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Dreams Really Do Come True

From stay-at-home mother to best-selling author, Stephenie Meyer captivates readers of all ages around the world

August 9, 2008

By DANIELLE GARCIA


With over a 100 Web sites devoted to the best-selling Twilight book saga and even a day dedicated to the much anticipated Twilight film adaptation (hitting theatres Dec. 12), called Twilight Tuesday, one might wonder what all the commotion is about.

Five years ago, Stephenie Meyer, before becoming the No. 1 best-selling author of the Twilight series, was a typical stay-at-home mother of three young boys. June 2, 2003, was merely the date of her kids' first swimming lessons, but she remembers this date quite clearly because "that was the day it all started," she wrote on stepheniemeyer.com. When she says "it all started," she is talking about the spontaneous start of her writing career. She had no intention of producing a series of books, let alone a novel, but didn't didn't want to forget the "very vivid" dream she had had the night before so she typed it out.

"In my dream, two people were having an intense conversation in a meadow in the woods. One of these people was just your average girl. The other person was fantastically beautiful, sparkly, and a vampire. They were discussing the difficulties inherent in the facts that A) they were falling in love with each other while B) the vampire was particularly attracted to the scent of her blood, and was having a difficult time restraining himself from killing her immediately," Meyer wrote.

review and buy Twilight
And that was how the idea of Twilight was born.

"I was so intrigued by the nameless couple's story that I hated the idea of forgetting it 'I didn't want to lose the dream, so I typed out as much as I could remember, calling the characters 'he' and 'she,'" she continued.

Meyer talked with the friendly circle of the Borders Book Club about how before her dream she had never really sat down just to write, but merely did fun hobbies such as scrapbooking.

"One day I was not a writer, the next day I was."

Even with all the obstacles of being a mother that got in the way of adding more to her story, Stephenie couldn't stay away from the computer, and 3 months later the dream eventually evolved into chapter 13 of her first-ever novel.

"I'd stay up as late as I could stand trying to get all the stuff in my mind typed out, and then crawl, exhausted, into bed (my baby still wasn't sleeping through the night, yet) only to have another conversation start in my head. I hated to lose anything by forgetting, so I'd get up and head back down to the computer," said Meyer.

Stephenie hadn't actually thought about publishing her work until her older sister, Emily, who had been reading chapters of it as Stephenie wrote them, suggested that she should get it published. After finding an agent and "polishing up a few rough spots," she sent it in to nine different publishing companies and ended up scoring a deal with Little, Brown and Company, one of the biggest young adult publishers in the country.

The novel captivated many young readers around the world and debuted at No. 5 on the New York Times Best Seller list. It received many accolades such as "Best book of the decade -- so far" from Amazon.com and "Best book of the year" from Publisher's Weekly.

Yet, when a book aimed at young adult readers is more than 500 pages, it may seem that teens might become fearful of such a big lengthy book.

So GirlsNewsDaily.com asked an average teen and devoted Twilight fan, Maryjoshua Sabado, what kept her reading through such a large novel. She jokingly replied "Edward!" at first, who is the gorgeous love interest of Bella Swan, the main character. But she then continued on to say that it was the same curiosity and attraction that the narrator Bella feels, "So whenever you read it, you hear her voice and thoughts and you really feel like you are there."

review and buy New Moon Fortunately, for the millions of Twilight fans, Meyer didn't stop at her first book. She continued on with a sequel, New Moon, which at first she wasn't planning on doing. But, "When Twilight was ended, I started writing epilogues. After I'd written three epilogues, all of them over a hundred pages long, I realized I wasn't ready to stop writing about Bella and Edward," Meyer wrote on her Web site. This much anticipated sequel was published and spent more than 25 weeks at No. 1 on the New York Times Best Seller list.

Of course with a $750,000 three book deal with Little, Brown and Company, Meyer wasn't done just yet, nor did she have any intention of finishing up quite so soon. Stephenie was planning on both a third and a fourth novel to come. The third edition was titled Eclipse and she told bookopinion.com that her third novel was "definitely the most fun writing." Fans seemed to favor Eclipse just as much as she did, as the third addition of this suspenseful romance knocked Harry Potter down from No. 1 on best-seller lists, according to EW.com.

Meyer, a published author in 37 countries so far and whose three books sold over 1.5 million copies, told CNN that she was shocked at the success of the books and "will never really get used to having people enjoy your books and come to say 'this is my favorite book.'" She continued on saying that the books have changed her life quite dramatically but she is still "primarily a mother." CNN then asked her what her three young boys think about all of this and she replied replied that they see her as the epitome of normal, laughingly adding, "I once caught my son asking another little boy, 'which book does your mom write.'"

So what makes these books filled with werewolves, good looking vamps, and even a little teenage angst so intriguing to numerous adolescent girls, a small percentage of boys and even a good number of moms? Stephenie told amazon.com that she still can't understand why so many people love her characters as much as she does.

