Charmed

Stephenie Meyer's vampire romance novels made a Mormon mom an international sensation

With three kids, she couldn't lie in bed imagining all day so she decided to write her dream down.

By breakfast, she was at the computer, where she typed the first line: "In the sunlight, he was shocking." It's now the first sentence of Chapter 13 in Twilight. Reluctantly, she got up to take her kids to the pool.

"The whole time, my mind was just churning," she says. "It was a really sleep-deprived summer, but one of the best of my life."

Twilight fans crowd ASU’s gym at Stephenie  Meyer’s prom.
Giulio Sciorio
Twilight fans crowd ASU’s gym at Stephenie Meyer’s prom.
Meyer in front the Trevi Fountain during her book tour in Rome.
courtesy of Stephen Bloom
Meyer in front the Trevi Fountain during her book tour in Rome.

When she came home from swimming, she made lunch and kept writing. By the end of the day, she'd completed 10 pages. From that day forward, she wasn't able to stop.

The Meyers were coming off a depressing year. While she was pregnant with her youngest son, Eli, she'd fallen over —"I was realllly pregnant," she says — and broken her arm badly. Five weeks later, her husband, Pancho, was diagnosed with Crohn's disease.

"It wasn't a great time in my life. I'd put on so much weight with the two babies. My 30th birthday was coming up and I was so not ready to face being 30," she says. "I didn't feel I had much going for me. I had my kids, but there wasn't much I was doing."

Meyer needed a creative outlet. She'd painted in college, but with the kids, it was too hard, and the scrapbooking parties she went to with friends from church were fun but not exactly fulfilling

"When I switched to writing, it was a much fuller outlet for me," she says. "There was a whole lot of pleasure in that first writing experience. It felt like a dam bursting, there was so much that I couldn't get out, and then I could."

She's not the first writer to turn a dream into a novel and find success on her first try. Mary Shelley is rumored to have dreamed about Frankenstein before she wrote it. But the pace of Meyer's writing that summer and the wild success that followed are rare.

She didn't tell anyone what she was doing. She dropped out of her scrapbook club and didn't even go to the movies because the thought of three hours away from the computer was unbearable.

"I lost a lot of friends that summer," she says, laughing.

She didn't even tell her husband, though he'd started to wonder what she was up to.

"I was really protective and shy about it because it's a vampire romance. It's still embarrassing to say those words — it sounds so cheesy," she says. "It's not like I was going to tell him that I was writing this story about vampires, because he was just going to be even more perturbed."

Their marriage didn't exactly suffer, but they did get in little arguments.

"We're not either of us very docile people," she says. "We argue all the time because that's our personalities. We didn't get in mean arguments, but I'm sure we argued over it because we argue about everything — we argue about milk."

These days, Pancho is happy to play the proud husband. Because of his wife's success, he was able to go back to school to become an accountant, and while he was a little frustrated in the beginning, he beams when he talks about her.

"It's fun to watch," he says. "Before she wrote an international bestseller, she was just a creative and intelligent woman. She's extremely blessed."

The person who finally got the secret out of her was her big sister, Emily Rasmussen. The two have been extremely close since childhood, so when Meyer dropped off the face of the Earth, forgetting to make or return phone calls and ignoring e-mails, Rasmussen got worried.

"It was abnormal that she wasn't talking to me," says Rasmussen, who lives in Utah with her husband and daughter. "I called her and said, 'What's going on? Why aren't you calling me anymore?'"

Meyer took a deep breath and blurted it out.

"I don't keep secrets from Emily," she says. "I thought she'd laugh, but it turns out she's a big Buffy fan, which I didn't know. She wanted to see it, and, on the one hand, I was very shy about it, but on the other hand, I was in love with it, so I wanted her to see it."

Meyer e-mailed Rasmussen a couple of chapters. As the story took shape, Meyer's sister read, and loved, every word.

"I would call and hound her, and I was always there bugging her," she says. "I've read Twilight I don't know how many times."

Within three months, the book was done. That's a quick turnaround for a book almost 500 pages long, but Meyer couldn't stop herself.

"Obsession covers it pretty well," she says, describing her writing methodology.

