The Twilight author—whose spy thriller The Chemist hits stores Nov. 8—opens up about her love of dragons, Emma Thompson, and movie soundtracks.
My favorite books as a child
Little Women (Louisa May Alcott), A Little Princess (Frances Hodgson Burnett), Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery). These were all happy worlds for me that I visited so many times I lost count. The characters were my friends. I cried over their pain and smiled with their happiness. I hated it when the story was over because I didn’t want to leave, so of course I started reading over again. I always felt like I belonged in a place closer to those worlds than the real one.
The TV show that doesn’t get its due
iZombie. The writing on this show is so sharp and funny, but it also has made me sob in a gross, gooey fashion on two occasions. Endearing lead, beautiful men, delicious-looking brain preparations—it really has it all. Please watch, and then let’s discuss.
The first album I bought with my own money
The Joshua Tree by U2.
My all-time favorite movie
Stranger Than Fiction. Stranger than Fiction. It’s possible that I over-identify with Emma Thompson’s character. The moment when she comes face to face with her fictional hero resonated so strongly with me, because though of course it’s impossible, that’s EXACTLY how an author would react. Emma Thompson kills it (of course she does. When has she not?). And if you haven’t seen Stranger than Fiction, you have no idea what Will Farrell is capable of as an actor. It’s a beautiful story, beautifully told, with such a stellar soundtrack.
The actor who would play me in a movie
Someone like Janeane Garofalo, Casey Wilson, or Kathryn Hahn. Though I’m pretty quiet on the outside, I’m hilarious on the inside, I promise (and darker than you’d think—I often surprise people with my comic morbidity). I’d want an actress who is grounded but super funny, so that everyone who sees the movie will then associate that performance with me and assume there’s something really hysterical on the tip of my tongue that I’m just too shy to say out loud.
The last book that made me laugh out loud
Texts from Jane Eyre by Mallory Ortberg.
My guilty pleasure TV show
I don’t believe in guilty pleasures. If something brings you pleasure, embrace it.
The fictional character I’d want by my side during the zombie apocalypse
I would say Dean Winchester [from Supernatural], but while I’m sure he would survive, the woman standing next to him usually only lasts half an episode. So maybe Evan Walker from The 5th Wave. He’s good at keeping someone else alive.
The fictional character who’s my hero
Jane Eyre. Jane is made of steel—she has her moral code and nothing can make her bend. But that doesn’t mean she’s cold or rigid—she’s passionate and creative and intelligent and sensitive. She just doesn’t compromise or ever make excuses for herself. She would literally starve to death in a ditch before she would be unfaithful to her truest self. Physically, she’s not the strongest heroine. She’s not going to be the one wielding a sword and conquering an army. But no one has more integrity.
The song that reminds me of my first crush
“Cecilia” by Simon and Garfunkel. That’s what I was listening to while I gazed adoringly in his totally oblivious direction.
The song people might be surprised I know all the words to
Every original song in the movie Sing Street.
The book I’d use to squash a bug
Breaking Dawn—it’s heavy. Thick enough to give me some strategic distance from the bug, and I have lots of copies on hand.
The fictional place I’ve dreamed of moving to
Pern, from Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern series. I have a good life. I love my family more than anything in this world. But if I had a chance to impress one of McCaffrey’s dragons—not even a dragon, I would be thrilled to settle for a fire lizard—I would jump through that portal in a second. I’m sorry, friends and family… DRAGONS.
If I had to listen to one song on repeat for 24 hours, it would be…
Currently, it’s “Decks Dark” by Radiohead.
The last album I listened to
Radiohead’s A Moon Shaped Pool.
The music I listen to while I write
Lately I find myself mostly playing movie scores. I listen to a lot of Hans Zimmer, and I love Brian Reitzell and Britt Daniel’s score for Stranger Than Fiction. I also listen to Ilan Eshkeri’s score for Austenland over and over again.
The last TV show I binged
Stranger Things. So amazing. So long to wait until the next season.
The fictional group of pals I’ve always felt I belonged in
I always wanted to hang with Anne Shirley’s story club. I’m sure I would have been Jane Andrews, the boring one.
The guests at my dream dinner party
There’s a serious version of this dinner, where I would invite Charlotte Brontë, Jane Austen, Louisa May Alcott, L.M. Montgomery, and Shakespeare, but that sounds so intimidating and not really enjoyable. So honestly I’d have to go with people who make me laugh: Mindy Kaling, Leslie Jones, Kate McKinnon, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Nick Offerman, Bill Murray, Bill Hader, Aziz Ansari, Mitch Hedberg…. There are so many! How big is the table I’m working with here? And do I have to talk, or can I just listen?