, Small Island is an ambitious yet personal tale, which deftly touches on the weighty themes of empire, prejudice and war with a gentle touch and a warm, uplifting generosity of spirit.

exclusive questions and answers with author andrea levy:

What was the inspiration for the book?
The arrival of the ship Empire Windrush in 1948 with nearly 500 Caribbean migrants on board, seems to have become a marker for modern Britain's multicultural beginnings. My dad was on that ship, one of the 'pioneers'. That's what first inspired me to write Small Island. I wanted to explore my parents' experiences when they first came to this country from Jamaica, and what it meant to the people they came to live amongst.

How closely does it mirror your family's experience?
My research for the book began with chatting to my mum. From there I read lots of books, talked to my mother-in-law, interviewed men who had been in the services during the Second World War, etc. Some of my family's experiences certainly appear in the book, but other material was gleaned from sources outside the family.

What do you think appealed most to people?
The book tells a familiar story but from a different perspective. It's a tale of human endeavour, endurance, pain, triumph and, most of all, love.

Did the characters' experience resonate with many of your audience?
I have received many letters from people kindly telling me how the book resonated with them. And all kinds of people, too – young, old, black, white, male and female. That has surprised me the most – the breadth of people who have responded as if this was their story, too.

2. le misanthrope [the misanthrope] - moliere

This work centers on the protagonist Alceste, whose wholesale rejection of his culture's polite social conventions make him tremendously unpopular. In the first act of the play, he states: “…Mankind has grown so base, / I mean to break with the whole human race”. However, this conviction manifests itself in the primary conflict of the play, which consists of Alceste's intense love for Célimène, a flirtatious young woman who pays great attention to social appearances and conventions. Alceste's determination to reject society and its supposed dishonesty is countered by his desire to share a life with Célimène, whose actions oppose all that he stands for. Alceste has other women pining for him, such as the moralistic Arsinoé and the honest Eliante. Yet his preference lies in Célimène. His deep feelings for the latter primarily serve to counter his negative expressions about mankind, since the fact that he has such feelings includes him amongst those he so fiercely criticizes. Judging by his bold assertions, the reader may initially take him for a strong, deliberate man who will let nothing stand in his way of implementing his decision. But his reaction to Celimene’s treatment of him reveals his inherent frailty, and the reader learns that he may wish to leave mankind behind, but mankind will not leave him so easily. The plot then thickens to involve a court justice that results from Alceste's refusal to praise Oronte's paltry love poem. Alceste typically refuses to dole out false compliments, and this practice lands him in court. Some of the most memorable parts of the play are the constant plays on words and the humorous jibes at society and its rules. Acaste and Clitandre are the comedic people for this show. They love to gossip with Celimene. Philinte represents a foil for Alceste's moral extremism, and speaks throughout the first act of the play on the necessity of self-censorship and polite flattery to smooth over the rougher textures of a complex society. Alceste, on the other hand, believes that people should be completely honest and should not put on pretenses just to be considered polite in society. Eventually, Alceste's inability to cope with society and its inescapable affectations causes him to forsake Célimène. He tells Célimène that he will forgive her and marry her if she runs away with him to exile, but she refuses because she believes that she is too young and beautiful to leave society and all her suitors behind. Philinte, for his part, marries Eliante and the pair receives Alceste's blessing.

Damien Lewis and Keira Knightley take on the two central leads [Alceste] and [Celimene/Jennifer] at the Comedy Theatre, starting this month until March '10.

3. conversations with god; book 1; an uncommon dialogue - neale donald walsch

Walsch described the inception of the books as follows: at a low period in his life, Walsch wrote an angry letter to God asking questions about why his life wasn't working. After writing down all of his questions, he heard a voice over his right shoulder say: "Do you really want an answer to all these questions or are you just venting?" Though when he turned around he saw no one there, Walsch felt answers to his questions filling his mind and decided to write them down. The ensuing dialogue became the Conversations with God books.
Even if you're not religious, it is an refreshingly good read, and answers many questions with a sincerity that is incredibly heart warming. britney spears and nikki reed have also read the books, and if you're a fan of celeb trivia like me, these things are good to know :-)

4. the second sex - simone de beauvoir
the second sex is one of the most renonwed works of feminist literature, and in it, simone breaks down why women are 'women.' essential for tracking how far we have come as women in a predominantly male society, and helps to define what women really are all about. an awesome read.

The image of him is everywhere I look, and impossible to escape from. I thought I would be in extreme pain, but all I feel is nothing.
I looked up slowly. "I'd like some more nothing." I said, without any emotion in my voice and held my glass out expectantly, waiting for it to be refilled as I stared down at the carpet beneath me. Jude looked at me, and filled my glass up again with vodka, before quietly putting the half empty bottle back down on the floor between us, my legs crossed underneath me. Jude sat quietly, waiting for me to speak as the atmosphere filled with silence.
"I should have known all along.... it was all just too good to be true."
"Have you had any contact with him since? Has he tried to phone you, give you some clue as to why..." Jude started to babble to make up for the overwhelming silence but soon trailed off as I looked up from under my lashes and gave him a cold, blank stare.
"You're his best friend, Jude. If he could talk to anyone about all of this, he'd talk to you." I said, not looking at him.
It was now the evening after the dinner party, and I hadn't been able to move throughout the afternoon. Jude had stayed with me and made sure I got in the shower, changed my clothes, even forced me to eat something, which I flatly refused to do. My mind had been working on overdrive thinking about what had actually happened, whether it had been an actual reality or a dream, and why Daniel had left me with nothing but a cryptic clue which did nothing but contradict his actions.
I was covered up with a blanket, and wore black leggings and a black oversized Ramones T-shirt that I had had ever since I was a teenager. The first thing I had reached for that morning was one of Daniel's many large shirts which I wore around the house all the time, but this would only make the throbbing pain of losing him flare up all over again; a rekindled flame that would only grow bigger and bigger, and prove difficult to fully extinguish.
"What did he mean...... stay away from Sonja...." Jude started again, and I could only hope and pray he would take the hint that his efforts were being wasted on me, but I no longer had the energy to speak.
"I..... I.... need to get out of here.... I need to clear my head. I'm going to go for a walk. Thanks.... for everything." I said to Jude, as I started to get up and slowly start to compose myself so I could brave the elements outside. Jude slowly got up and stood still in front of me. He gave me a smile full of sympathy and nodded his head slowly. He walked away from me and out into the hallway. I followed him, and reached for my trench coat and a scarf which I wrapped around me absent-mindedly. We walked towards the door together, before Jude stopped in his tracks and turned and looked at me.
"Are you sure I can't drop you anywhere.... we could go to get something to eat... coffee maybe? I'm not sure you should be on your own."
"I haven't been on my own. You've been here all this time, watching me slowly combust with alcohol, but right now, I just need to be on my own. I could use the fresh air."
"Sure." Jude said, putting a hand on my shoulder. As his hands landed on my skin, I closed my eyes and breathed in. Somehow, I wanted to take comfort, reassurance, and optimism from this small show of comfort. When I breathed out and opened my eyes to see Jude again, I realised that he had made me feel a lot better, more than I had given him credit for. I gave him a small smile as we both walked through the doorframe, closing the door hard behind me. Jude walked back towards his car and I watched him for a matter of seconds before I turned away from him and walked in the other direction.
I looked up and could see the dark clouds rolling in as the sky began to slowly change from blue to grey, and before long, I could feel small droplets of rain start to fall lightly around me and on my face. I looked down to find that my boots were far from waterproof, but somehow I could feel myself in the mood for a challenge, and wondered exactly for how long and for how far I could weather the upcoming storm and its elements before I had had enough. With everything that had happened, I needed something simple, effective, and uncomplicated to focus my energy on.
I wrapped my trench tighter around me and started to walk faster. I walked past gramercy park, bryant park, and through the meatpacking district to get to one of my favourite places in the world - a favourite place of mine from childhood that I shared with my brother Darren - Phoenix Point was always the first place I went to when I needed to escape, find relief, hide away from the world, relax, or when I needed somewhere to think - it had always been one of those places where if something was bothering me, looking out at the view and the scenery of the rest of the city would always help to lighten my load.
Fast forward 30 minutes, and I'm there, staring out at the skyline in front of me, when I realize someone has interrupted my precious moments of time up here, alone.
I turn around, infuriating, not being able to understand why this city never sleeps and allows me some time alone, I look around, only to find Daniel staring back at me, unmoving, and perfectly still.
My heart skips and my mind starts to race, and I quickly remember that I need to breathe. Quick gasps of air escape my throat and I can only imagine that he is here to taunt me, to remind me what I can't have.
"What are you doing here?" I say to him slowly. "How did you find me?"
"I just thought you would need some time to think.... and I imagined you'd be here. I had to find you. I just wanted to see you. Now that I know you're OK, I can leave now..." Daniel said, his eyes avoiding mine.
He turned away from me, but something inside of me snapped. I ran towards him and grabbed him by the arm, using all of the strength inside me to turn his body back towards mine, and whether he wanted to look at me, to face me or not, I didn't care. I didn't care what he wanted, I wanted him, a small part of me had always wanted him, even when the damage like now, seemed irreperable.
"Look at me....." I said, searching for any emotion in his face, which he struggled to keep blank.
We faced each other now, stony and silent in our expressions and body language.
"You came to find me for a reason. Why have you come back?" I said, wanting to know the truth.
"I don't love Sonja. I never have, and I never will. What I said to you that night was true. You need to stay away from Sonja. But I can't stay away from you. I can't leave while you stay here alone."
"What are you saying Daniel?"
"Sonja called me the night of the party and said that if I didn't break up with you for good, she would kill you. She promised that she would, and having seen the look in her eyes, I believed her. I had to say anything I could think of to break up with you, and you're pretty gullible, and I'm a good liar when I want to be, so it wasn't difficult. But we need to get away. Its been killing me, not being able to be with you. But we need to leave. I don't know if we can come back.


