The Host by Stephenie Meyer, author of the bestselling Twilight YA series (Twilight, the film, is now in production), features a love triangle in two bodies. Melanie, a rebel human, is the reluctant host “soul” for Wanderer, an extraterrestrial whose race has successfully invaded a near-future earth. Both struggle with their feelings for Jared, Melanie’s human boyfriend.

What’s The Host’s main message?

What it really means to be human, And I felt the only way to look at that is from the outside because we take so much for granted. I love having a character who doesn’t know what it’s like to be human and gets this fully grown human body and has to deal with emotions and dreams and scents, all these things that are new to her.

Why doesn’t The Host begin during the alien invasion?

The story for me was always Melanie/Wanderer/Jared and then Melanie/Wanderer/Jared and Ian. It was never about the invasion. It was never about the science fiction of the spaceships and the aliens encroaching across our society. For me it was about three people and their very specific and focused love story. Big battle scenes don’t always do it for me. I like a closer focus when I write.

Is this the first of a trilogy?

Possibly. I wrote The Host as a standalone, but the thing is, with me, I love my characters and I don’t want to stop writing about them. I already know what the title would be if I do another one—The Seeker. I’m taking some time to recharge next year and then we’ll see.

Are characters more important than plot?

Absolutely! I don’t write for plot. Plots happen around interesting characters. Some people are completely plot-specific, some people are all about the setting, some people use words like they’re dancing. For me, it’s always about the people and everything that’s happening to them because of who they are, what’s inside.

Is The Host more romance than science fiction?

I wouldn’t say romance. I would say love. In theTwilight saga, romance, yes. Romance is the love between man and a woman. In The Host I had a chance to explore all kinds of love. And one of the most important kinds to me is I have the surrogate mother and child relationship to explore. There was also love of community, this adoptive community that Wanda/Wanderer finds herself in and she loves them enough to betray her first world. She loves maybe in an uncle/niece/father/daughter kind of way. She has all these people who stand up for her. So there’s that friendship love, too. Let’s just say it’s about a universal love!

Author photo by Karen Shell