What does Stephenie Meyer's publicist do in her spare time? Write YA novels, of course

Prom-and-Prejudice_320.jpg Image Credit: Liz LigonElizabeth Eulberg has quite the day job. Her very intimidating title is Director of Global Publicity for Stephenie Meyer, which means she manages planet Earth’s insatiable demand for the Twilight mega-author. But on the weekends the 35-year-old Wisconsin native turns off the ringer to her vampire phone, holes up in her Hoboken, apartment, and writes 5,000 words a day. (She awards herself a cupcake on Sunday evenings for met word quotas.)

Eulberg, with the full support of her very influential boss, published her first YA novel The Lonely Hearts Club to sweet acclaim last year. Her new book, Prom & Prejudice, is a fun spin on Jane Austen’s masterpiece, told from the point of view of Lizzie Bennett, a junior scholarship student struggling to maintain her sense of dignity at a terribly snobby private school. We recently caught up with Eulberg, who somehow aims to publish a book a year while also handling all things Team Twilight.

Have you always dreamed of writing YA novels, or is it a natural byproduct of working with Stephenie Meyer?

My mother is a high school librarian. I’m actually named after Beth in Little Women. I have a sister named Meg too! So growing up there were always books around. I loved books. The Sweet Valley High series? Oh my gosh. I discovered those books one summer and would ride my bike every day to the library, pick up a new book, go home, read it, and ride back the next day to get the next book. My mother didn’t care that I was reading Sweet Valley High. When I finished the series she’d slip me a Newbery winner, but she never judged because she just wanted us to read. I want to write books that are fun for someone to read. I don’t want it to feel like work.

In your acknowledgements you thank Stephenie Meyer for a conversation that sparked your idea for the book. What was said?

We were on tour and talking about Pride & Prejudice and the different ways it’s influenced current pop culture—from Bridget Jones’s Diary to the Bollywood movie Bride & Prejudice. And I started thinking to myself, Could it be retold from a teen point of view? Pride & Prejudice is all about the Bennett sisters trying to find a husband but I didn’t want it to be about girls in high school trying to find a boyfriend. So I was like ‘What do girls and boys do in high school?’ And then all of the sudden the title Prom & Prejudice came to mind and I said it aloud and Stephenie was like ‘Ooh, that’s really good!’

Did you immerse yourself in the Jane Austen factory before you started writing?

I reread the original a few times. I watched all the movie incantations, just to see what has been done. And then I just had a lot of fun. It was like going into this novel you loved and then having a Choose Your Own Adventure with it.

If a young reader tells you she loved Prom & Prejudice where would you steer her next?

Read Pride & Prejudice! Read Sense & Sensibility, all of Jane Austen’s novels really. My favorite movie inspired by Pride & Prejudice is probably Lost in Austen. It was made by the BBC and this woman who’s obsessed with the novel stumbles into that world while Elizabeth Bennett stumbles into the modern day. You should see it—it’s hysterical.

What do you think about folks who reflexively sniff at adult YA fans who gobble up Twilight or Prom & Prejudice or Sweet Valley High for that matter?

I just think that people should read what makes them happy. Ninety percent of the books I read are in the YA world. They’re great books! You know, I remember when I first started working in publishing, on my first day at Scholastic, my boss handed me a book and told me to read it because everyone at the publisher was really excited about it. I remember thinking ‘Oh, hmm, okay, sure.’ And it was an early copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, which remains one of the best books I’ve ever read.

What’s on your nightstand now?

Let me look. Okay, Sophie Kinsella’s Mini Shopaholic, Keith Richards’ Life. And The Catcher in the Rye, which I haven’t read in a long, long time.

Comments (31 total) Add your comment
  • whatevs

    I really resent the fact that everyone tries to take a piece of Jane Austen. You will never be the author of Pride & Prejudice, so stop trying to reword the thing and slap your name on it. Ugh.

    • Emily O.

      I feel like most authors who do Austen spin-offs don’t do it with the intention of being the next Jane Austen or only to make money. They do it because they love Austen’s works, and it’s their way of showing their appreciation of her books. Yes, some of those spin-offs are pretty awful, but there are others that are worthwhile reads.

      • ST

        Well put Emily, I agree.

    • myrian luciana

      You know Jane Austen is a classical author, so this is the function of all classicals: a source, a fundamental source for the next book, movie, play, whatever.

      • danite

        Ovid is a classical author. Jane Austen is merely a 19th century novelist. There’s a difference. One day I’ll explain it to you.

      • Felicia

        I think myrian luciana meant “classic”, not classical–hardly the biggest mistake in the world–but well done on the snobbery and condescension, danite!

      • Altaf

        Twilight is the best book that I have ever read. It’s a great book. I’ve read Twilight, New Moon ( Twilight’s sequel), and the trihhd book, Eclipse. Once I read them all, I got my friends hooked, especially Brooke. She liked them so much, she convinced her mom to read them! And she, too, thought they were fantastic. Now we’re all waiting for the fourth book, Breaking dawn to come out on August 2nd and for the Twilight movie, it comes out on December 12th. I’m sure you’ll like these books.

    • Lizzie

      I Idisagree. Theyjusttrytomake their own version and someti es these versions are quite interesting. Lost in Austen was really really funny, let,s see how this book is.

  • Amy S

    Nice to see some coverage of an up and coming YA author. Especially when the Today show chose not to have the winners of the Newbery and Caldecott medals on the show the day after the awards as they have done for the last 20 years. More coverage of YA and Children’s books and authors please.

