December 24, 1973
Hartford, Connecticut, U.S.
|Alma mater||Brigham Young University (BA)|
|Genre||Vampire romance, young adult fiction, science fiction|
Christiaan Meyer (m. 1994)
Stephenie Meyer (//; née Morgan; born December 24, 1973) is an American novelist and film producer. She is best known for her vampire romance series Twilight, which has sold over 100 million copies, with translations into 37 different languages. Meyer was the bestselling author of 2008 and 2009 in the US, having sold over 29 million books in 2008, and 26.5 million in 2009. Twilight was the best-selling book of 2008 in the US.
Meyer was raised in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) and as a child, was an avid reader. She attended Brigham Young University, marrying at the age of twenty-one, before graduating with a degree in English in 1997. With no prior experience as an author, the idea for the Twilight series was conjured in a dream she had about a handsome male vampire in love with a human girl and concerned about his thirst for her blood. She wrote the novel soon thereafter. After many rejections, Little, Brown and Company offered her a $750,000 three-book deal which led to a four-book series, several spin-off novels and novellas, and a series of successful film adaptations. Aside from young adult novels, Meyer has ventured into adult novels with The Host (2008) and The Chemist (2016). Meyer also works as a film producer and has her own production company, Fickle Fish Films.
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.
- 1 Life and career
- 2 Critical reception
- 3 Influences
- 4 Views
- 5 Leaks and legal disputes
- 6 Awards
- 7 Bibliography
- 8 Filmography
- 9 References
- 10 External links
Life and career
Early life, education, and family
Stephenie Meyer was born on December 24, 1973 in Hartford, Connecticut, the second of six children to financial officer Stephen Morgan and Candy Morgan, a homemaker. Meyer was raised in Phoenix, Arizona and attended Chaparral High School in Scottsdale, Arizona. In 1992, she won the National Merit Scholarship. She attended Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, where she received a BA in English Literature in 1997. Although she began and finished her degree at BYU, she took 21 credit hours at Arizona State University to complete her English major in fall 1996 and spring 1997. Meyer met her husband, Christiaan[N 1] "Pancho", in Arizona when they were both children. They married in 1994, when Meyer was 21. Together they have three sons. Christiaan Meyer, formerly an auditor, retired to take care of the children.
Meyer had no experience as a writer of any kind and had never even written a short story before writing her first novel, 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 series
According to Meyer, 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. She wrote from chapter 13 to the end of the novel and then backfilled the first 12 chapters. Meyer did extensive research about the Quileute Native Americans to include their legends and traditions in the novel; the only fictional tradition includes the rivalry with vampires. She wrote without an ideal audience in mind and without intention to publish the novel. While writing the novel, she joined the American Night Writers Association (ANWA) for women in the LDS Church interested in writing in order to receive criticism of her writing in a group setting. In three months she had transformed her dream into a complete novel. 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. Books signings and events at the Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe, Arizona helped to bring attention to Meyer's book and augment her popularity. 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. The novel was named the Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year and a New York Times Editor's Choice.
To her publisher, Meyer had outlined a story for a sequel. However, her publishers insisted that she follow Twilight with two sequels following Bella and Edward in college. Consequently, Meyer expanded the story into a series with three more books: New Moon (2006), Eclipse (2007), and Breaking Dawn (2008). The original story she pitched for the sequels would later be published in Breaking Dawn. Meanwhile, Meyer wrote a short story "Hell on Earth", about demons at prom night which was published in Prom Nights from Hell, a collection of stories about bad prom nights with supernatural effects. 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's fans urged her to expand "Hell on Earth" into a full novel, but Meyer was occupied finishing Eclipse.
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. In May 2007, Meyer held two promotional prom events at an Arizona State University gymnasium to celebrate the special edition release of New Moon and the release of Eclipse. For the event, Meyer wore a blood-red evening gown and signed over 1,000 books. Meyer's red dress was later auctioned for $5,500 at a fundraiser for a book seller's battle with breast cancer called Project Book Babe.
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 for Children's Book of the Year, despite competition from 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 Twilight books were in the top four spots on USA Today's year-end bestseller list. Meyer was the bestselling author of 2008, and the first author to have books in all four of the top-selling spots. The Twilight novels held the top four spots on USA Today's year-end list again in 2009. The success of the Twilight series has been attributed to the Internet. Meyer used to Internet to reach out to her fans, leading the series to be called "the first social networking bestseller."
Twilight saga films
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. The same year Meyer began her work in film with Jack's Mannequin music video "The Resolution" which she co-directed with Noble Jones.
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. On opening night, New Moon broke the ticket sales record which had previously been set by Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. 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 started production in late 2010. The first part was released on November 18, 2011, and the second part on November 16, 2012. In 2011, Meyer started her own production company, Fickle Fish Films, with producer Meghan Hibbett. Meyer spent much of 2011 producing both parts of Breaking Dawn as well as the film adaptation of Shannon Hale's novel Austenland.
The Twilight Saga was successful in the box office. With a combined budget of $373 million, the five-film series earned $3.341 billion worldwide, shattering stereotypes that only male-directed big-budget action films could become blockbusters. Despite the commercial success, the films were extensively criticized. Breaking Dawn: Part II won seven Golden Raspberry Awards (Razzie awards) including Worst Picture. Worst Sequel, and Worst Screen Couple (for Taylor Lautner and Mackenzie Foy). The series spawned two spoof films: Vampires Suck and Breaking Wind (though the spoofs received even harsher criticism).
In 2009, Stephenie Meyer was included in the Forbes Celebrity 100 list of the world's most powerful celebrities, entering at No. 26. Her annual earnings exceeded $50 million. The same year, 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." In 2010, Forbes ranked her as the No. 59 most powerful celebrity with annual earnings of $40 million.