Saturday, 5 December 2009

sweet little lies...

If you picked up 'LA Candy' last year from Lauren Conrad, you might be interested to know what happens next as her bittersweet saga continues in her Sophomore effort 'Sweet Little Lies'. Well, today is your lucky day, as TBAE has an exclusive excerpt just for you:


Just before 9 a.m. on Monday morning, Jane pulled into her usual parking spot behind Fiona Chen's building. She turned off the engine and carefully searched the entire lot through the window. Good—no photographers. She’d had to fend off two of them outside the apartment earlier. They were so obnoxious, shouting questions at her about Braden and Jesse—"Jane, why did Braden move to New York?" "Jane, what do you think of Jesse's new girlfriend?"—and snapping picture after picture of her while she gritted her teeth and tried to ignore them. She hadn't heard anything about Braden going to New York or Jesse having a new girlfriend. But she knew better than to talk to paparazzi.

Still . . . the thought of Braden and Jesse moving on without her, and so quickly, made her heart feel heavy. Neither had tried to contact her since the Gossip story broke. Obviously she hadn't tried to contact them, either. She knew she had to at some point. She owed Braden an apology—for hooking up with him when she was so mixed-up about everything, and for inadvertently getting him involved in this whole mess. And she owed Jesse an even bigger apology. She had no idea how she could possibly make things right after cheating on him, and in front of the whole world, too.

There was one guy she didn't owe anything—and he seemed to have no problem getting in touch with her: Caleb had texted her yesterday, from Vail—something about the awesome powder, and did she remember when they went to Tahoe during her senior year, and she wiped out on her new snowboard, like, twenty times? A few minutes later, he had texted her a photo of her lying in a pile of snow and laughing hysterically. Jane had no idea why he was sending her this stuff. It was nice that he was thinking about her. But confusing. And she didn't need "confusing" right now, on top of everything else.

Riding up to her office in the crowded elevator, Jane felt butterflies in her stomach. And not the good kind. She hadn't been to work in over a week, and she was really nervous about facing Fiona. She had sent her boss a quick email yesterday, saying that she would be back in the office on Monday. Fiona had responded right away, writing simply: SEE YOU TOMORROW AT 9 SHARP.

So what was in store for Jane at 9 sharp? A furious Fiona waiting with a long lecture? A pink slip, telling her that she had two weeks to find new employment? Maybe one followed by the other. Can't wait. To make things worse, the L.A. Candy cameras were up there already, prepared to shoot Jane's return to work. When Trevor had called Jane yesterday, Jane had felt compelled to pick up after ignoring him for so long. He asked her if it would be okay for them to shoot her at work the following day. After going MIA on him, what could she say but yes?

Much to her surprise, Trevor had been really sweet on the phone and didn't sound angry at all about the Gossip thing or her disappearing to Cabo. Which was weird, since he'd sounded so stressed in his messages. He told her that he was happy she was back, and that everything was going to be fine. He said that he'd been thinking about how to present "recent events" on the show, and thought her story line should be that she had cheated on Jesse (without naming Braden, of course), and that she wasn’t sure who had spilled the news to Jesse. Maybe she could confess to someone, like her coworker and friend Hannah Stratton, that she felt really bad about the whole thing. It would be Jane's opportunity to tell her side of the story. He promised her that after people saw her side, everything would be better. And that was that. Trevor added that he would talk to each of the girls—Madison, Gaby, Scarlett, and Hannah—to clue them in on his ideas.

Jane was relieved that Trevor was being so nice about everything. At the same time, she wasn't sure how she felt about his interpretation of "recent events." Trevor's story line wasn't exactly accurate. On the other hand, it sounded a lot more PG—and more protective of Braden’s privacy—than what had really happened.

Jane also didn’t like the idea of Trevor talking to Hannah about his ideas. Hannah wasn’t one of the main girls on the show—just someone who was lucky or unlucky (depending on your perspective) enough to have a desk across from Jane, which meant that she was almost always shot as part of the office “scenes.” Hannah wasn’t used to dealing with Trevor and Dana. Couldn’t he leave her out of this?

Trevor had also emailed Jane some short scripts he wanted her to record later that day, at the recording studio. They were the voice-overs that Jane always narrated for the show, recapping previous episodes for each new episode. Months ago, before the series premiere, Dana had told Jane that she had been chosen for the voice-overs because she was thought to be the most relatable of the four girls. Whatever that meant.

Jane pulled out her blackberry, opened the e-mail and glanced over the lines briefly as several people got out on the fourth floor. (The elevator was moving soooo slowly today—and Jane didn’t want to be late on her first day back.) One of the lines caught her attention: Last week at the gym, Scarlett and Gaby met a couple of cute guys from Texas. Will there be a double date in their future?

What? Scar and Gaby were going to the gym together now? Scar couldn’t stand Gaby, or at least, that was what she had always claimed. Jane couldn’t picture Scar and Gaby working out together—much less going out on a double date together. Had the world turned upside down while she was in Cabo?

The elevator doors finally opened on the fifth floor, and Jane stepped out. She was disoriented for a moment when she saw that the waiting area—usually so peaceful, with its dark gold walls, soft lighting, and miniature Zen garden complete with trickling waterfall—had been overrun by the PopTV crew. A couple of guys were running around with equipment, while Dana and Matt, one of the directors, were having a conversation by the receptionist’s desk.

Dana snapped to attention when she saw Jane. “Good morning, Jane! Hope you had a great Christmas. Not to rush you, but we gotta get a mike on you right away.”

