Who Is Stephenie Meyer?
Stephenie Meyer is the best-selling author of the Twilight book series. Inspired by a dream, she wrote the first book and attracted the attention of agent Jodi Reamer, who secured her a three-book publishing deal. The books have sold more than 250 million copies, been translated into 37 languages and adapted for a five-part hit film series. Meyer has also published the novels The Host (2008) and The Chemist (2016) and launched her own film production company.
Meyer was born Stephenie Morgan on December 24, 1973, in Hartford, Connecticut, to Stephen and Candy Morgan. Meyer has called the uncommon spelling of her first name "a gift from [her] father," who added the letters "i" and "e" to the end of his name to create "Stephenie."
Four years after Meyer's birth, her family relocated to Phoenix, Arizona. As the second of six children, Meyer took on the duties associated with being an elder sibling in a large Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints family. Between caring for her younger brothers and sisters, she developed a passion for reading, becoming an avid fan of classic authors Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte and Margaret Mitchell, among others.
Though Meyer felt out of place among the privileged population of Chaparral High School in Scottsdale, Arizona, she was an excellent student. Graduating from the school in 1992, her high marks earned her a National Merit Scholarship. She used the award to attend Brigham Young University, where she majored in English literature.
Marriage and Family
In 1996, between her junior and senior years at Brigham Young, Meyer became re-acquainted with childhood friend Christian "Pancho" Meyer (the two had grown up in the same social circles). The reunited friends soon began dating and were married less than a year later, when Meyer was just 21 years old. Meyer graduated from Brigham Young University in 1997. That same year, she gave birth to her first son, Gabe. Sons Seth and Eli followed, and Meyer experienced a busy life as a stay-at-home mom.
Inspiration for 'Twilight'
On June 2, 2003, Meyer became an author in earnest. Following a compelling dream — the inspiration for the Twilight book series, and the basis for Chapter 13 of its first book — Meyer began a frenzied writing spree. The series' early chapters explored the romance between Edward Cullen, a vampire, and Bella Swan, a human girl. Influenced by authors like William Goldman, Orson Scott Card and Douglas Adams, Meyer worked diligently to flesh out the story, often writing while her children slept.
Within three months, Meyer had created a 500-page manuscript and begun searching for a publishing contact. Using advice taken from author Janet Evanovich's website, she was eventually contacted by Jodi Reamer, a literary agent at Writers House. Reamer and Meyer worked together to polish the manuscript — among other things, Reamer insisted that Meyer change her first title, Forks, to the current title — and the book was soon presented to publishing houses. Not long after, Reamer secured a three-book deal from Little, Brown and Company, which included a $750,000 advance — the highest sum the publishing house had ever paid a new writer at the time.
Commercial Success and 'Twilight' Films
Twilight was released in 2005 to rave reviews, quickly becoming a best seller. An active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Meyer had eschewed strong sexuality in her writing, supplanting it with florid sensuality — a draw for her numerous (and primarily female) readers. Like J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter franchise, Meyer's book bridged the gap between teen and adult fiction. She also increased her popularity through her online accessibility and frequently made herself available to her fan base.
Twilight was honored as a New York Times Editor's Choice and as Publishers Weekly's Best Book of the Year. The following year, Meyer published her sophomore effort, the sequel New Moon, and sold the film rights to Twilight. With the third and fourth installments, Eclipse (2007) and Breaking Dawn (2008), Meyer's series has sold more 250 million copies and has been translated into 37 languages.
The books were also adapted for a film series amassing five installments, including The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 2, released in November 2012. Grossing more than $3 billion globally, the Twilight film series stars Kristen Stewart (Bella Swan), Robert Pattinson (Edward Cullen) and Taylor Lautner (Jacob Black).
In May 2020, following a dramatic countdown on her website, Meyer announced that she was publishing the long-awaited Midnight Sun, a retelling of the Twilight story from Edward's perspective. The author had abandoned the project after the manuscript was leaked online in 2008, before resuming work on it years later.
More Books: 'The Host' and 'The Chemist'
In 2008, Meyer released her first non-Twilight work: The Host focuses on a race of parasitic beings that have invaded most of the humans on Earth, and one girl's ability to fight off — and then bond with — her invading soul. While not achieving the immense commercial success of the Twilight books, The Host landed on the Times' best-seller list and was translated into multiple languages.
The author took another emphatic step away from the YA genre with the 2016 publication of The Chemist, about a terrorist interrogator who finds herself on the run from the shadowy government organization that once relied on her unique skills.
Fickle Fish Films Production Company
In 2011, Meyer founded Fickle Fish Films with partner Meghan Hibbett as a means for bringing literature-based screen projects to life. In 2013, Fickle Fish was behind the film adaptation of Meyer's The Host, with Saoirse Ronan starring as Melanie Stryder, as well as an adaptation of Shannon Hale's 2007 novel Austenland, featuring Keri Russell.
In 2018, it was reported that Fickle Fish was teaming with Tomorrow Studios to turn The Chemist into a TV series.
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