By the time Meyer finished the first book, her sister persuaded her to try to publish it.

She sent out queries to agents, not expecting much.

A month later, she got a call from New York agent Jodi Reamer, who had fallen in love with the story and wanted to represent Meyer. Reamer sent the book to nine editors, expecting a long wait.

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34 comments
mother goose
mother goose

What an aptly named article. One of the the best twilight/meyer articles out there and my new personal favorite. Thank you!

thebloodfiend
thebloodfiend

I like the fact that she adores her fans but the lady can't write to save her life.

Leah49
Leah49

Wow, Stephenie Meyer is wicked delusional. She needs help.

Linda
Linda

This was the most thorough interview I've read with Stephanie Meyer and I've visited a few web sites. Thank you so much. Linda

Richard Flores
Richard Flores

A a father of four including twin daughters in that target age for the book, I want to THANK YOU, Mrs. Meyers! I am appalled at the criticisms lodged by ignorant, negative critics. Mrs. Meyer's books have given me an excellent basis to discuss appropriate relationships with my daughters! The critics must be totally blind if they perceive Edward as abusive or a stalker, as he is the perfect example of an honorable young man who seeks to discover the means to respect and honor the woman he loves! I would love for my daughters to find a man with such integrity! Mrs. Meyer's portrayal of chivalry and appropriate courtship morals must incite anger in the ultra-liberals, as her characters exhibit traditional courtship values, not destructive lust.

Mrs. Meyer's writings are a God-send for fathers that value honor and respect women. She provides a sounding board for us to discuss dating and appropriate relationship development, which is rare these days! Too many shows, movies, and books promote evil, destructive behaviors. Her books are realistic in that young couples CAN remain chaste and pure before marriage! When I was a teenager, that was the norm. Sadly, it is no longer true as that vast majority of 17-year old girls have given up God's greatest gift and will be eternally sad they did so! It a way, the vampire bit is a blessing because it provides a natural barrier for Edward to physically respect Bella, which used to be provided by a man's honor! (Forty years ago, it would NOT have been necessary!) I dream of a day where males can once again respect women and become men of honor. I pray that these books encourage girls to have the self-respect to say, "NO" and regain their honor! Mrs. Meyers has given us the basis for that day! As a father and fellow Christian, I want to thank you for your strength and devotion to God's moral values!

God Bless You!

Rick

fae
fae

This woman is a load of crock. The Twilight series are horrible books. I don't understand why there is such a big fanbase. The characters are flat and one dimensional, the writing is below-par and full of grammar mistakes and overuse of adjectives, there is about ten pages worth of plot in the whole series, and it's sending out all kinds of bad messages to young teens. Why are people kissing the very ground she stands on? She completely ruined vampire mythology and she is glorifying relationship abuse (Bella and Edward) and pedophilia (Jacob and Renesmee). And why do people think these characters are so great? I mean, Bella and Edward are being compared to Harry Ron and Hermione! Bella is nothing but a twit lacking personality and Edward is an abusive stalker. The two don't even love each other. They lust for each other. Bella only likes him because he's hot, and Edward only likes her because her blood is oh so appetizing. And Stephenie Meyer is trying to pull the 'true love' card.I'm just sick of seeing all these appraising articles, when by literary standards her books are nothing more than badly written fanfiction.

Katie Vollenweider
Katie Vollenweider

Stephenie, you are the most amazing person in the world. you have the courage to write a book, speak in front of millions, and still live your life. You are my role model, and you have made me start to write my own book. it hasn't got a name, nor does it have many chapters. but it is still a book. i thank you for writing the twilight saga, and i wish you the best. Sincerly, Katie Vollenweider

berta
berta

i think it is so great the stephanie got to be so famous from a dream that she had. I mean, ive always wanted to be famous, but her kind of fame is insane! ive been to one of her book signings [which was AWSOME!] and there literally was a line that stretched two blocks! i mean it was insanity..i cant believe she can sign so many books! but it really is great that she is so humbled by her fans that she would actually stay up so long just to make them happy. Shes probably taken so many pictures with people, she has damage to her eyes! but if i ever got the chance to meet her again, i would do it in a heartbeat!

berta
berta

i think it is so great the stephanie got to be so famous from a dream that she had. I mean, ive always wanted to be famous, but her kind of fame is insane! ive been to one of her book signings [which was AWSOME!] and there literally was a line that stretched two blocks! i mean it was insanity..i cant believe she can sign so many books! but it really is great that she is so humbled by her fans that she would actually stay up so long just to make them happy. Shes probably taken so many pictures with people, she has damage to her eyes! but if i ever got the chance to meet her again, i would do it in a heartbeat!

