Interview: Twilight author Stephenie Meyer

For more on Stephenie Meyer and her work, visit Reading Until Dawn.


Stephenie Meyer made waves in the world of Mormon culture when she mentioned in the interview for her young adult vampire novel Twilight that the Book of Mormon is the book “with the most significant impact on [her] life.” A Mormon writing a vampire novel? Clearly, Stephenie needed to be featured on AMV. Luckily, she graciously accepted the request.

A BYU grad, Meyer lives in Arizona with her husband and three sons. She is working on two sequels to Twilight as well as other projects.

More on Meyer, including a bio, can be found on her Web site

The idea for Twilight came to you in a dream. Would you be willing to re-relate the genesis of the novel for AMV’s readers?

I know the exact date of my dream — it was June 2, 2003 — because it was the first day of swim lessons and the first day of my much-delayed post-baby diet and I had a hundred more things to do besides. I woke up that morning with a dream fresh in my head. The dream was vivid, strong, colorful”¦ It was a conversation between a boy and a girl which took place in a beautiful, sunny meadow in the middle of a dark forest. The boy and the girl were in love with each other, and they were discussing the problems involved with that love, seeing that she was human and he was a vampire. The boy was more beautiful than the meadow, and his skin sparkled like diamonds in the sun. He was so gentle and polite, and yet the potential for violence was very strong, inherent to the scene. I delayed getting out of bed for a while, just thinking through the dream and imagining what might happen next. Finally, I had to get up, but the dream stayed in my head all through my morning obligations. As soon as I had a free moment, I sat down at the computer and started writing it out so I wouldn’t forget it. I wrote ten pages that day — what eventually would be Chapter 13 — and that night I started into my imaginings of where the story would have gone if I hadn’t woken up. I wrote every single day for the rest of that summer, and finished the book near the end of August.

You have made no secret of your status as a believing member of the LDS Church (your bio on your author’s site, your interview, etc.). How have people — Mormon and non-Mormon alike — reacted to your Mormon-ness?

Some Mormons, especially those who know me, are surprised by my choice of topics. “Vampires?” they say, with a critical lilt to their voices. Then they add self-righteously, “I don’t read those kinds of books.” (Not all Mormons say that, some are really enthusiastic). I hasten to explain to them that it’s not like that. Unconsciously, I put a lot of my basic beliefs into the story. Free agency is a big theme, as is sacrifice. One very kind fan wrote to me and said, “instead of gore and horror there was lyrical beauty.” (Okay, so she was probably too kind). Even after I explain all that, I still have LDS friends (and extended family) who look at me funny.

Most of the non-Mormons I’ve dealt with are from New York, and have very little idea what a “Mormon” is. This works to my advantage sometimes — they do things for me, out of respect for my religion, that they might not do for someone else. For example, I’ve told them that I don’t work on Sundays, and they’ve gone out of their way to arrange events so that I can be home every Sunday. When my editor wanted premarital sex in my story, I explained that I won’t write that, and she let it go. Of course, what they do know about Mormons is always the infamous stuff. Someone I work with in New York once asked me — in complete seriousness — how many wives my husband was allowed to have.

I’m a fan of young adult fiction. I still enjoy works like Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising series, Lloyd Alexander’s Westmark series, and Hakon of Rogan’s Saga that I first read at twelve and thirteen. Did you know from the beginning that Twilight would be a young adult novel? What authors or works in the genre are your favorites?

In the beginning, I didn’t even know that Twilight was going to be a novel. I had no expectations or direction. I was just writing because it felt wonderful and because I wanted to see where the story was going. Soon, I was also writing because I’d fallen in love with my characters and I felt like I was neglecting them when I wasn’t writing. I didn’t think of publishing until the moment that I wrote what I knew was going to be the very last line. Even then, I didn’t think YA. After all, I’d written the story just for myself (and my big sister, who was the only one allowed to know what I was doing), and I was 29. It wasn’t until I started researching agents that I considered submitting the story to some who represented YA (because it was set in high school). I had it submitted as both adult and YA; it was a YA agent who first showed interest.

