She may prefer to write late at night while her family sleeps, but for the record, there is not a lot about Stephenie Meyer, author of the better-than-best-selling Twilight series, that screams vampire. Yes, she has long dark hair and earthy brown eyes, casually highlighted this afternoon at her home in Arizona by a black Banana Republic cashmere sweater and jeans, but she lacks the arroganceassociated with vampireness. Her vibe is homey; she sits you down on her living-room couch, one leg curled up under her, and starts talking as if you had been in the midst of conversation for years. She's surrounded by her sons' toys, games, and compasses (her husband is a Cubmaster), as well as her work—her office is in the front hall. There are family photos and a few paintings of the Washingtoncoast, where Twilight takes place. The Phoenix neighborhood where she lives, a kind of desert suburb, is the opposite of the Washington coast, and lately she and her husband have been taking their three boys (ages six, eight, and eleven) on vacation to the Seattle area once in a while, to see green. "It's nice to show them that there are places where things are alive," she says.
During the day,she might go to the deli down the street for lunch with her husband ("I'm obsessed with the Greek salad," she says), but she's mostly just around—running errands, picking up the kids, hanging out, which in her case means fielding calls about scripts and producers and interviews. Even in a year in which she is theoretically taking a break from promotional activities, the Twilight industry isbooming. She cranks out chapters and reads them aloud to her boys, whom her husband takes care of if she has to go on a book tour or take a meeting in L.A. "I'm a hermit, basically," she says. "I'm just that kind of person." It's not that she has to get back to her coffin before dawn; Meyer is a homebody—even, sometimes, a procrastinator. She never gets out to movies, and it takes her a while to watchthem. "We bought The Dark Knight when it came out, and I know we will watch it someday," she says. If Law & Order is on TV at her house, forget writing. "I can't move until it's over," she says. "If it's a marathon, the day's gone."
As much as she has brought glamour to the lives of teenage girls with her Romeo and Juliet-with-blood lust story, the glamour she surrounds herself with is decidedlyunglamorous, unless you are a boy, that is—the backyard is an aspiring athlete's paradise. Inside, the kids' playroom is actually played in, though Meyer fights her sons on having to buy the absolute latest video game, indicating to them that their heads will not explode if they do not get it. "The idea of enjoying something you already have has been lost," she says. For her, happiness is beingat home or attending a Little League game or the elementary school band concert. She believes this is what success in writing has given her, a kind of luxury that would not be listed as an asset by the IRS. "Luxury for me is getting to take care of your kids," she says.
Yes, she will show up at a star-studded opening of her own film, mugging with the actors more like a schoolgirl than thecreator of this gothic juggernaut, and yes, she clearly loves her fans (mostly girls), but the very thought of her own success can make her a little queasy. Just about a year ago, on the set of Twilight—a film even the studio had modest hopes for but that eventually was a phenomenon, like everything else Meyer has touched since she suddenly appeared on the scene four years ago—she watched dozens ofpeople re-create the cafeteria she had imagined as the lunchtime home of her heroine, Bella, and Bella's problematic suitor, Edward Cullen, who is older than Bella by a century or so, as well as undead and living with a large family of vampires. "I suddenly realized that all of this was happening because I wrote a story down," she says, "and it made me a little sick to my stomach."
It's only when...
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