Begemot
Begemot

Stephenie Meyer is the most over-rated author on the market at the present time. Bella Swan is simply a large author insert (commonly referred to as a Mary Sue) in an abusive relationship with a stalker.

Her characters are entirely one-sided and have no depth. Bella's sole purpose throughout the four books is to fall in love with Edward and get turned into a vampire and--well, that's about it.

Her writing style is plain and unadventurous. It is entirely unnecessary to spend well over one hundred pages describing how a character is brooding, or spending page upon page describing how perfect and godlike the Cullens look. Whatever happened to the "Show, don't tell!" doctrine that my writing teachers impressed upon me throughout high school and college?

I have read all of the books. I do not see what is so great about them. Truth be told, I think they're horrible abominations parading around as halfway decent literature (and I use the term "literature" here to describe the Twilight series VERY loosely) that are better suited to line my cat's litterbox than they are to be read and absorbed by impressionable teenagers.

In the books, she glorifies abusive relationships. Bella is rarely allowed to make her own decisions. Edward has complete control over her. He even goes so far as to disconnect the wires in the engine of her truck so that she can't see her friends in La Push. Of course, this is all carefully covered up in a fine dusting of saccharine sweetness of, "Oh, he just did it because he loves her and wants to protect her," which means that it's totally all right. But it's not.

Bella also didn't want to go to the prom. Edward took her to that without her consent. Edward decided that they should get rid of the baby without even so much as giving Bella a say in Breaking Dawn when he discovered she was pregnant. He had Alice "kidnap" her to keep an eye on her and keep her away from her friends. He has her lie to her father about where she's going.

I realise that the following link is a link to a Live Journal article, but the author of the article raises several valid points about the topic of abuse raised by this book, and it is worth a read:

http://pamgutz.livejournal.com...

I fail to see why people practically deify this book. It is simply glorified, Mary Sue insert fanfiction.

Dosvedanya,

Begemot

Begemot
Begemot

Stephenie Meyer is the most over-rated author on the market at the present time. Bella Swan is simply a large author insert (commonly referred to as a Mary Sue) in an abusive relationship with a stalker.

Her characters are entirely one-sided and have no depth. Bella's sole purpose throughout the four books is to fall in love with Edward and get turned into a vampire and--well, that's about it.

Her writing style is plain and unadventurous. It is entirely unnecessary to spend well over one hundred pages describing how a character is brooding, or spending page upon page describing how perfect and godlike the Cullens look. Whatever happened to the "Show, don't tell!" doctrine that my writing teachers impressed upon me throughout high school and college?

I have read all of the books. I do not see what is so great about them. Truth be told, I think they're horrible abominations parading around as halfway decent literature (and I use the term "literature" here to describe the Twilight series VERY loosely) that are better suited to line my cat's litterbox than they are to be read and absorbed by impressionable teenagers.

In the books, she glorifies abusive relationships. Bella is rarely allowed to make her own decisions. Edward has complete control over her. He even goes so far as to disconnect the wires in the engine of her truck so that she can't see her friends in La Push. Of course, this is all carefully covered up in a fine dusting of saccharine sweetness of, "Oh, he just did it because he loves her and wants to protect her," which means that it's totally all right. But it's not.

Bella also didn't want to go to the prom. Edward took her to that without her consent. Edward decided that they should get rid of the baby without even so much as giving Bella a say in Breaking Dawn when he discovered she was pregnant. He had Alice "kidnap" her to keep an eye on her and keep her away from her friends. He has her lie to her father about where she's going.

I realise that the following link is a link to a Live Journal article, but the author of the article raises several valid points about the topic of abuse raised by this book, and it is worth a read:

http://pamgutz.livejournal.com...

