Stephenie Meyer (born December 24, 1973), née Morgan, is an American author best known for her vampire romance series Twilight. The Twilight novels have gained worldwide recognition and sold over 100 million copies globally, with translations into 37 different languages. Meyer is also the author of the adult science-fiction novel The Host.
Meyer was the biggest selling author of both 2008 and 2009, having sold over 29 million books in 2008 alone, with Twilight being the best-selling book of the year. She sold an additional 26.5 million books in 2009, making her the first author to achieve this feat. Meyer was ranked #49 on Time magazine's list of the "100 Most Influential People in 2008", and was also included in the Forbes Celebrity 100 list of the world's most powerful celebrities in 2009, entering at #26. Her annual earnings exceeded $50 million. Also in 2010, Forbes ranked her as the #59 most powerful celebrity with annual earnings $40 million.
Stephenie Meyer was born in Hartford, Connecticut, to Stephen and Candy Morgan. She grew up in Phoenix, Arizona, with five siblings: Seth, Emily, Jacob, Paul, and Heidi. She attended Chaparral High School in Scottsdale, Arizona. She then attended Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, where she received a B.A. in English in 1997. Meyer met her husband Christian, nicknamed "Pancho", when she was growing up in Arizona, and married him in 1994 when they both were 21. Together they have three sons: Gabe, Seth, and Eli. Christian Meyer, formerly an auditor, has now retired to take care of the children.
Meyer is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and has stated that she is "straitlaced" about her beliefs, and does not drink alcohol or smoke. Meyer had never written even a short story before Twilight, and had considered going to law school because she felt she had no chance of becoming a writer; she later noted that the birth of her oldest son Gabe changed her mind, saying, "Once I had Gabe, I just wanted to be his mom." Before becoming an author, Meyer's only professional work was as a receptionist in a property company.
Meyer currently lives in Cave Creek, Arizona, and also owns a home on Marrowstone Island, Washington.
Meyer says that the idea for Twilight came to her in a dream on June 2, 2003. The dream was about a human girl, and a vampire who was in love with her but thirsted for her blood. Based on this dream, Meyer wrote the draft of what is now Chapter 13 of the book. In a matter of three months she had transformed her dream into a complete novel, though she claims that she never intended to publish Twilight and was writing for her own enjoyment. Her sister's response to the book was enthusiastic and she persuaded Meyer to send the manuscript to literary agencies. Of the 15 letters she wrote, five went unanswered, nine brought rejections, and the last was a positive response from Jodi Reamer of Writers House. Eight publishers competed for the rights to publish Twilight in a 2003 auction. By November, Meyer had signed a $750,000 three-book deal with Little, Brown and Company.
Twilight was published in 2005 with a print run of 75,000 copies. It reached #5 on the New York Times Best Seller list for Children's Chapter Books within a month of its release, and later rose to #1. Foreign rights to the novel were sold to over 26 countries. The novel was named the Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year and a New York Times Editor's Choice.
Following the success of Twilight (2005), Meyer expanded the story into a series with three more books: New Moon (2006), Eclipse (2007), and Breaking Dawn (2008). In its first week after publication, New Moon reached #5 on the New York Times Best Seller List for Children's Chapter Books, and in its second week rose to the #1 position, where it remained for the next eleven weeks. In total, it spent over 50 weeks on the list. After the release of Eclipse, the first three "Twilight" books spent a combined 143 weeks on the New York Times Best Seller list. The fourth installment of the Twilight series, Breaking Dawn, was released with an initial print run of 3.7 million copies. Over 1.3 million copies were sold on the first day. The novel also won Meyer her first British Book Award, despite competition with J. K. Rowling's The Tales of Beedle the Bard. The series has sold over 100 million copies worldwide in 37 languages. In 2008, the four books of the series claimed the top four spots on USA Today's year-end bestseller list, making Meyer the first author to ever achieve this feat as well as being the bestselling author of the year. The Twilight novels held the top four spots on USA Today's year-end list again in 2009.
In August 2009, USA Today revealed that Meyer broke J.K. Rowling's record on their bestseller list; the four Twilight books had spent 52 straight weeks in the top 10. The books have also spent more than 102 weeks on the New York Times Best Seller List.