My favorite YA authors are L.M. Montgomery (I still read the Anne of Green Gables series through every other year or so), C.S. Lewis, Louisa May Alcott”¦ It’s kind of hard to remember who is YA and who isn’t — I read adult books before I went back for YA, so some books — like Romeo and Juliet and Gone with the Wind — I think of as YA because I read them before I was ten.

When I first e-mailed you about an AMV interview, I expressed concerns that you’d be busy with national publicity, but you mentioned that you were more worried about planning for Enrichment Night and coming up with Halloween costumes for your children. This brings up a question that often comes up among LDS writers. What is your writing process like? How do you find time to write?

Because I’m so new at this, my writing process is still evolving. I’m lucky Twilight wasn’t a muddled catastrophe, because I had no outline or idea of where the plot would go while I was writing the last half (I wrote from the middle through to the end, and then went back and wrote the beginning until the two pieces matched up). To be honest, I feel like I was guided through that process. Now I have to be more organized. When I was writing sequels to Twilight, I had detailed outlines that I used as I wrote out of sequence. I liked to write the best scenes first (kind of like eating the ice cream before the broccoli). I called them the “money” scenes. These scenes would suggest others, and before I knew it, I would have four hundred pages worth of material. All I would have to do was go back in and write the transitions and the descriptions and the exposition that I’d skipped. I find it very motivating to work that way — I never get bogged down by a difficult part in the beginning, and then when I’m stringing it together, I’m so close to finishing that even the boring parts are exciting. Right now I’m working on an adult sci-fi, and writing chronologically for the first time. It’s very challenging, but I have a lot of people reading along this time, and it helps them not get lost.

I mostly write at night, from eight — when my kids go to bed — till whenever I’m close to passing out from exhaustion. I edit sometimes during the day, but the words never really flow the same when I’m being constantly interrupted. There are some trade offs. I used to follow a few television programs, but I can’t watch TV at all now — it drives me crazy to sit in front of the box and waste time. I used to read three or four books a week, but I can’t read while I’m writing. I used to scrapbook and do all kinds of crafty things, but I’ve found that there is only so much creativity in my body — it’s all flowing through one outlet right now, and there’s nothing left over for my old hobbies. I figure I’ll get burned out someday, and then I’ll go back to my former habits for a while.

You are working on the sequels to Twilight. Have you considered writing specifically for the Mormon market? What other genres or modes of writing interest you?

As I mentioned, I’m working on adult science fiction now (when I’m not editing). When I have ideas for other books, I usually write up an outline or a synopsis and put it in a back-burner file until I need it. I have pieces of an adult murder mystery, an adult chick lit, and a YA time travel novel in there. I also have a YA Mormon comedy/romance that I’ve written four chapters of (it’s called The Bad Girl). I know exactly where it’s going, so it’s only a matter of time before I finish it. It’s just not its turn right now. So, I’m pretty much interested in everything. I think that happens when you read a little bit of everything.

What professors and/or experiences at BYU influenced your writing?

I shied away from creative writing classes throughout my entire college career. I had to take one class for my degree, so I took poetry because I knew I could fake my way through. I was terrified of creative writing — I didn’t think the stories I told myself would be interesting to anyone else, and I didn’t know if I could produce on command.

The professor who had the most influence on me was Steven Walker, mostly because he was just insanely brilliant. The way his mind worked was fascinating, and it helped me look at the literature we studied in so many new ways. It’s really the books I read that influenced my writing more than anything else.

Do you read works by other Mormon writers? What are some of your favorites and why?

I don’t really pay attention to who is Mormon and who isn’t. I know Orson Scott Card is Mormon, but I didn’t know that until after I was already in love with his Ender’s Game series. OSC is one of my top three favorite authors (right up there with Jane Austen and Shakespeare), but that has nothing to do with anything besides his magnificent writing. As for other Mormon writers”¦well, I read a lot of Jack Weyland’s books when I was in high school (and I practiced the polka with his son Jed while I was at BYU)”¦ I can’t think of anyone else off hand.

Twilight‘s film option has been already been picked up. I wish you well in the often long and torturous process of taking a story from the page to the screen. But let’s do the fun part: who could you see playing the roles of Bella and Edward (and feel free to include any actresses and actors who have been teenagers in the past decade or so — even if they are or will soon be too old to take the part)? Any directors who you think would be able to handle the material well?