“Not to rush you”? “Good morning”? Had someone slipped a Prozac into Dana’s morning coffee?

“Fiona’s all ready for you in her office,” Matt added. Matt was a nice guy, even though Jane had been confused by his presence the first time they met. After all, L.A. Candy was a reality show. Why was a director necessary? Like someone had to “direct” her getting a cup of coffee or chatting with her friends? Jane had quickly figured out that he was there to direct the shots, not the girls. His job was to watch all the cameras at the same time on his portable screen and make sure they got the necessary footage.

Matt frowned into his headset. “Or . . . not. What, Ramon?” he said to the person on the other end. “Well, fine. Let me know when she’s done with hair and makeup.” Jane knew that Fiona called in her own hair and makeup stylist on shooting days. The boss lady pretended not to care about things like her TV image, but she did.

One of the crew members came over and handed Jane a small silver microphone attached to a wire. “You wearing a bra under that?” he asked, nodding at her pale blue halter dress. That question used to make Jane blush. But she was used to it by now.

“No, it’s got, like, this built-in bra. But I can tape it onto the dress.”

“Great. You know the drill.”

As Jane worked on the mike (it created a little humpback under her dress, which she covered with her hair), she saw the receptionist out of the corner of her eye giving her a little wave. Naomi was petite, blond, stylish, and whispered most of the time, not because she was naturally soft-spoken but because she was terrified of Fiona and took her philosophy of keeping a calm, tranquil atmosphere very literally. Which was pretty hilarious, given the chaos Jane and the PopTV crew brought to the office. Jane waved back. It was nice to see a friendly face.

“Okay, Fiona’s ready for you now,” Matt called out to Jane. “Let’s get a quick shot of you coming out of the elevators and saying hi to Natalie.”

“Naomi,” Naomi whispered.

“What?” Matt frowned.

“Her name’s Naomi,” Jane said helpfully.

“Naomi. And then Naomi will tell you that Fiona wants to see you, and you’ll head on back,” Matt went on. After shooting the exciting scene for twenty minutes—they had to let several crowded elevators go by, and then a FedEx delivery guy wandered into the frame, requiring a retake—Jane was ready to go face Fiona. Well, readyish.

Fiona sat behind her desk, busily typing on her computer. Two camera guys were in opposite corners of the room, filming. Forty-something and striking, Fiona was wearing one of her trademark all-black ensembles. Her freshly done hair and makeup looked lovely, especially with the help of the muted lighting, which Jane knew had taken the crew about two hours to achieve. They always had to go through this when filming in Fiona’s office. The fact that she insisted they leave her office exactly the way they found it meant they couldn’t leave the enormous lights in there and had to bring them in and out every time they filmed. “Good morning, Fiona,” Jane said with a nervous smile.

Fiona stopped typing and glanced up. “Good morning, Jane,” she said simply, nodding toward the chair on the opposite side of her desk.

Jane sat down on one of Fiona’s prized Eames chairs, set her bag on the floor, and waited. She mentally braced herself for the worst: Your behavior has disgraced this entire company! You’ve made one mistake too many! You’re fired! You’re—

“I have a new assignment for you,” Fiona announced. “Crazy Girl has hired us to do a Valentine’s Day party to launch their new drink flavor. I’m putting you in charge of it, and Hannah will be helping out. Ruby Slipper will be doing the PR, so you and Hannah will be coordinating with Gaby Garcia.”

Jane was stunned. No chastisement from Fiona for leaving without notice? It was as though nothing had happened. It was business as usual. And a new assignment? With a major client like Crazy Girl?

Also, how was it that she was going to be working on the assignment with Gaby, who happened to be on L.A. Candy, too? Had Trevor intervened somehow?

“The budget will be . . . Why aren’t you writing this all down?” Fiona demanded sharply.

“What? Oh, I’m sorry!” Flustered, Jane reached into her bag and pulled out a small notebook and pen. Despite the unanswered questions in her mind, Jane couldn’t help but feel kind of excited. Crazy Girl was a new brand of energy drink designed to appeal to a female market that might be put off by seemingly macho energy drinks like Katapult and Dragon Fuel. Even though it was new, the Crazy Girl name seemed to be all over the place. Now it would be all over a Valentine’s Day party organized by her, Jane Roberts. It was pretty amazing.

Fiona proceeded to give Jane more instructions about the assignment, while Jane took notes in her nearly illegible shorthand. When Fiona was finished, Jane said, “Great. I’m on it. I’m really excited about working on this project.”

“Crazy Girl is a very important new client for us, Jane. I need your full attention here.”


“I haven’t had a chance to discuss this with Hannah, so please fill her in.”

“No problem.”

As Jane put her notebook away, she remembered something. “Isn’t . . . didn’t we have another party scheduled for Valentine’s Day? Anna Payne’s wedding or recommitment ceremony or something?”

“Recommitment ceremony. And no, that’s been canceled. She and her husband split up.”

“Really? What happened?”

“Apparently she cheated on him with his best friend while he was in rehab.”

Jane felt heat rising to her cheeks. “Okay, well, um . . . is there anything else?”

“No, that will be all,” Fiona said without looking up from her computer screen.

As the camera guys started to move their equipment to film in her and Hannah’s office, Jane gathered her stuff and stood up. And sat back down again. She had a few minutes between scenes, and she had something she wanted to say to Fiona off-camera. She waited as the room slowly emptied.

“Um, Fiona?”

“Yes?” Fiona picked up her cell and began punching in a number.

“I’m . . . well, I wanted to apologize. For everything that happened, and for disappearing last week. It was really unprofessional of me, and I’m really, really sorry.”

Fiona stared at Jane, then clicked her phone shut. Her dark eyes softened. “Apology accepted,” she said gently. “You’ve been through a lot. I’m sure it hasn’t been easy for you. But you’re a strong, smart girl, and you’ll survive this. I have faith in you.”

Jane blinked. Had Fiona, the world’s scariest boss (in Jane’s opinion, anyway), just decided to be human?

“Thank you,” Jane gushed. “Thank you so much, it’s really nice of you to—”

“Yes. Well, sorry, but I’ve got to take this,” Fiona cut in as she brought her phone to her ear. Her voice was hard again.

Jane scrambled to her feet. She’d better get out of there before Fiona decided not to be so understanding, after all. No point in pushing her luck!

“I’m so glad you’re back. Things haven’t been the same without you,” Hannah said. She hooked a long strand of honey-blond hair over her ear. “Did you have a good Christmas?”

“Yeah, it was nice to see my parents and my sisters,” Jane said. She glanced briefly at the two camera guys filming in the corners, then at the top of her desk, which was cluttered as always with files, fabric swatches, and magazine clippings. There was a vase of frilly peach tulips next to her Mac. “Where’d these come from?”

“Oh, I picked them up on my way in. I thought they’d cheer you up.”

“Wow. That was really sweet. Thank you!”

“You’re welcome!”

Jane smiled at Hannah. Hannah had started working at Fiona Chen Events shortly after Jane. She was one of the nicest people Jane had met in L.A., and she was a good listener, too. In fact, Jane used to confide in her a lot about Jesse—not just because of her listening skills but because she was one of Jane’s only friends who actually liked Jesse. Madison, Gaby, Scar (especially Scar), and even Braden had all advised her to stay far away from him because he was trouble. Hannah was the only person who had encouraged Jane to follow her heart. And back then, before everything blew up, Jane’s heart had told her that she was falling for Jesse. That they belonged together.

“So we’re gonna be working on the Crazy Girl party together,” Jane said. “It’s gonna be amazing.” “Definitely,” Hannah agreed.

“We need to go over some details, then set up a meeting with Ruby Slipper.”

