Stephenie Meyer (née Morgan; //; born December 24, 1973) is an American novelist and film producer, best known for her vampire romance series Twilight. The Twilight novels have gained worldwide recognition and sold over 100 million copies, with translations into 37 different languages. Meyer was the bestselling author of 2008 and 2009 in America, having sold over 29 million books in 2008, and 26.5 million books in 2009. Twilight was the best-selling book of 2008 in US bookstores.
December 24, 1973
Hartford, Connecticut, U.S.
|Alma mater||Brigham Young University (BA)|
|Genre||Vampire romance, young adult fiction, science fiction|
|Spouse||Christian Meyer (m. 1994)|
Meyer was ranked No. 49 on Time magazine's list of the "100 Most Influential People in 2008", and was included in the Forbes Celebrity 100 list of the world's most powerful celebrities in 2009, entering at No. 26. Her annual earnings exceeded $50 million. In 2010, Forbes ranked her as the No. 59 most powerful celebrity with annual earnings of $40 million.
Stephenie Meyer was born in Hartford, Connecticut as the second of six children to Stephen and Candy Morgan. She was raised in Phoenix, Arizona, with five siblings: Seth, Emily, Jacob, Paul, and Heidi. Meyer attended Chaparral High School in Scottsdale, Arizona, where her former English teacher remembered her as "bright but not overly so." She attended Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, where she received a BA in English in 1997. Meyer met her husband, Christian, when she was four years old in Arizona, and married him in 1994 when they were both 20. Together they have three sons. 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; she has stated that she is strait-laced about her beliefs and does not drink alcohol or smoke. Meyer had no experience as a writer of any kind and had never even written a short story before Twilight. She 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.
The Twilight seriesEdit
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 became Chapter 13 of the book. In a matter of three months she had transformed her dream into a complete novel, though 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 No. 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 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 No. 5 on The New York Times Best Seller list for Children's Chapter Books, and in its second week rose to the No. 1 position, where it remained for the next 11 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 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 spent more than 143 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. 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. 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. In 2015, she published a new book in honor of the 10th anniversary of the best-selling franchise, titled Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined, with the genders of the original protagonists switched.
Meyer cites many novels as inspiration for the Twilight series, including Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë and L. M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables and its sequels. 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 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. Other influences that she has cited on the Twilight Saga include the X-Men cartoon, HGTV, and the films Iron Man, Somewhere in Time, Stranger than Fiction, and Baby Mama. As a Mormon, Meyer 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 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, Robert Pattinson as Edward Cullen and Taylor Lautner as Jacob Black. 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, The Twilight Saga: New Moon, in November 2008. Chris Weitz directed the film, which was released on November 20, 2009. Summit confirmed an adaptation of the third book in the series, The Twilight Saga: 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 approved a two-part adaptation in June 2010 that was scheduled to start production in late 2010. The first part was released on November 18, 2011, and the second part was released on November 16, 2012.
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 No. 1 on The New York Times Best Seller list and remained on the list for 26 weeks. Meyer has said that she is working on additional books in The Host series and that she intends to write a trilogy, with the second and third books being called The Soul and The Seeker, respectively. In a Q&A session in Kansas City, Meyer stated that she has outlines for the sequels and has done some writing on them, but she has some qualms since The Host universe is a "dangerous place" where characters might die, and she is not sure if she wants to kill them off.
The novel has been adapted into a film with Andrew Niccol directing and Saoirse Ronan starring as Melanie Stryder, Max Irons as Jared Howe and Jake Abel as Ian O'Shea. The film was released on March 29, 2013, to generally negative reviews.
Entertainment Weekly has stated that Meyer is "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 No. 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." 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 described 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 No. 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 ranked No. 82 on Vanity Fair's list of the "Top 100 Information Age Powers" of 2009. 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. In 2011 CEOWorld Magazine ranked her among CEOWorld Magazine's Top Accomplished Women Entertainers. Meyer was the second bestselling author of the decade, according to a list published by Amazon, beaten by JK Rowling.
Meyer has gained a following among young adult readers of her Twilight novels, which are set in the small town of Forks on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state. Forks has thus received attention from fans, 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."
Comparing Meyer to J. K. Rowling, Stephen King stated: "The real difference is that Jo Rowling is a terrific writer, and Stephenie Meyer can't write worth a darn. She's not very good". King went on to say 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.
He further explains:
A lot of the physical side of it is conveyed in things like, the vampire will touch her forearm or run a hand over skin, and she just flushes all hot and cold. And for girls, that's a shorthand for all the feelings that they're not ready to deal with yet.
Meyer has been criticized by feminists who consider Meyer an antifeminist writer, saying that the series romanticizes a physically abusive relationship, pointing to red flags that include Bella's entire life revolving around Edward; never being in control of her own life; being absolutely dependent on Edward's ability to protect her life, her virginity, and her humanity; and the physical injuries Bella suffers from finally consummating her relationship with Edward. Meyer has dismissed such criticisms, saying both that the books center around Bella's choice, and that her damsel in distress persona is due only to her humanity.
Meyer is also a film producer. Meyer started her own production company in 2011 with producer Meghan Hibbett. The company is called Fickle Fish Films. Meyer spent much of 2011 producing both parts of Breaking Dawn as well as the film adaptation of Shannon Hale's novel Austenland.
One of Meyer's short stories was published in Prom Nights from Hell, a collection of stories about bad prom nights with supernatural effects. Meyer's story "Hell on Earth", was about a demon named Sheba and a half-angel named Gabe who fall in love with each other. Other authors who contributed to the collection are Meg Cabot, Kim Harrison, Michele Jaffe and Lauren Myracle. Prom Nights from Hell was released in April 2007.
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 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.
In July 2016, it was announced that she had written an adult action thriller titled The Chemist, about "an ex-agent on the run from her former employers". The book was released on November 8, 2016.
- The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner (2010)
- The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide (2011)
- Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined (2015)
- The Host (2008)
- The Chemist (2016)
- "Hell on Earth", published in Prom Nights from Hell (2009)
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