Upon the completion of the fourth entry in the series, Meyer indicated that Breaking Dawn would be the final novel to be told from Bella Swan's perspective. Midnight Sun was to be a companion novel to the series. It would be a retelling of the events of the novel Twilight, but from the perspective of Edward Cullen (as opposed to Bella Swan). Meyer had hoped to have Midnight Sun published some time shortly after the release of Breaking Dawn, but after an online leak of a rough draft of its first 12 chapters, Meyer chose to delay the project indefinitely. Since Meyer has decided to pursue non-Twilight related books as a result of the leak, she made the rough chapters of "Midnight Sun" available on her website.
Meyer cites many novels as inspiration for the Twilight series, including Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë and Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery. Each book in the series was also inspired specifically by a different literary classic: Twilight by Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice; New Moon by Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet; Eclipse by Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights; and Breaking Dawn's theme by Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice and A Midsummer Night's Dream. Meyer said, "I've been reading books for adults my entire life. Growing up I was an avid reader...the thicker the book, the better." She also said she is a huge fan of Orson Scott Card, and "can't go through a year without re-reading" Jane Austen's books.
She also says that her writing is strongly influenced by music, and she posts "playlists" (from Playlist.com) on her website of songs which specifically inspired her books. Bands included most often in her playlists are Muse, Blue October, My Chemical Romance, Coldplay, and Linkin Park.
Meyer, a Mormon, acknowledges that her faith has influenced her work. In particular, she says that her characters "tend to think more about where they came from, and where they are going, than might be typical." Meyer also steers her work from subjects such as sex, despite the romantic nature of the novels. Meyer says that she does not consciously intend her novels to be Mormon-influenced, or to promote the virtues of sexual abstinence and spiritual purity, but admits that her writing is shaped by her values, saying, "I don't think my books are going to be really graphic or dark, because of who I am. There's always going to be a lot of light in my stories."
Summit Entertainment optioned Twilight in April 2007. Catherine Hardwicke directed the film, and the screenplay was written by Melissa Rosenberg. It stars Kristen Stewart as Bella Swan and Robert Pattinson as Edward Cullen. The movie was released on November 21, 2008. Meyer makes a brief cameo appearance in a diner scene. Following the success of Twilight, Summit greenlit a film adaptation of the sequel, New Moon, in November 2008. Chris Weitz directed the film, which was released on November 20, 2009. Summit greenlit an adaptation of the third book in the series, Eclipse, in February 2009. David Slade directed the film, which was released on June 30, 2010. Summit also obtained the rights to Breaking Dawn in November 2008, and greenlit a two-part adaptation in June 2010 that will start production in late 2010. A November 18, 2011, release date has been set for the first part, and a November 16, 2012 release for the second part. Following the two-part announcement, Summit is also considering releasing the second part of the film in 3D.
Entertainment Weekly has hailed Meyer as "the world's most popular vampire novelist since Anne Rice", while The Guardian described her as an "imaginative storyteller, a prolific author and a newly powerful figure in the publishing market." Wayne Janes of Toronto Sun agreed, saying, "Meyer's success points up another trend ... the virtual domination of the best-seller lists the last few years by what would normally be classified as young adult fiction," and noted, "In the absence of a new Harry Potter adventure, teens, fantasy enthusiasts and women (sales are mostly to females) who swoon at the idea of a virginal James Dean-ish vampire made Meyer the go-to gal for chaste love." Tymon Smith of The Times has described her as the "superstar of young adult fiction".
Meyer was named USA Today's "Author of the Year" in 2008, and one of MSN Lifestyle's "Most Influential Women of 2008" where she was described as a "literary luminary". She was also ranked #49 on Time magazine's list of the "100 Most Influential People in 2008", and was included in their list of "People Who Mattered", with Lev Grossman noting, "Maybe Americans aren't ready for a Mormon presidential nominee yet. But they're more than ready to anoint a Mormon as the best-selling novelist of the year." As well, Meyer was included in The Arizona Republic's "Valley's Most Fascinating People" in December 2008.