“Yes! Anytime is fine with me. My schedule’s pretty clear.” Hannah peered at her computer monitor. That girl was always on IM at work.

Jane felt her phone vibrating and fished it out of her bag. It was a text from Dana.


Jane ignored the text and shoved the phone back into her bag. Guess that’s confirmed, she thought. Trevor had obviously intervened, convincing Fiona to pair Jane and Gaby up for the Crazy Girl party. The PopTV cameras would be all over their entire event-planning process from beginning to end.

“Soooo. Have you, um, talked to Jesse lately?” Hannah asked, breaking the silence of the room.

Jane shook her head. “No. I’ve been meaning to call him, but . . .” Her voice trailed off.

“You really should call him,” Hannah told her. “I’m sure he wants to talk to you.”

“I’m pretty sure he doesn’t,” Jane said. “I don’t think he’ll ever forgive me.”

“You made a mistake. Everyone makes mistakes.”

“Yeah, well, this wasn’t just a mistake. I really screwed up, Hannah.”

Then, before Jane knew what was happening, her eyes welled with tears. She wiped a tear off her cheek. “I really screwed up,” she repeated, whispering.

Hannah got up from her desk and hurried over to Jane. She wrapped her arms around Jane’s shoulders and gave her a big hug. “We all screw up once in a while,” she said. “Call Jesse. Apologize to him. You’re gonna feel so much better if you do.”

“I’ll think about it,” Jane said, wiping away another tear.

Jane remembered then that the cameras were still rolling. She had just confessed to Hannah on-camera how bad she felt about cheating on Jesse. This was what Trevor had told her to do when they spoke on the phone last night, wasn’t it? Did that mean he’d put those words into her mouth? No, they were her words. So why did she feel a strange sense of . . . what? Being directed somehow? And had Trevor directed Hannah, too? No, that’s crazy, she told herself. Trevor’s suggestions were no different from Dana’s text-messaged requests. They were simply meant to help shape the girls’ conversations while they were on-camera. To make things more interesting for TV. After all, they couldn’t just sit there and talk about nothing, right?


For more from "Sweet Little Lies", make sure to get it when it gets its release date in the UK, as well as a special edition of "LA Candy" in Paperback, with behind the scenes information, photos, and twitter extras.

P.S Lauren's Favourite Book is The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald - Again, a classic and a must read so go pick it up!!

mellow music [monday]

hello everyone....
although its not monday yet.... i wanted to introduce every week [whilst i'm constantly tied up with rewrites and job hunting] what i'm listening to for inspiration and happy mellow moods.......
so here we go....... [big drum roll please........]

norah jones - the fall
miss jones returns with her fantastic new album 'the fall' and her new sounds don't disappoint one little bit, reminding us all of why we fell in love with her sultry, soulful sound in the first place. standout tracks are brand new single 'chasing pirates' where she takes some inspiration from pirates of the caribbean and johnny depp [sporting a 'johnny forever' on her arm in the video] other tracks include 'you've ruined me now' and especially 'waiting' are particular favourites of mine.... listen to it on spotify!

Chasing Pirates

Norah Jones | MySpace Music Videos

colbie caillat - colbie coillat is one of those rare talents that on the odd occasion, manages to fly undetected under the radar before making their mark. colbie's probably best known so far for her track 'breathe' where she collaborated with country singer taylor swift. her new album 'breakthrough' is full of get happy melodic sounds that is reminiscient of a long, lazy summer day. stand out track is 'fallin' for you' and 'lucky' where she collaborates with the awesome jason mraz. other significant tracks are 'bubbly' and 'realize' which was featured on the hills during a lauren conrad /stephen colletti segment from her 2007 album 'coco.'

Fallin For You - Colbie Caillat

Carmen | MySpace Video

3. marie digby - marie digby has been around for ages and has been a huge hit on youtube for a long time since her awesome acoustic cover of Rihanna's 'Umbrella'. since releasing her debut album 'unfold' on which her standout track 'beauty in walking away' is a must hear, she has gone on to release her sophomore album 'breathing underwater' which includes the singles 'avalanche' and 'feel.'

4. tamar kaprelian - OK, so i did watch the hills finale to discover this particular singer/songwriter but that doesn't make her lame by any standard. Her single 'new day' is pretty cool, both through the mix of the melody and her voice, as well as acoustically. I'm going to borrow the video below from my friend fiona who put the video up on her own blog a couple days ago - [sorry - it's just too good a video to pass up - but if you want to see more of fiona's musical musings, head over that way http://www.acousticdreamshardcorescreams.blogspot.com

5. Bon Iver - Bon Iver has become a bit of a favourite mellow choice for me. Since he blew me away with his track 'woods' which is featured in the gritty teen E4 drama 'skins', he's also teamed up with St Vincent to write and produce the fabulous 'roslyn' track for the twilight saga: new moon soundtrack. can he get any more cooler? I highly doubt that. Plus, he looks quite clever and intellectual and someone you could just sit for hours and have a good conversation with. I'd want to be his friend.

6. Lykke Li - 'little bit' is an absolutely awesome track. please spotify it or 'toob it and see if you don't fall in love with it. their track for new moon 'possibility' was also good, but it somehow doesn't quite manage to live up to this track. cool and understated, and ever so cute!

7. john mayer - continnum - the two songs i love on this particular album is 'i don't trust myself [with loving you] and 'say.' on his recent album, he also teams up with miss taylor swift to do a
song called 'half of my heart' on his new album 'battle studies'.

Sunday, 29 November 2009

books of the week...

hello all!
my books of the week are the following:

breakfast at tiffany's - truman capote

capote's novella takes place during one year in the life of holiday 'holly' golightly and an unnamed narrator. The two are both tenants in an manhattan apartment on the upper east side. holly golightly (age 19-20) is a Texas-born country hick turned New York café society girl, who makes her living coaxing dollars off of rich, older gentlemen. The narrator, who lives in the flat above her, is an aspiring writer. Golightly, who likes to stun people with carefully selected tidbits from her personal life or her outspoken viewpoint on various topics, slowly reveals herself to the narrator. In the end, however, Golightly fears that she will never know what is really hers until after she has thrown it away; she subsequently abandons her friend to seek her ever elusive goal of finding both riches and a place to call home.
'breakfast at tiffanys' was made into a film starring audrey hepburn, george peppard, and patricia neal, being most notable for the reference to tiffany's the jewellers, hepburn herself, and her signature style which was in most part down to the dresses exclusively designed for her by hubert de givenchy. in the film, hepburn portrays holly as a brunette, whilst capote seems to refer to holly in his novella as blonde, and throughout the book, holly seems to be portrayed as a lot more darker and with many more demons than in the feature film version, being fashionably thin and existing on a diet solely consisting of nothing more than cottage cheese.

anna friel and joseph cross currently star in the adaptation of breakfast at tiffany's at theatre royal haymarket [which hopefully i can get tickets to go and see before january :-)]

2. where the wild things are - maurice sendak
i have yet to read this book, but this children's book is one of the best loved children's stories of all time, and with good reason, especially if the outstanding trailer is anything to go by.
The book tells the story of Max, who one evening plays around his home, "making mischief" in a wolf costume. As punishment, his mother sends him to bed without supper. In his room, a mysterious, wild forest and sea grows out of his imagination, and Max sails to the land of the Wild Things. The Wild Things are fearsome-looking monsters, but Max conquers them "by staring into their yellow eyes without blinking once", and he is made "the King of all Wild Things", dancing with the monsters in a "wild rumpus". He soon finds himself lonely and homesick, and he returns home to his bedroom, where he finds his supper waiting for him, still hot.

spike jonze, the director of 'where the wild things are' also co-wrote the film with author dave eggers, whose new book 'the wild things' is based on 'where the wild things are'.

