Stephenie Meyer was driving through the desert that stretches from Phoenix to Salt Lake City when she came up with the idea for her best-selling novel, The Host. Meyer, whose record-breaking Twilight series was just becoming a worldwide phenomenon, passed the long hours by telling herself stories. “I came on the idea of two personalities in one body,” she says. “They are both in love with different people, which creates a great deal of conflict. I like messy relationships. They’re fun to work through.”

The popular author also enjoys exploring the idea of love, but in this case, not just romantic love. “There’s maternal love, which is such a big part of my life,” says Meyer. “There’s love of community and the people you belong with. I asked myself, what happens when you love someone and that makes you a traitor to your people? Love makes you do things you wouldn’t do otherwise. It creates conflict and disorder.”

“The Twilight books are about romantic love and the way it makes you feel at 17 or 18,” she notes. “There’s nothing else in the world. You would do anything and be anything for love. That’s a fun place to visit as a fantasy. “The Host is about finding balance in life,” she continues. “Certainly there’s romance, but it is a much more grown-up and realistic story, aside from the science-fiction elements.”

But the sci-fi elements do set the stage for the story in The Host. “The world has been invaded Body Snatcher-style,” explains Meyer. “These new entities, who call themselves the Souls, are a very peaceful, harmonious, homogenous group. They fix many of the problems of our world. There’s no more hunger, no more disease or fear or violence. No one lies or cheats or steals. The idea that a stranger might harm you doesn’t even exist anymore.”

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