Novelist Orson Scott Card said, "[Stephenie Meyer] writes with luminous clarity, never standing between the reader and the dream they share. She's the real thing". Scott also went on to describe Meyer as an "amazing phenomenon". In an interview with Newsweek, author Jodi Picoult said, "Stephenie Meyer has gotten people hooked on books, and that's good for all of us."
Meyer was ranked #5 on Forbes' list of "Hollywood's Top-Earning Women", the only author on the list, and it was noted that the "Twilight series of young-adult vampire books have taken the publishing and film worlds by storm." She was also ranked #82 on Vanity Fair's list of the "Top 100 Information Age Powers" of 2009. The same year, Meyer was featured in an issue of the biographical comic Female Force, a Bluewater Productions title which celebrates influential women in society and pop culture. The comic has previously published biographies of women such as Oprah Winfrey and Princess Diana.
Meyer was the second bestselling author of the decade, according to a list published by Amazon, beaten only by JK Rowling. Meyer had four books on the bestselling list, compared to Rowling, who had three.
Meyer has gained a following among young adult readers for her Twilight novels, which are set in the small town of Forks on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state. Forks has thus received an unusual amount of attention, and celebrates "Stephenie Meyer Day" on September 13, the date of character Bella Swan's birthday.
Fans express themselves in other ways: "[They] dress up like her characters. They write their own stories about them and post their tales on the Internet. When she appears at a bookstore, 3,000 people go to meet her. There are Twilight-themed rock bands."
While comparing Meyer to J. K. Rowling, Stephen King stated, "the real difference [between J. K. Rowling and Meyer] is that Jo Rowling is a terrific writer, and Stephenie Meyer can't write worth a darn. She's not very good." King described the Twilight series saying that "people are attracted by the stories, by the pace and in the case of Stephenie Meyer, it's very clear that she's writing to a whole generation of girls and opening up kind of a safe joining of love and sex in those books. It's exciting and it's thrilling and it's not particularly threatening because it's not overtly sexual."
Some of the strongest criticism comes from feminists who consider Meyer an anti-feminist writer, pointing out that Bella's entire life revolves around Edward, and that she is never in control; she is absolutely dependent on Edward’s ability to protect her life, her virginity, and her humanity. Meyer has dismissed such criticisms, arguing both that the books center around Bella's choice, and that her damsel in distress persona is due only to her humanity.
One of Meyer's short stories was published in Prom Nights from Hell, a collection of stories about bad prom nights with supernatural effects. Other authors who contributed to this collection are Meg Cabot, Kim Harrison, Michele Jaffe, and Lauren Myracle. Prom Nights from Hell was released in April 2007.
In May 2008, Meyer's adult sci-fi novel, The Host, was released by the adult division of Little, Brown and Company; it follows the story of Melanie Stryder and Wanderer, a young woman and an invading alien "soul," who are forced to work as one. The Host debuted at #1 on the New York Times Best Seller list, and remained on the list for 26 weeks. In March 2008, Meyer said she was "almost done" writing a possible sequel to The Host, entitled The Soul. If she were to continue the series, the third book would be called The Seeker.
Meyer mentions having several other book ideas on file, including a ghost story titled Summer House and a novel involving time travel, as well as another about mermaids.
On August 28, 2008, it was announced that Meyer had written the treatment for Jack's Mannequin music video, "The Resolution", which she co-directed the following week.
In 2009, Meyer teamed with the skateboard and clothing company Hobo Skate Company to produce her own clothing line, consisting of a line of T-shirts and skateboards related to her science-fiction novel, The Host.
On March 30, 2010, it was announced that Meyer had written a 200-page novella "The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner". The book was released on June 5, 2010, by Atom and was also available for free between June 7 and July 5 on the official website.
In April 2009, Meyer took part in Project Book Babe, a benefit designed to help pay her friend Faith Hochhalter's medical bills after Hochhalter was diagnosed with breast cancer. Meyer donated many advance reader copies and original manuscripts for auction. The same year, Meyer teamed up with Hobo Skate Company to auction off a The Host-themed skateboard, which sold for $1500 that was donated to charity.