Seven-year-old Max likes to make noise, get dirty, ride his bike without a helmet and howl like a wolf. In any other era, he would be considered a boy. In 2007, he is considered willful and deranged. His home life is problematic. His parents are divorced; his father, immature and romantic, lives in the city. His mother has taken up with a younger man who steals quarters from the change bowl in the foyer. Driven by a series of pressures internal and external, Max leaves home, jumps in a boat and sails across the ocean to a strange island where giant beasts reign. The "Wild Things" is from Maurice Sendak's visionary classic. This is an all-ages adventure, full of wit and soul, that explores the chaos of youth while Max explores the chaos of the world around him.

stephenie speaks...

In celebration of the release of the twilight saga: new moon [which i have now seen, will see again numerous times, will buy the t-shirts and the special ed dvds and cannot stress how amazing the film is], stephenie meyer has answered some fan questions in regards to writing the twilight saga and her views on the film, the cast, the soundtrack, her inspirations, and much more. the interview is really interesting and gives a first hand glance into stephenie's own way of writing. enjoy!

What was your favorite thing about Chris Weitz and how was his interpretation of the books different from Catherine Hardwicke? - Mira N.

My favorite thing about Chris Weitz: everything. Sounds hyperbole-ish, but he's really that amazing. If you follow along on some of the cast interviews you'll hear the same thing over and over. We all adore Chris. I would have to say that my very favorite thing about Chris as a director, coming from my unique position, is his passion for being true to the source material. He really immersed himself in the Twilight world and came to the set with the feel of it already in his head. We were very much on the same page. Second thing, he listens really well—to everybody, cast and crew.

In comparing New Moon to Twilight, I would say that the biggest difference in style is that Chris is more classic while Catherine is a little more edgy and modern. I wouldn't want both movies to be the same, though. I like seeing different interpretations. After all, no two people see the same thing when they read a novel. I enjoy seeing that visually.

After seeing Twilight the movie you mentioned that you wish you had thought of Bella catching a glimpse of Edward watching her sleep and thinking it was only a dream. Are there any new moments in the New Moon movie that you thought...I wish I had thought of that? Miss having you around the fandom, Nicole B. (Cocoa) Crestwood, KY

Hey Cocoa! I miss you guys, too! Hope you're well!

New Moon stays closer to the novel, so there aren't a lot of scenes that aren't closely related to the book. I am a little sad that my action movie—Crosshairs—is so generically titled. I like the name of the action movie they used for the film (they couldn't use Crosshairs because there is a movie named Crosshairs somewhere out there). It makes me laugh every time Kristen says it.

Also (and I don't consider this a spoiler because you've seen the trailers) there is a bit of a fight sequence in the Volturi tower now that isn't there in the book. At first, I had some resistance to this idea because in my mythology, if you start a fight with the Volturi, your story ends right there. It would have been kind of a bummer to have Edward, Bella, and Alice slaughtered in Volterra and no happy reunion scene (and no Eclipse or Breaking Dawn). But I worked with Melissa Rosenberg (the screen writer) and Summit until we came up with a solution that made sense with the story but also gave them the visual action they needed. And now that it's all put together and beautiful, I love it and kind of wish Felix had gotten his moment in the book.

Hi Stephenie! Texas LOVES you!!! In staying true to the novel, I'd like to know if there were any scenes missing from the original screenplay that you insisted be in the movie?? Thank you SOOO much!!!! -Trinity in Fort Worth

Sort of. In the original screenplay, Jacob's visit to Bella's room that one night didn't exist. The necessary information was still there, it was just scattered through a few other scenes. I really missed that scene, but change (and cutting!) is a part of the adaptation process—especially when you write really long books—so I was prepared to suck it up. And then Chris Weitz felt like we needed that scene, too, and he wrote up a beautiful version I love. And we all lived happily ever after.

I'm curious about whether or not you would have liked to write the screenplay for New Moon or any of the movies? Melissa has done great so far, but do you think the movies would have been any different if you hand a bigger hand in the screenplay? - Colleen

I don't think I'd be any good at adapting my own books. As you can tell, I like to write long stories. I do actually cut a lot in the editing process (Twilight was ten thousand words longer in the rough draft form), and what stays all feels absolutely vital to me. I just can't look at it objectively. I think I'd be better at adaption if I had some distance from the work. So yes, the movies would be different if I'd written the screenplay—they would be six hours long, which might sound great to some people, but as such they never would have been made.

Hi Stephenie - What is your favourite scene in New Moon the movie? - Laure

I can't really choose just one. I love so many things. Bella's and Edward's first conversation in the parking lot...the painting...Jessica's monologue...the scenes in Jacob's garage...the first time you see the werewolves!!...Jacob in Bella's room (thanks, Chris!)...the underwater moment...what you see while Thom Yorke's amazing song is playing...everything in Italy...and I could go on. It's all so good.

Hi Stephenie, I know that your writing is inspired a lot by the music you listen to, so my question is how much say did you have in the music that was picked for the movie/soundtrack? Thank you! - Marci P.

Not a ton. I had a short wish list, and I got one wish out of the four, and that's really a lot when you think about it. My answered wish: a Muse song. My wishes that were not granted: a Blue October song, a Marjorie Fair song, and a Motion City Soundtrack song. All of these artists were a big part of the New Moon writing process for me, and I would have liked to see them included, but in the end, the soundtrack is truly amazing, so I don't have any complaints.

Do you make any appearances in the New Moon movie? - Mandy, Captain of Official Team Jacob

Nope. I felt really awkward doing the first one, and I still have to cover my eyes for that part of the movie. I decided this time I didn't want to do anything like that, and it never came up, so problem averted!

What do you think about the casting of Robert Pattinson as Edward, i.e. does he look like you expected Edward to look like and does he portray the right emotions? - Carly, Captain of Official Team Edward

Initially—as in when Gillian (the producer) called me and said, "So, we're going to cast this guy, Robert Pattison. Go google him and see what you think!"—my opinion was that Rob would do a good version of Edward physically. Not the Edward I see in my head, of course, but a good and interesting portrayal. There's something otherworldly about his face, I thought as I watched him in Harry Potter and checked out the pictures on line. If vampires really existed, that's the kind of face you might wonder about, right? So I was happy with Catherine Hardwicke's choice, because it's not like we were going to find someone who looked like the person in my brain.

I continued in this same opinion for a while. I met with Rob a few times and was impressed by the amount of thought that he was putting into the character (though we still don't entirely agree on who's got Edward's emotional state right—Rob contends Edward is more depressed than I think he is) and I was excited to see what his version of Edward would be like. Cut to a few weeks later, when I headed up to Portland to watch the filming. And then Catherine said action, and Rob shifted into character and my jaw dropped open.

Suffice it to say, he really nailed it. He's not playing a version of Edward, he's playing Edward. There is still quite a difference between Rob's Edward and the Edward in my head, but there are moments when they look eerily similar. I'm still not sure how he does it, but I'm glad he can. As for emotions, I think he does a great job.

Of course, a lot of the credit for this goes to Kristen as well. She contributes the other half of that Bella-Edward vibe so amazingly well. I've been on set through three movies now, and I still thank my lucky stars every day that she signed on to this franchise.

How did you come up with the Twilight character names, were they random or did you have a reason behind them? - Carly

I'm not a huge research junkie, because I'm always more into creating the fantasy than the reality, but names are one of the things I do spend some research time on. For example, for Jasper's name I searched roll calls for the confederate army in Texas. Both "Jasper" and "Whitlock" are on those lists, but not together. The name Cullen exists on seventeenth century English headstones. Other names I find by time and place of birth—I look through the most baby popular names from that year or census records from that city. Some things are more random; if I'm really stuck for a surname, I'll flip through the phone book. For Edward, I wanted a name that had once been very romantic, but had fallen out of use (See: Edward Rochester, Edward Ferrars). Bella was the hardest for me to name, because I needed a modern name but nothing seemed to encompass her personality. I tried a lot of things that didn't fit at all. In the end, having just surrendered the hope of ever having a daughter, I gave her the name I would have given one of my children if any of them had decided to be a girl.