I’m a very visual person — when I read a book, I usually cast it in my head as I go. So, long before I knew I was writing a novel, I was already casting my characters. My favorite actor for Edward is Henry Cavill (a little known British actor who played Albert, the teenage son in the most recent version of The Count of Monte Cristo). I feel really passionately about him getting the role, and, should I ever get a chance to talk to anyone about any aspect of the movie, his name will be the first words off my tongue. Of course, he’ll soon be too old for seventeen-year-old Edward, so that only applies if MTV Films gets to work on it in the near future. Bella I’m not so picky about. She should be an “every girl” — and so there are lots of people I think could do a good job. Emily Browning (of Lemony Snickets fame) is my first choice at the moment, but that changes often. My big worry with Bella is that they’ll pick some horrible “it” girl actress/musician, and then I will have to kill myself.

I don’t really have a preference on directors. Sure, I’d take Steven Spielberg or Ron Howard if I could get them”¦

Thanks, Stephanie!

NOTE: Hat tip to both Times & Seasons and the AML List.

NOTE: Stephenie will be doing a book signing at 7 p.m., Monday, Nov. 14, at The Poisoned Pen in Scottsdale, Ariz.

50 thoughts on “Interview: Twilight author Stephenie Meyer”

  1. Nice shout out to Steve Walker! It just so happens that I am President of the Steven C. Walker Fan Club, so it’s good to meet another fan.

    Good interview. I plan to pick up Twilight  when I get the time. 

    Posted by Eric Russell

  2. amazingly mesmerizing, seductive… It’s all an understatement! I don’t ever remember re-reading a novel so often! 

    Posted by Lisa

  3. I loved this book so much. I was literally sad when I had finished reading it. I think Stephanies love for the characters really shows. I am looking forward to the sequels. Great work!!  

    Posted by Cyndi

  4. I loved the book! I do not remember EVER re-reading a book-but with this book…I think this is my third time reading it-and each time I keep getting the same feeling of sadness when it ends and the same feeling in my stomach when the whole ballet studio scene happens! 

    Posted by Cassy

  5. mTwilight the most amazing book I’ve ever read. The beautiful descriptions and melodious dialoge were breath taking. I have certain tendancies with novel I enjoy, for example re-reading them numerous time (so far it has been about 6 times).I have to agree with the person who posted the comment before mysylef; no matter how many times I read Twilight I still am astonded by it, as if it was the first time (I was reading it). I extatic to discover that there will be sequels!
    Keep on wirtingi cant wait to hear what happens next!! 

    Posted by Nicole

  6. First of all I loved Twilight. I can’t tell you how much I (and everyone I recommended it to) enjoyed it. But my friends and I had a question. At the very end of the book does Edward bite Bella or just kiss her? Please respond. My friends and I are fighting like cats and dogs over this. 

    Posted by Heidi Reidel

  7. the book was awesome. i have never re-read a book before. this is the first novel ever that made me re-read is the third time i’m reading it. when the book was finished i was really sad it ended so soon. i would die to get my hands on the sequels.please stephanie, finish them fast,i can’t wait anymore.once i started the book, i could not put it down. this is the best book i ever read.(this must be flattering ’cause i read a lot of books.
    P.S.At the end does Edward change Bella or was it just a kiss? 

    Posted by twilightfan

  8. I have to get this out of my system first off.. I have a new favorite book. Before I read it I thought people were crazy who read a book more than 2 or 3 times, but I have read Twilight  eleven times. Many parts I have even memorized. Being a hopeless romantic, the vampire twist was a great theme to the book. There is a book signing with the amazing Stephanie Meyer at my school this week and I am absolutely full of excitement about meeting her. :D 

    Posted by Jessi Lamier

  9. Twilight is gorgeous… i am very impatiently waiting for a sequal or movie and if neither is done u will be hearing from me!! It is by far the best book i have ever read and you have me longing for more. Bella and Edward are the perfect couple and the whole vampire genre is an excellent thrill… Two thumbs up for sure!! 