  • Dana

    I’m a children’s librarian and our kids barely touch our books. They just come in for the computers. The only ones who read are the ones that have parents who make them. It’s sad.

  • ST

    I have to admit, I want to check this book out now! I like when they do spins on classics for a teens point of view (see Clueless). And like Elizabeth said, if the teens who read this book really enjoy it, they might be more likely to read Jane Austen’s novels as well. I know I did as a teenager. I watched Clueless and discovered it was based on Emma so I read that book and then watched the movie Emma too. I enjoyed them all. From there, I read more Jane Austen (Pride & Prejudice) so it could start that type of trend. Granted, I’m a big reader anyway but kudos to Elizabeth for doing this in her “spare” time!

    • lejla

      Thank you, Sophia Rose. I hope you enjoy Frank’s story as much as I enejyod writing it!–Carrie

      • Heleodoro

        Try these:Any of the Nancy Drew books by Caroline KeeneCoraline by Neil GaimanA Northern Light by Jennifer DonnellyThe Princess Bride by William Goldman13 Little Blue Envelopes and Girl At Sea by Maureen JohnsonAbarat by Clive Barker, Make sue you get the hardcover vrsoien though!!! If you liked the first one be sure to check out the next book in the series Abarat: Days of Magic, Nights of War.The Maximum Ride series (The Angel Experiment, Schools Out Forever, Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports, The Final Warning) by James PattersonThe Riddles of Epsilon by Christine Morton-ShawThe Cry of the Icemark by Stuart HillInkheart and Inkspell and Inkdeath (coming soon!) by Cornelia FunkeA Mango Shaped Space by Wendy MassThe Secret Under My Skin by Janet McNaughtonTuck Everlasting by Natalie BabbittThe Prophecy of the Stones by Flavia Bujor Old Magic by Marianne Curley

  • James

    What’s sad is, she’s probably a far superior author to her “boss” and if not for bad timing, Meyer could be her PR hack instead. :-(

  • Jackie

    Incantations? Think she means incarnations?

    • Daiana

      8:50am, 15.Mar.09I didn’t ruin cacupkes. Zombie loving bacon-wrapped hipsters did.{}

  • Fortuna

    I don’t “reflectively ‘sniff'” at YA literature, I only hate the stuff with awfu, damagingl messages about how “OMG BOYS ARE MY LIIIIFE” like, ahem, Twilight.

    But if the author says the book is more than just getting a boyfriend, then maube I’ll give Prom & Prejudice a try.

  • Anahi

    I’ve just read Elizabeth’s debut novel “The Lonely Hearts Club’ and absolutely loooved it! Had no idea she was Meyer’s publicist. She is a far, far better author than Meyer. Plus Austen is one of my favorite authors. I can’t wait to read this book.

  • J

    Unfortunately, Prom & Prejudice is a big dud. It is one of the worst Jane Austen “spin-offs” that I’ve ever read. Now I know why!

    • Aimee

      I am halfway through this novel and I like it so far. It’s light but not ditzy…so far, so good!

    • Hirotaka

      10:52am, 15.Mar.09Is an adirond just a humanlike robot? Is that the definition, or is there something else that separates adirond from robot?{}

  • NB

    I read her first book because, honestly, I love the Beatles and I love Twilight. I can appreciate YA books, but “The Lonely Heart Club” book was horrible. Quoting a few Beatles’ lyrics is not clever. Doing an Austen rewrite is just so tired at this point – Mr. Darcy’s a vampire. The Bennett sisters fight zombies. Enough already. (Though Pride & Prejudice & Zombies was great. No slight to that book!)

  • Pandora

    Wonder if she got the publishing deal on her own or if Meyer helped her out like she did with her friend Aprilynne Pike (she gave Pike’s – utterly terrible – manuscript to her agent Jodi Reamer and voila, a 4 book deal even though her writing is atrocious.)

    • Jane A.

      As opposed to Meyer’s writing?

    • Captin

      sono drvveao incuriosita da questo libro!!! Partecipo volentieri al giveaway, incrociando le dita!!elena.sookie@gmail.com

  • Melissa

    I just recently read this book. I loved it. It was really cute and the characters were charming. I plowed through it. A fun read.

  • Laura

    I liken it to fan fiction. there is a ton of austen fan fiction out there.

  • tresorparis

    Great article. I cant wait to hear more about your research tool. If it is as good as your other products, then you will have another winner. Your article pretty much summed up what I have been seeing too. Great to see some hard data.

    • Scheylla

      Harry Potter series are the best!Wildwood Dancing Cybeles Secret by Juliet Marillier are both ronmcae and mystery. Plus theyre rather good too!The Inheritance Cycle’ which is Eragon Eldest with 2 more books to come. They are extremely good!Also Inheart trilogy by Cornelia Funke, with 2 books out already Inkheart Inkspell. Inkdeath comes out in October.Yeah, theyre all really good books!Hope I`m a help.

    • Khitam

      I burned a few clieraos thinking up titles for your novel, too. How come I’m not skinny? In fact, I woke up from a dream with title for your novel. Wasting time thinking up titles is better than computer solitaire, something the devil invented to keep folks from writing. Besides, there’s that delusion that if you come up with the perfect catchy title some agent will generalize it to the entire novel and send a contract and a big fat check posthaste. Or is that post haste? Over 50 writers who could once spell really well (me) are finding that they no longer can and if you have dyslexia (me) host paste looks correct too BTW, setting limits for children and electronics actually adds clieraos it drives one to drink alcohol which is replete with clieraos. And that’s one cute teenager in the photo.

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