Since many of us will not have the opportunity to visit a movie set, what part of film making was fascinating to you? Thanks again for the opportunity to ask questions! It is appreciated! Anny

The most fascinating thing about filming is probably just what a huge undertaking it is. I'm constantly stunned by the sheer number of people it takes, by the size of the sets, by the intricate planning necessary. It's surprising to me that given all the effort and expense necessary, so many movies even get made. I love the care that goes into the set design, and the amazing things they can build (like tower interiors and mountain tops). I love watching the actors make dozens of minute shifts for each take of a scene, so that the director has a variety to work with when he starts cutting it together. I love it when everything comes together just right and even on the tiny little monitor, with no music and no editing, you can see that something exceptional just happened. It's a cool process, and one I never expected to have the opportunity to be involved with.

Of course, being on set is not constant excitement by any means. It takes hours to set up for each different camera angle, and during those times, it's pretty dead. On the last set, a bunch of people learned to knit. It can be very slow.

I am curious, when you think of Edward and Bella, or read or talk about them, do you still picture the people from your dream? Or has your images of these characters changed over time, especially now after seeing your books adapted to film? Thanks! Danyeal J.

When I read the books or think about the characters in a writing scenario, I still see them they way I first did. I can still see exactly what they looked like in that first dream. When I'm reading the script, however, it's all Kristen and Rob and Taylor.

Why in the world is Edward's volvo now black in the New Moon? - Kim B.

This wasn't my call. Picky as I am about cars, if I'd been rounding up the vehicles for Twilight, they all would have been the exact makes and models I'd written about (especially that '53 Chevy!). I don't know what all is involved with choosing the cars—I know they have to be able to get their hands on several identical vehicles—but I can say that I like this Volvo—the XC90—better than the first one—the C30. In regards to the color, it's actually a dark silver, not black. And I enjoy the black rims quite a bit.

Dear Stephenie, Each director brings something different to the movie they are working on. Do you feel that by using different directors for each movie will take away from the continuity of the story? - Shannon

As I said before, I like having new styles for each story. I think it reflects, to an extent, all the millions of different versions that exist in the world—a different one for every reader. As for continuity, I think we're fine there. The actors bring the same characters into the new vision, and the backdrop of the location is consistent.

Will New Moon the movie have a lot of Edward in it or will it be like the book and he will be missing for a big chunk of it? - Patricia M.

Something I felt very strongly about was that Edward's absence was essential to keeping the feel of the movie consistent with the feel of the book. The story doesn't work without the missing hero. Chris was able to come up with a way to preserve that feeling while at the same time conveying the fact that to Bella, Edward is always present. It's more than just that Bella's audio hallucinations are now visual hallucinations; Kristen's performance revolves beautifully around that absence. Edward is absent for a "big chunk" of the movie, but he's always there, too.

What does Stephenie think about the change of Edward from an auditory to a visual hallucination? For me this was an integral part of the book in that it added to the longing for Edward. - Karen M.

I think this change is necessary for the visual format, and I also think it works really well. The longing is still there.

Dearest Stephenie, I was wondering if you had given the actors in the movie some kind of advice to get a better insight to their character in the movie. Thank you so much for everything! You're amazing! - Lucila S.

I was able to give Rob the first half of Midnight Sun to help him prepare for the first film, and I feel like that manuscript is basically a guide to Edward. Of course, Kristen gets Bella's first person perspective in all the books. I have discussed most of the characters with the actors. I'm always happy to answer any questions, and it's fun to hear some of the backstories they come up with. I know Edi Gathegi has a fairly elaborate Laurent history in his head, and many others do the same thing. I like that they get into the roles so deeply.

Is there going to be a Breaking Dawn movie? If you are not sure of that, then do you wish there is going to be one? - Jamie C.

At this point in time, we're in talks. I would love to see BD made if it could be made well. It's a little bit trickier than the others.

First, thanks for the amazing books! Now, with the question: If you could live one scene (for real) in the movie, what would it be? - Anna

I think a lot of the scenes that are exciting write or to read about or watch on the screen would be very uncomfortable to experience first hand. The ones I would want to live would be the quieter scenes. In New Moon, probably the only scenes that would actually be fun to live would be Bella's birthday up to the papercut, and the night after Italy (though that one starts out pretty emotionally painful, too). Twilight, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn all have a lot more "it would be cool to be Bella right now" moments.

I love your books, thanks for writing them. What was your favorite memory of writing new moon and filming new moon!! - Christina B.

I have a lot of favorite moments from both. In the writing, envisioning Volterra and putting Bella into that situation was very exciting. I loved spending time with Jacob's character. All the interactions with the boys in the pack made me smile. The reunion scene between Bella and Edward felt really good to write.

As for the filming process, my favorite memories are not exactly favorite scenes, because you don't entirely get a sense of the scene until you see it cut together. I loved walking into the Volturi tower for the first time. (Adding to that moment was the fact that it was also the first time I met Daniel Cudmore. Picture the scene: I'm in this huge white marble rotunda, just in awe of the sheer size and how good it all looks, when through the door walks Daniel in full costume. Six foot eight, tailored black coat, deep red eyes. Totally perfect and totally intimidating. It was great!) Another favorite memory of the filming was watching Michael Sheen work. Michael is a staggeringly talented actor. It was an education just to watch his process.

I was wondering, in the trailers for New Moon, the werewolves all have tattoos on their right arms. What does that stand for? It wasn't in the book, so I wasn't sure. - Carissa S.

Like the Cullen crest that Catherine invented for the first movie, I believe the tattoo is just a visual sign of solidarity for the pack.

Do you think Taylor Lautner does a good job of portraying Jacob's smart alec side? Taylor seems so sweet, especially in the first movie, and I like to think of Jake (esp werewolf Jake) as a tough guy with an attitude, who sometimes let his nice side slip. Thank you! Larissa

Taylor is going to surprise you. He's wonderful as the sweet kid, but even better as the angry werewolf. The kid can act.

I was wondering what made you choose Italy for the home of the Volturi? Is there a special meaning about Italy in your life or was it a random setting? Thanks :] - Kerry K.

I chose Italy because I needed a place with a really long history. Choosing Volterra itself was a strange thing. I wrote the whole Volturi scene before I'd picked a location for it. For the first time, I was planning to create a fictional city, because at this point, I was starting to realize that people were actually going to read this book, and I was nervous about what the real life citizens of Forks would think, and more especially what the real life people of La Push would think—I'd taken some rather big liberties with their fictional history, and I wasn't sure if they would find it amusing or irritating. So, to avoid similar moments of panic, I decided to set my clan of ancient ruling vampires in a made up place. I was going to call this place "Volturin," and I knew it needed to be located in Tuscany about an hour or two from Florence—I'd already written the drive from the airport. I'd also already written my descriptions of the plaza and clock tower and Volturi turret. So I pull up a map of Tuscany, trying to decide if Alice should drive north, south, east, or west, and look at that—there is a city named Volterra just about an hour from Florence. So I google image search Volterra, and the very first picture that comes up is the Volterra clock tower. Chills. I called my sister (who'd already read about my fictional Volturin) and told her to go look at Volterra. She freaked, too, because she'd pictured it the same way, too. It was actually a rather creepy moment.