I fail to see why people practically deify this book. It is simply glorified, Mary Sue insert fanfiction.

Dosvedanya,

Begemot

Renee Kass
Renee Kass

I know this is going to sound insane.....but something has recently happened to me that I need to discuss with her. I understand that she may not want to talk with me directly, after all this does sound a bit spooky. But, I Promise I'm not insane and I am not a stalker or a crazed "edward" fan. Its on the up and up, I am sincerely trying to get a message to her. I know someone at the paper must know how to contact her, I've been unsuccessful at doing so. She's pretty popular these days! And I'm sure everyone and their uncle wants to talk to her, get an autograph etc. but this is different. If I could just find a way to get a message to her, she doesn't even have to speak to me.....I live in Chandler and can be reached at illusionsofgrandeur@cox.net.Please don't blow this off a a hoax, please.

Laura
Laura

Wow. This must be the article I liked the most about Stephenie. She�s a great author, but firstly, a great person. She is so kind with her fans that it it obvious why we (yes, I�m a huge fan, too) love her so much. The Twilight Series are an incredible job, which everybody can enjoy easily. Though there are some of us who haven�t seen her, it�s cool to know that when we have a chance to, we won�t be dissapointed. Go Stephenie!!

Kay
Kay

This has to be my favorite series of books.It sounded wierd at first with vampires falling in love and such But once i picked it up,I could not put it down.The 3 books are amazing and make you feel like your the character.I've even had dreams with vampires in them Haha.I have a urge to go to forks Just to feel like i'm part of the book,Like really part of it.I wish she would come to st pete florida,If i had a car i would drive allll the way to miami.ha

Andrea
Andrea

Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series was really a page turner. I was hooked onto it from the first page, and I haven't let the series go for as long as two years. Twilight, vampires, werewolves, the enitre series became my 24/7 obsession. Nobody, except perhaps J.K.Rowling can beat Stephenie Meyer.

Becky
Becky

Stephenie Meyer is one of the best writers I have ever come across. Before I read Twilight, I wouldn't have touched a book with a 50 ft pole. LOL. After I got done with it I couldn't think about anything but Bella and Edward and what would happen next. I was(am) totally obssesed. I've read Twilight 4 times. I LOVE THAT BOOK. Stephenie is totally gifted and I would read any of her books any day. CAN'T WAIT FOR ECLIPSE!!!!

Dawn Edelen
Dawn Edelen

This was a wonderful article explaining so much about Stephenie and the Twilight series. I'm a huge fan of the series, and I would definitely say that I'm actually more excited for the release of Eclipse than I am of the final Harry Potter book. Stephenie inspires me as a writer and a fellow Latter Day Saint, and I hope that I can someday be as wonderful of a writer as she is. Thanks again for this article!

Rapunxelle
Rapunxelle

I am a huge fan of the Twilight series. I was introduced to the books by my best friend who bought a copy for her 14 year old niece, read it, and loved it. She knew I was a big fan of vampire fiction - Stoker to Hamilton and everything in between - so she recommended I check it out. The series is great fun and so are the signings. My husband was kind enough to take me to the prom and it was only then that he was able to understand just how popular the books really are. Stephenie is quite an inspiration in all that she does. Popularity aside, she has managed to become a published writer while maintaining her family life, faith, and sense of self. It has been a pleasure to meet her and I can honestly say that I am happy to be one of her fans. I'm in my mid 20s, and I know lots of girls in their 20s and 30s who love Edward and Bella as much as any teen girl. Something about them really resonates to the readers and we couldn't be happier that others see that too. I look forward to the upcoming books and am excited for Eclipse later this summer. Thanks to the New Times for showcasing such a great writer.

mylesha
mylesha

i just have to say thank you!

ive been a true fan since the day my LA teacher told the whole class about the book.

first its like whatever. cuz its says edward is a vampire on the cover of the book. where's the mystery in that?!

but then you you read it you get hooked.

its my kind of herion. as edward would say in twlight.

i can't tell you how many times ive read twlight and new moon and still get that need to finish the book to know what happens. even though it may be my 10th time.hahah.its just the emotion that you feel through the book.and then you find yourself yelling to the people in the book telling them thats whats they did was stupid.haha

im hooked and i can't get enough of it. ive read all the outtakes and everything she has on her site. and can't wait for eclipse.