    Posted by Maria

  10. This novel was a masterpeice! It was the fasest I have ever read a novel. Near the end though, I couldn’t help but feel sad that it was over. It was so well written that I couldn’t imagine how you would write a sequal for it. This was the best novel I have ever read, and remains to be my favorite. I plan to re-read this novel very soon.
    Stephanie you tuly have a gift! 

    Posted by Sarah

  11. I loved twilight!!! It was an awesome book, and I know what a good book is because I LOVE books!! It was a book good for all ages. I’m 11 yrs old, and I thought it was a great book for everyone!!! Hey Stephanie, is there a sequal?? 

    Posted by Bian

  12. 10/10
    oh my god!!!!”Twilight” is my favourite book ever…its just so…brilliant brilliant!!I cannot wait until the sequels come out!I heard about “twilight” at my bookgroup and EVERYONE loved it, not one bad comment was made!since then myself and all my friends in the bookgroup who read it have been talking about non-stop and telling all thier friends to read it!!how you came up with such a fantastic character as Edward I don’t know!while I was reading it my breath was catching whenever he was mentioned!I understand just how Bella feels!
    I cannot give you enough praise!
    thank you so much for a wonderfull read….and keep ‘en coming!!

    Posted by Dayna

  13. I remember about in October, I read an issue of Teen People, and the book Twilight was featured in it. It seemed really interesting, so I requested it at my library. Unfortuately my request somehow did not go through correctly, and I ended up having to wait til February until it came into my town library-and I think I was the first one to read it.

    I loved it, and like many people has said, it is my favorite book. When I was younger I always imagined going on adventures, and meeting mystical and magical “people” so it was really fun for me to read. I felt as if i was right there in the story with Bella, feeling and witnessing everything she was. I also remember that after I went to a fun school dance(where I actually had a date!) a while later I starrted reading Twilight, near the end, when She and Edwrd were at the prom(was it?) I just found it funny, and it felt as if we had all went to the same dance! 😀

    When I read this interview it caused me to laugh because Stephanie said that she’d like to have Emily Browning as an actress if the book is turned as a movie, because a lot of people I know say that I look a lot like Emily Browning in the movie Series of Unfortuate Events(when she had bangs), and now I just find it ironic that my most favorite author wants to fature my-look-alike actress!
    Oh, one thing Stephanie, in case if you ever read this: DO NOT feature Lindsay Lohan if you plan to make this book into a movie. Plase. Lidnsay is definately of “it” girl material, and i’d be very disapointed if you feature her.
    Congradulations! Almost everyone who reads you’re book loves it! Not many authors can accomplish tha-especially on their first novel! If there’s a sequel, then i am definately reading it!:D 

    Posted by Kaitlyn

  14. I just have to say that I never wanted to read this book intentionally in the first place. Wait for it…
    I chose this in a book challenge in london and when I got home, I didn’t start reading it. Anton ferdinand signed twilight and I was happy enough for that. (england football players rio ferdinands brother)
    Then I thought that I might as well start reading it as I wanted to see what the ‘vampire’ bussiness was about. Then when I got to the edward cullen bit in the story (in the lunch hall) I was strangly curious so I carried on reading. The way stephenie discribes him and his feelings totally got me hooked.
    I mean I don’t think there is any other human on earth that can be edward cullen!
    but henry cavill…..
    he can play edward cullen any day…as long as I can play Bella… 🙂
    when is stephenie coming to london might I say that she does have fans in london too!!!
    thnx and if i can get any more info send it 2 my email…

  15. OMG I LOVE “TWILIGHT” AND “NEW MOON” by Stephenie Meyer…they are the best!!!!~~..I really hope “Twilight” becomes a movie…and Henry Cavill is “Edward” and that Emily Browning will be “Bella”…but I hope it becomes a movie in 2008..because then Henry Cavill wont be as old! and the same goes for Emily Browning!…omg…well if they dont get the part…I hope there will be some new Gorgeous,good guy actor out there to play Edward!…,and if it doesnt become a and my guy friend Ashley want to be directors…when we are older (probally about 22 or 23 yrs old) and we can make it!!…coz we already know some people who can help with us to make it happen!…well anyway..I love Edward cullen…hes a hottie. LOL. what if it could be turned into a tv series rather than a movie?? what do you guys and girls think????…either way would be fine I think. OMG I LOVE EDWARD,BELLA,JASPER,EMMETT,CARLISLE,ALICE,ROSALIE,ESME,JACOB,and loads more!! omg TWILIGHT,NEW MOON,ECLIPSE,BREAKING DAWN,MIDNIGHT SUN,..LOL…sorry im am kinda hyperventilating….or..well..having a spazz attack more like it!!!!!!!!!!! omg omg omg OMG!!!!!! ahhhhhhhhhh!!! gunna go read “NEW MOON” now..even though i have already read it..but im going to read it for a 2nd time…yeah…im obsessed!!….anyway….YOU ARE THE BEST STEPHENIE MEYER!!! 🙂 🙂