After that, I gave up the idea of creating a fake city and just hoped the people of Volterra did not mind a few vampires. When I went to visit a few years back, all the people I talked to were totally fine with the vampires—what had upset them was the fountain. They don't have one, and think their square is perfect without it.

Hello Mrs.Stephenie Meyer, I adore your books. My question is where did you get the inspiration to make Jacob Black a Native American? What is the whole back-story to Jacob being Native American? I too am native American [Navajo] by the way, therefore making me curious. Thank you very much if you answer my question or not, you still bring a great story to your readers around the world. - Kristine B.

There was a bit of random chance involved with including the Quileutes, but it was also about my personal fascination with Native American history. I picked Forks first, and at that point in time the Jacob character didn't exist. But around the same time that I realized it would be out of character for Edward to be able to admit that he was a vampire, I discovered the existence of La Push and started reading about the Quileute's unique history and culture. Jacob developed really naturally from that research, as a solution to my "how does Bella find out" dilemma and also as a way to enrich the mythology. If I hadn't always been very intrigued with Native American history, though, I don't know if the proximity of La Push would have resulted in Jacob's creation.

I love that you decided to skip over describing that first week (and the following months) after the break-up between Edward and Bella. It makes it that much more gut-wrenching because you truly feel like Bella was detached from herself and the world. I was wondering if it was your initial intent to leave that void there or did you edit anything out? Did you start by writing how she felt the next morning after Sam found her? I always wonder if it was just too hard to write for you. Thank you so much for answering these questions for us. Your books (The Host, too) have changed my life. --Eden S., Vancouver, Washington

This is how the blank pages came about: I never planned to write about the time immediately after Edward left. Originally, I just skipped to the one-paragraph preface to chapter four ("Time passes..."). It felt way too abrupt that way, though. I knew I didn't want to put those four months into words, because the words would never be as good as the reader's own imagination, but I wasn't sure how to make that transition feel right. So put some blank pages into the document to separate September from January. That felt a little bit better, but the passage of time still wasn't clear. I typed in the names of the months at the top of the pages, just playing around with it, so it looked like blank journal entries, and instantly felt a sense of rightness to that format. I think I tried it out on my agent first ("What do you think about having one-word pages, Jodi?") and she liked it. Then my editor played around with the formatting, putting the month names in the center of the page in caps, and that gave them more impact. We all loved it. So it was a process and not an immediate inspiration, but now it's one of my favorite things.

I am a 39-year-old member of the Older Women's Group (OWG) on thetwilightsaga.com. My question is, what lead you to the concept of IMPRINTING — in reference to the Wolf Packs future mates? Thank you for pouring your heart and soul into this series! I can't tell you how much happiness it has brought me! Sincerely, Stephanie R. - Atlanta, GA

Imprinting was inspired by two different sources: ducklings and dragons. Imprinting actually exists in nature, but usually between parents and their offspring. I saw a nature documentary about ducklings imprinting on their moms and it always stuck with me. The other inspiration is Anne McCaffrey's dragon books (which, if you haven't read them, do so now! Start with Dragonflight). In her mythology, humans and dragons bond so tightly that if one of them dies, the other either suicides or goes mad. They love each other with an absolute and unreasoning love that never falters or changes. I was always captivated by this concept, and I wanted to explore that kind of life-changing and compulsory relationship.

While writing the books, were you ever unsure of whether Bella would choose Edward or Jacob, or did you always know she would end up with Edward in the end? - Samantha V.

I wrote New Moon and Eclipse after I wrote Forever Dawn, which is pretty much the rough draft of Breaking Dawn. So I always knew Bella's destiny was with Edward, and as her relationship with Jacob evolved and deepened through the course of the middle novels, writing about it was sometimes painful. Even knowing Jacob's eventual happy ending, it was hard to put him through all the heartbreak. I do know what would have happened if Bella hadn't jumped off the cliff that day, but I always knew that was a could-have-been that wasn't the right way to go.

Question: Lets say Bella did go to college... Later on in life what profession do you imagine for her?? - Abigail

I always imagined that Bella would someday teach. She really admired that one part of Renee's personality—Renee may be dippy, but she's a great teacher and the kids love her—and I saw her taking her love of books in that direction. She would have taught older students, though. High school or college. Maybe she still will—in night school.

Out of the entire series, to you what is the most romantic moment between Bella and Edward? Why? - twilight-fan

For me, it's always been the last two pages of Breaking Dawn. It's the culmination of so much that's happened between them, and such a happy, satisfying moment for me.

My question for you is.... are you at all surprised by the variety in age of your readers? I am 32 years old and absolutely loved your books, and I know I am not alone, in many discussion groups I have found there are 30, 40, even 50 somethings reading twilight. Thanks and keep writing! - Amy B.

Because I wrote Twilight for my twenty-nine-year-old self and not for a future YA audience, it always made sense to me that women my age would get it the same way I did. Are you ever too old to remember falling in love for the first time?

There are many of us 30+ that enjoy (well we are actually obsessed with) the entire Twilight series! Is there anything that you do to help you escape reality momentarily? - Michelle P., Oklahoma

Reading was always my favorite escape. I read a lot of fantasy; I like spending time in worlds that don't exist. However, writing is now my best escape. For me, it's more fulfilling and takes me farther away from the real world than reading does.

You have such a great taste in music. What would be your ultimate karaoke song? - Justina

This one changes a lot. Today, I'd want to sing along with Metric, probably "Sick Muse" or "Front Row."

If you had to choose, would you rather be a vampire or a werewolf? - Kaitlin T.

Werewolf. I like being able to change my mind, and the werewolves always have the option to go back to "normal."

Are you writing any other books right now? - Kershia

One of the weirdest things for me about success is how it sucks away your time. I'm successful because I write books, but that very success takes all my writing time! It's very frustrating. I'm just itching to get back into a fantasy world right now, but the real world won't let me. I thought this would be a writing year, but unless you count emails as writing, it didn't work out that way. I was able to do a few smaller things that will show up here and there—an extra chapter for the release of The Host in paperback, that kind of thing. I've really worked to clear my time, but that is a slow and ongoing process. Of course, another aspect is that I am more burned out by the last five years than I even realized.

My question: Is Stephenie Team Jacob or Team Edward? Please add that "I am a huge fan. Xoxo, Jenny"

I am Team "You Don't Have to Choose When it's Fiction."

Hi Stephenie! :) Of course, I love the Twilight saga, but I was also blown away by how beautiful and unique your other novel, The Host, was -- so I was wondering: do you have any plans for more books not related to Twilight? Thank you so much! :) Kelly <3>

I'd like to eventually have The Host be part of a trilogy. That's one of the projects I'd really like to get to in the next year or so.

To address the many, many questions about Midnight Sun:

I've found that there really isn't any answer I can give that changes the substance or tenor of the myriads of requests, pleadings, and demands I get for Midnight Sun to be finished, so I feel a little silly answering that question at all. But it's the most popular question, so I'll take another stab at it.

I am not working on Midnight Sun now. I don't have a plan for when I'll get to it; I don't know now what the right time for it will be.

In your questions, there were some erroneous conclusions about the situation which I'll try to set straight. First, Midnight Sun is not finished and locked in a safe, waiting for me to be done angsting over the leak. If it were done, I would be throwing it on the bookstore shelves myself. I'd love to be able to give it to all the people who are anxiously waiting for it. Second, I am not upset about the leak. I haven't been for a long time; I was over it after about three weeks. Third, and most important, I am not trying to punish anyone. Not the persons who leaked it, not the people who read the leak, nobody. As I said, it would make me very happy to be able to give it to anyone who wants it.