"It's a wonderful feeling for me to know that so many people care about Bella, Edward, and Jacob, and what happens to them", she continued. The Seattle Post Intellingencer wrote, "She was puzzling over the irrational zeal she'd unleashed among adolescent girls."

review and buy Eclipse
But when Entertainment Weekly dialed her up at her Arizona house, she told the magazine that in her opinion, the books appealed so largely to people because, unlike a lot of girls in literature, the main character, Bella, is just a normal girl.

"She's not a hero, and she doesn't know the difference between Prada and whatever else is out there. She doesn't always have to be cool, or wear the coolest clothes ever," said Meyer.

But while Bella may be a normal girl many female teens can relate to, it's Bella's love interest, a "dazzling" vampire named Edward Cullen who seemed to capture the girl's hearts.

Maryjoshua Sabado, just one of the many teen girls who fell in love with the fictional character, Edward, explained what makes him so intriguing to her.

"He's such a gentleman but he can also be sarcastically hilarious." Maryjoshua went on to describe his selfless personality. "He doesn't want to condemn Bella into his soulless existence, and yet deep inside he knows he wants to be selfish and have Bella all to himself."

When readers ask Stephenie if there really is an "Edward" out there, she is quick to tell them no. "But keep your eyes open for a 'Jacob' -- cause there are a couple of those out there -- if you can find a 'Jacob', you're really doing well", Meyer said told the Borders book club. But then again, it's no surprise that it's unlikely one could find an Edward, who, has had 108 years to mature into the perfect guy. Maybe that's what makes him so enticing, he's the ultimate perfect man only to come alive in the pages of Twilight.

Not only does this indestructible 17 year old vegetarian (meaning to abstain from human blood) vampire who, by the way, has been 17 since 1918, is described as having flawless good looks, but also sparkles in the sun. But unfortunately for these two "star-crossed lovers," a relationship between a human girl and Meyer's version of a vampire does not come easy. While Edward not only wants Bella, he also craves her blood, making it difficult for him to be around her while restraining himself from killing her. And not only must the pair deal with obstacles like these in their intense relationship but also with other vampires hungry for Bella. With aspects like romance, suspense, horror, and even a "twisted sense of humor", a novel with a captivating contrast of light and darkness is created. But Stephenie told CNN that her books are more about the light than the darkness..."but you need the darkness for the contrast."

Meyer's next two editions of Twilight also kept the noses of readers buried in their books when in New Moon Edward tries to do what he thinks is best for Bella and leaves her, only to put her into a depression. While Edward is gone, Jacob Black, surprisingly enough, a werewolf, and Bella's friend comes into the story creating a love triangle and a perfect base for the plot of her next book- Eclipse, which was Meyer's first to be debuted at No. 1. Eclipse is primarily based on Bella's choice between her first love Edward and Jacob her friend/love interest. The competition between Jacob and Edward for Bella's love gave fans something to root for...or against. Jacob or Edward...who will Bella choose? The question answer to this question seemed to have been revealed at the end of the third novel, Eclipse, but with a 4th and final book to the saga yet to come out, who knows, will Jacob Black come back?

review and buy Breaking Dawn The fourth volume to the Twilight saga, and the final one in Bella's perspective, called Breaking Dawn, often referred to as the "Grand Finale" of the series, is the most "anticipated book of the year". It was released August 2nd and is already a No. 1 Best-Seller on amazon.com and at Barnes & Noble. Meyer told amazon.com that Breaking Dawn is the longest book in the saga and took the longest to write. "It gets really complicated when you are finishing out a story ... there are a lot of loose ends you have to deal with." Loose ends such as whether or not Bella will keep her humanity- "the reason the books have gone on so long is I have a harder time giving up Bella's humanity than she does," she told Entertainment Weekly.

With even more popularity drawn to Twilight because of it's highly anticipated movie adaptation starring Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart, it's no surprise that fans are obsessively counting down the days until the fourth book is released that will enlighten them on whether Bella Swan loses her delicate humanity to become an indestructible vampire or grows old while her soon to be husband stays seventeen forever. And to add a little more anticipation to fans, Meyer has started to release a "Quote of the day" from Breaking Dawn on her Web site that teases, "Twilighters" even more. But Entertainment Weekly wrote that it's the stories that matter, "not the circus surrounding them."

Borders asked Meyer how it felt now that the she has written the final chapter of this love story, and Meyer replied, "I can't look at it as 'this is final' 'cause that would just be to sad."

Although this may be the final novel in Bella's perspective, there are still other interesting characters that have their side of the story to be told.

"I am however working on Midnight Sun which is Twilight in Edward's perspective," she said. So there will be more in the Twilight universe coming up in the next couple of years."



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