  16. Stephenie, I love all of your books. My best friend intruduced the books to me, and by the first page of Twilight, I immediately fell in love, and knew that I had to read more. I’m sure that you have heard this before, but your writing is very inspiring. I wrote a few poems in my notebook about vampires and love. To tell you the truth, I wasn’t a very big fan of reading until my friend started telling me about the book. She kept telling me, and eventually, I told her to give me the book when she was done. From then on, I was beggining to read more than ever, but I’m not like… a total book nerd who spends all their time reading… not for your books though! I had my head shoved into “Twilight” and “New Moon” for hours on end. Sometimes I would even read outside! I’ll admit, in “New Moon” I cried… a lot. When Edward left, I was devastated, but I didn’t put down the book until he came back. Well, I have to run, but e mail me please if you get this.
    ~danielle~danny~ All the same.

  17. Stephenie meyer your books are very inspiring. it makes me believe that there can be true love.not with vampires but you know what i mean! I almost immediately fell in love with your books and cant wait for the new ones!
    Big Fan

  18. Amazing book! Gaspard Ulliel should play Edward if there will be a movie!

  19. yeah right henry cavil all the way for edward i will so die peeing my pants if they make it a movie i so want it to be its going to be great

  20. wow!
    i’m reading twilight and think it’s brilliant! i can hardly put it down. i have to be dragged away! i would love there to be a movie of twilight. its such a great story. compliments to stephanie Meyer for writing such an amazing and exciting book.

  21. this is the best book ever….eek.. i cant wait….for totally counting the days!!!….only….97..left !!!…eek..eekk. im stuck cuz i cant read anything else cuz i might forget… but i cant keep on reading it over and over……… i will get far too obsesed !!!!… more so.
    im anoyed cuz none of the books have come to The Isle Of Man yet (between england and irland)so i will have to wait even longer……but i will have it even if i have to go to america to get it !!!

  22. I’d just like to add another sheepish suggestion for Gaspard Ulliel as Edward. Yes, yes indeed.

  23. i love this book. thhis book is the best book i have ever read. i didnt’ even kno i wa finishing this book so fast.
    i hope next time you put more part on Edward because he seems nice right now but we woudl like to get to kno his darkside if he has now. we want to kno more about EDWARD. not little highschool problems and evil vampire.s more edward &bella’s romance please/.

  24. Twilight is the best book ever!!!!! New Moon is almost as good, but can I just say one thing? Jacob is a jerk. I’m sorry to those who are fans of him, but he is so mean. I don’t like that he is making Bella choose between him and Edward. It’s just not fair. Other than that, the book is amazing! Congratulations, Stephenie!

  25. Your book was amazing i loved it so much. Your second book “New Moon” was great to. Though it slowed down in the middle though. i liked it and evan went out and bought it so i would have a chance to read it. It took me only a couple of days to finish it. your a great writer Stephine keep at it.

  26. i loved this book and i think the best person is edward another is bella i almost thougnt she was going to die but she didn’t i can’t wait to read the second book hope it is as good as this one i also can’t wait for the movie and for the book midnight sun that is going to be really good i think edward should be played by someone as hot as he is love yeah by

  27. I’m a 54 year old grandma and I enjoyed these books. I like books about vampires. Good job.

  28. I absolutely love, love, LOVE this book, there is no word to describe how good it is. Stephenie Meyer is a very, very talented author, one of the best in that field. I hope that those of you who HAVE read twilight continue to read the series and apreciate Stephenie Meyer’s work, and those of you who haven’t read twilight, to READ IT THIS SECOND!!!