So why the hold up? Because it's not finished and lying in a safe. It's not done, and finishing it is not a simple matter of sitting down in front of my computer and typing out the words; the words have to be there in my head to type out, and right now, they're not. I have to be in the zone to write any story, and trying to force myself into that zone is a waste of time, I've found. I'll get back to Midnight Sun when the story is compelling to me again. Just because people want it so badly does not make it more write-able; kind of the opposite, actually. I need to be alone with a story to write, and Midnight Sun feels really crowded, if you know what I mean.

People write for different reasons. I have always written to make myself happy. If I'm enjoying a story, feeling the creativity flow, engrossed in a world, then I write and I write fast. If I'm not into it, I can't write. I've never been someone who writes on demand and I can't imagine working that way. As cool as it would be to say to my favorite author, "You know, I'd really like to read a great book about a narwhal mafia. Write that for me, 'kay?" or even "I'd love a sequel to that last one," that's not how it works. How it works is that my favorite author writes a new book about whatever he/she is interested in. Maybe it takes a year, maybe it takes five. If it's something I want to read, I buy it or I check it out at the library. If not, I find something else to read. The end.

(All of this goes for writing about vampires in general, too. Vampires and I? We're on a break.)

I'm pretty sure this won't slow the pleadings and the demands, but I didn't want you to think I was ignoring the question.

In the meantime, there are so many great books out there. I've got some recommendations on my site, and any librarian would love to show you more options. Same goes for independent bookstore employees. Ask for guidance, and they will fill your arms with awesomeness!

A shiver ran down my spine as I stood in the corner of the room, in the middle of a conversation with friends and family, all of them engrossed in what they were saying and for their need to be heard and acknowledged on a high level of conversational intelligence.
Our close friends and family were all here to celebrate our engagement, but for me, as happy as I was to know that I would spend the rest of my life with Daniel, I found myself unable to completely relax and unwind.
Daniel came towards me, the first of a few occasions I had seen him throughout the entire evening, and came closer until he was standing in front of me. He kissed me on the lips, a long, lingering kiss, so much so that for the seconds that his lips touched mine, I had fallen completely unawares to everything else that was going on in the room. Nothing else was important - besides this moment, until he parted his lips slowly, however still keeping his head aligned with mine as he looked at me.
I smiled and he wrapped me up in a hug, and I felt slowly comforted and safe as his entire body wrapped around me.
I could hear a vibrating noise coming from somewhere, and I looked at Daniel to see him turn away from me quickly, a smile still on his face as he turned to answer it, eager to get whoever it was off the phone so he could concentrate on the dinner party, and having read the anguish in my face, I could see he was pained at not being able to give me his full, undivided attention. As Daniel spoke quickly into the phone, his facial expression turned all too quickly from one of contentment to panic stricken and I could see that every contour on his face was filled with tension. His eyes angrily darted from side to side slowly as he started to look around the room, obviously trying to locate someone quickly, without having much luck. He turned his back towards everybody else in the room who were happily talking animatedly amongst themselves, and slowly put his phone back into his pocket.
During this time, I had walked away from him and was across the other side of the room talking and reminiscing with Winona about our happy times together, neither of us having much time on our hands to spend with each other, my time largely being taken up with endless hours down at the studio, or with Daniel.
Daniel looked at me, a look of grief and tortured pain in his eyes, and before I knew what was happening, he had made his way through the crowd of people and was by my side. "Stacie.... I...." Daniel trailed off quickly, before he hesitated, not knowing what to say, and being unable to put his feelings into words.
His lips crushed down on mine as if this would be the last time he would ever kiss me, strongly and passionately. My lips couldn't help but respond, and as the kiss came to an end, he pulled away from me, before he grabbed my hand and walked away from the centre of the room, pulling me back into the shadows.
"What's going on?"
"We can't do this. I can't do this to you. You don't belong here. I just don't see how this is going to work anymore."
"Don't make this harder than it has to be." He said, his tone suddenly changing to one of coldness and indifference.
"I don't understand.... What are you trying to say?"
"I need to go away for a while." He said, before pausing, wondering what had been said on the phone, failing to understand his sudden demeanour.
"Right, well, I'll come with you. I'll talk to the production team, and my understudy, and.... " He looked at me, his eyes on my face as if he could see right through to my soul.
"When you say you need to go away for a while, you mean alone, don't you?"
"Yes..." he paused as he looked at me, his eyes never straying from my face. "I don't want you to come with me."
"I know you don't mean that... why are you doing this? I belong with you, you know that." He looked at me, his face expressionless. There was no way to tell what he was thinking. Not now.
"You were right. Grief brought us back to each other. Not love. That was all that we had left - and we used that, thinking it would be enough to try and make this work, to mend our scars. But it's not. I need something else - something different. Not this. Not now. Not ever again. Do you understand me?" He said. I could see him holding back every single emotion that he was feeling from his face, from his voice. He wanted me to see him as completely devoid and cold - but I was beyond that - I knew that every word he spoke was killing him - none of this made any sense, if he loved me as much as he said he did, why was it so easy for him to convince me that he now felt nothing? Anger surged through me as I grabbed his arm, stopping him in his tracks as he started to walk away from me.
"You can't even say the words properly... look.... you're shaking!"
"This will be the last time we ever see each other. I can't go through all of this again. I just think it's the right thing to do."
"Look, I know things have been hard... we've been through so much. What happened with Sonja... the pregnancy.... everything... it's nothing."
"Yes, you're right, it was nothing. Nothing than what I already expected. I don't feel anything for you anymore. You mean nothing to me."
"I love you." I said, grabbing his arm to restrain him from leaving.
"Promise me.... " he said, looking at me one last time before turning away from me. "Just promise me that you won't come and find me. Don't try and get in contact. I just can't have you in my life."
I looked at him, unable to breathe, as he stepped away from me and back into the spotlight of the room, where the light was the brightest. I could see he was choked up, struggling to even speak, as he slowly cleared his throat and addressed the rest of our close family and friends who had gathered here for us in celebration.
"Hi everyone. Thank you so much for coming tonight. It means a lot to both myself and Stacie. I hope you've enjoyed yourselves, but I'm afraid I have to make an early exit." Daniel said as he looked around at all of the apprehensive faces staring back at him.
I struggled to smile and nod my head in thank yous and goodbyes, and I looked up to catch a glimpse of Jude staring back at me, a puzzled and confused look on his face, as I nodded and gave him a small smile, the same as everybody else. I knew that he was aware that something was wrong, but I could barely stand up let alone speak more than 3 words.
Finally, the room was empty as I stood in the doorway, my feet sliding to the floor as my legs gave way.
I put my head in my hands amongst my tears and tried to work out what had happened in the last 10 minutes of my life. All of a sudden I looked up, hearing movements from just outside the door. The door opened and I saw a silhouette appear from out of nowhere, still covered by the shadows. The figure emerged slowly as they walked into the light and as I looked up again, Sonja Stone appeared in front of me and looked down at me unsympathetically, with Daniel by her side, her hand twirling playfully in his as she wore a pitying look on her face.
"Bet you never thought you'd see me again, did you?" She said, looking down at me with a cold look in her eyes, unblinking, her face set in stone.
I didn't even have the energy to speak, and as I looked at Daniel, he turned away from me, his eyes tortured and full of pain.
"Now that you have what you want, I think you should leave." I said, looking up at the both of them from underneath my lashes.
Sonja gave me a cruel, wicked smile and turned her back towards me to leave, taking Daniel with her.
Before she could do so, Daniel broke away from her suddenly, letting go of her hand and walking quickly towards me, kneeling down to where I was and grabbing my hand, his hands running through my hair slowly and along every contour on my face.
"Promise me, just promise me... stay away from Sonja." He said, getting up to leave and turning away from me.
I closed my eyes, for a split second, and something inside of me hoped that I wouldn't wake up.