I LOVE YOU EDWARD ANTHONY MASEN CULLEN!!!

Eva
Eva

Hola!

Hello, I am to Spanish girl and I like to say to you that you have mistaken for the photo of the girls, because it is not from Italy it is from Madrid (Spain) in the fair of the book.

Regards of fan of the Cullen.

Mar�
Mar�

I've just finish reading the article, it's so greaaaat!I'm from Spain. I received Twilight as a gift in Christmas time and I liked it since I read the first chapter. I get a bit obsessed too :) All this time I've been reading again and again both books, Twilight and New Moon ^^I can wait for Eclipse to come outtttt!

Love youu Edward (L) My congratulations to stephenie, thank you!

Sophie Miller
Sophie Miller

This is a really great article. It's great to read and highlights key points about Stephenie. I myself haven't had the chance to meet her yet, living half way on the other side of the word but I love this book so much and I think there's still an indent in the chair at the bookshop where I first started reading it. I cannot wait for Eclipse and will follow her loyally through any books thereafter.I hope to meet her soon, and look forward to it.

Rachel
Rachel

These books are absolutely amazing! It's funny that a book about vampires, is the kind of book that when your reading, your constantly smiling and your heart rate is going crazy.Stephenie did a great job :]

Patience
Patience

I don't even know where to begin...I've always liked vampires and the idea of a love like Bella and Edward share. The thought of having a mixture between the beautiful, mysterious creatures and an undying passion for a person, only made me want to take in every word and punctuation mark in the book. Not only did I like the fact that I felt like a part of the story, but when Bella cried, I cried. I felt the heartache when they couldn't be together. These are like the fairy tales you wish you could be a part of. I won't even allow my books to be bent or handled roughly...it's like I don't want the magic to leak out. Stephenie Meyer could not have done a better job. I haven't had the pleasure of meeting her, going to a book signing, or a prom but one day I will. And I'm pretty sure all the girls in my school have read the books! =D

Jennifer Blaser
Jennifer Blaser

This is a great article! I love seeing Stephenie in such a personal light. I just wanted to say that not all her fans are teenage girls. There are many that are nearly 30 (like me) and older who adore Stephenie just as much!

Twilight and New Moon are so captivating. Once you start to read them, you cannot put them down. They draw you in and make you feel like you're a part of the story. You can relate to the characters so easily... The way Stephenie describes things are so visual and allow you see a clear picture of everyting going on. She is amazing!

Kate
Kate

Stephenie certainly is an amzing author, as well as an amzing person. I fell in love with her books about 15 pages into the first one, and I have to admit I've become a bit obsessed. Not only is she a wonderful writer, but she is also such a nice person, and is very personable to her fans. I've had the pleasure of meeting her, and she is so nice, she actually takes the time to talk to her fans, and she acts like one of us, just one of the girls. I've seen Stephenie in New York, went to a satelite eclipse prom in New Jersey for her books, and in September I'm driving to Pennslyvania for an Eclipse book signing she is doing. I can't wait for Eclipse to come out! This article was excellent, and I'm glad that you highlighted not only Mrs. Meyers wonderful writing, but also her shining personality! ~Kate

thebloodfiend
thebloodfiend

I feel sorry for your daughters. People like you are why girls get into abusive relationships.

Leah49
Leah49

I must be some "ignorant, negative critic." I must inform you that you are very wrong in generalizing anti-Twilight people. I am a Christian conservative and I would rather eat dog poop than be with a guy like Edward.

thebloodfiend
thebloodfiend

Wow, you really need to read actual literature. Try something that requires a brain to read.

steph fan
steph fan

thank you for your reply bloodfiend but seriously, its none of your business

Discussion69
Discussion69

@steph fan Well if you tell tales about your life to the internet, it would be quite idiotic to not expect people to comment on it. So what I'm trying to say is that you have no right to tell anyone what someone's buisness is with the one Rick provided with 

 
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