  29. I agree w/ anonymous who happens to be my bff, and shes right. I am head of the Twilight Cult at my school. Yeah, Im weird, I know

    – okay, i just want to say that i was listening to this really good but sad song and i think it would be perfect for New Moon when… well… you know… i dont want to spoil it for anyone. Anyway its called One Moment More by Mindy Smith

  31. i found the perfect edward!!!!! Heath Ledger!!! As long as he had the curly blond hair and no beard or anything, it makes him look old… but otherwise he would be the perfect edward!

  32. alright, a little off subject… I LOVE ENGLAND!!!! Its my favorite place in the world and i have completely planned my life around it. I’m going to write a book, (i really want to be an author), then go to England and marry some guy, come back so I’m not far from my family, and then whenever i want to hear the accent, I’ll just be like “hey hon, talk” But back on subject kind of, Stephenie Meyer and Christopher Paolini have been a real inspiration to me.

  33. Caitlin:

    I appreciate your enthusiasm. I should mention to you and all other Twilight fans that although Stephanie Meyer was kind enough to do a Q&A with this blog (A Motley Vision), I don’t believe that she is a regular reader and the best to contact her and connect with other fans is at her personal Web site and/or MySpace page.

    Not that we don’t like the comments. I just would hate for Twilight fans to miss out on more effective ways to reach Stephanie and discuss her work with each other. 🙂

  34. You have to hand it to stephenie meyer, she is the best author in the entire universe!!!! I’ve heard that there will be a movie of twilight. I dont think there will ever be a person who could play Edward. He is too perfect!! Jacob either. There cant be a jacob in this world unless he comes right out of the book!! I wish stephenie meyer could come to new jersey!! She has many fans there too!! Don’t forget that NJ is the most densly populated state in the us!! I can just say that all of my friends have read her books and are giving me updates on when the books are coming out and if the first chapters of midnight sun are on the web. If you want to read that, go to!! It is the best!

  35. Harry Potter kicked Stephanie Myer’s butt! It’s about ten million times better. Twilight was the stupidest book in the world. Edward totaly sucked and Bella was just retarded. It was a pointless and stupid book! Vampires are gross and crappy. Who cares?

  36. omg whoever likea is should just die i mean stephanie is the best author in the world and i can kick ur butt cause i made every boy in my class cry so dont think i cant and im a girl and like girls rock i am now gonna be stephanies body guard for words cause she is sooooooooo kool and i dont care wat you think likea w.e and how do u know i could be a vampire i could just run over and kill you … you know i havnt fed since the weekend and my eyes are now pitch black so good bye bid fat loser….oh and to all those kool people that love stephanie you guys rock so much i soo want bella to turn into a vampire so edward and bella can be together foreveri mean its just soo annoying … the tension is killing me …oh im gonna die i cant wait till agust 7th for eclipse to come out im gonna die ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!……………………oh we need more romance between bella and edward lots and lots and lots and lots and lots more like omg ….u rock stephanie…….bye

  37. i forgot to add something to my earlier comment its to the butthead called likea harry potter couldnt hold a candle to stephenie she is the best author in the world and i should know cause the longest ive gone without reading a book is like 3 days so u can just shut your mouth and face the facts that stephenie meyer can kick ANYONE’S butt so there

  38. Okay, first of all. Those of you who don’t like twilight, i can understand how you wouldn’t like the plot, (i loved it, though) but if you had actually read the book, you’d agree that stephanie meyer is an awesome writer. [harry potter sucks, by the way.]

  39. totally agree with marquis i loved the book to of course well got no time to chat i gotta go on msn

  40. marquis how old r u? cause u talk like ur old and ya thats all oh and i think heath ledger is the worst edward no offense to caitlin which acually my name to wow that is so kool

  41. Right. I’m glad that there are so many Stephanie Meyer fans out there, but I’m afraid that this blog isn’t a Twilight fan blog and I’m most interested in cultivating commenters who share the overall interests of A Motley Vision. So I’m closing comments on this thread.

    For Twilight fans, there are many fansites and discussion forums out there:

Comments are closed.