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. As of December 2018[update], there have been no further developments, other than fan speculation, regarding a follow-up novel to The Host.
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. 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.
The novel was 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. Though the film was a relative box office success, earning $64 million, it flopped compared to the Twilight Saga films.
Subsequent Twilight publications
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 235 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. 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.
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 2010, following the release of The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner, Stephenie Meyer donated $1.5 million to the American Red Cross Relief Fund to aid victims of the earthquakes in Haiti and Chile. Those who look advantage of the free ebook were encouraged to make donations to the Red Cross.
The Chemist and television productions
In December 2015 it was announced that Meyer was producing a TV series based on Daniel O'Malley's book, The Rook to be premiered on Hulu and UK's Starz. Despite having purchased the rights for the novel with her production company, she left the project shortly after filming due to creative differences.
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. In 2018, it was announced that Meyer's production company Fickle Fish would be working with Tomorrow Studios to produce a television series based on The Chemist.
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 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.
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 J. K. Rowling.
Despite Meyer's success, her novels have been highly criticized. The New York Times called the premise of Twilight "attractive and compelling"; however, the review continues, "the book suffers at times from overearnest, amateurish writing", indicating that Meyer's relied too much on "telling" rather than "showing" and that there were excessive references to Edward's attractiveness and Bella's swooning. An article from The Guardian criticized Bella's character, calling her "a clumsy, selfish nincompoop with the charisma of a boiled potato" and Edward's portrayal as the "perfect little gentleman" who counters Bella's sexual advances. NPR criticized the novel for being a repetitive "jackhammer" masked behind ornate language. Furthermore, they found the story uninteresting and the main character unlikeable. Entertainment Weekly stated that the narrative of Breaking Dawn was at times so chaotic and outrageous that she shifted the point of view to Jacob Black which only toned down the mayhem of the plot for so long.
Professor of American religious history Jana Riess had mixed reactions to Meyer's novels. On the one hand, she found the Mormon theology strewn throughout her works at times beautiful and complex. Additionally, she stated that her stories are imaginative. However, she qualifies Meyer as a gifted storyteller, not a gifted writer, noting numerous technical flaws in her novels. Furthermore, Riess criticized the "retrogressive gender stereotypes" in Meyer's novels.
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". 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."
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 the appeal of her books were because, "[she's] opening up kind of a safe joining of love and sex in those books."
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. Meyer's fans cosplay her book characters, write "fan fiction" related to the stories, and attend book signings. Extreme fans are known as "Twihards". There are over 150 fan-made websites dedicated to Meyer and her novels.
Inspired by Meyer's Twilight series, evolved a genre of geek rock called "Twi-rock", similar in purpose to wizard rock inspired by J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series. Examples of these Twilight-themed bands include the Bella Cullen Project, Twilight Music Girls, Be Safe Bella, Bella Rocks, and the Mitch Hansen Band. The Mitch Hansen Band wrote the song "By You" in hopes that it would be included on the New Moon film soundtrack. An unofficial Twilight themed fan convention called TwiCon was organized in Dallas, Texas in summer 2009 which included "Twi-rock" band performances, a Volturi Ball, panels, workshops, and vendors.
Stephenie Meyer has named Mormonism as her greatest influence. She said, "Unconsciously, I put a lot of my basic beliefs into the story. Free agency is a big theme." Meyer cited BYU professor Steven Walker as having influenced her work. She explained that he revealed a new way for her to see and study literature which impacts her writing.
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 has indicated that despite the supernatural and vampire themes in her novels, she was influenced far more by Austen and Shakespeare than by Anne Rice or Stephen King. Meyer has described Jane Austen, Shakespeare, and Orson Scott Card as her favorite authors.
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.
Twilight was one of the "most challenged" books of 2009 for religious views, being sexually explicit, and being age-inappropriate; some schools and libraries were asked to remove the books from their shelves. Stephenie Meyer is a devout Mormon; she has stated that she is strait-laced about her beliefs and does not drink alcohol or smoke. 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."
Growing up, Meyer's life and family revolved around the LDS Church. They were involved in their LDS community and a young Meyer would meet her future husband at church. She studiously read the Book of Mormon, citing the book as having "the most significant impact on [her] life." However, Meyer dislikes when media constantly mentions her religion, claiming that the press does not emphasize the religions of other authors.
Books The Mormon People: The Making of an American Faith by Matthew Bowman and LDS in the USA: Mormonism and the Making of American Culture by Lee Trepanier and Lynita K. Newswander cite Meyer as having helped bring the LDS Church more into the mainstream.
Stephenie 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.
According to an article from The Guardian, Meyer considers herself a feminist. Meyer has stated that, "the world is a better place when women are in charge." Additionally, she supported the massive success of Catherine Hardwicke, the director of Twilight and appreciated working with a nearly all-female production for Austenland. Meyer has explained that her definition of feminism is the ability for a woman to choose and the definition of anti-feminism is removing the choice, whether it fits gender stereotypes or not, from the woman entirely. She continued that some modern feminists contradict their message of equality for women by limiting or shaming certain women's choices. Furthermore, she stated that women who choose to stay home or have children are particularly criticized and that limitations on what women can do are anti-feminist in nature. Women's studies scholar Donna Ashcraft argues that Meyer is not a feminist, by definition, because her novels encourage traditional gender roles; though Ashcraft qualifies Meyer as traditional or nonfeminist, she clarifies that Meyer is not antifeminist.
Feminists discredit Meyer's feminism, calling Meyer's female novel characters "weak", "passive", and "too boy-crazy", citing that Meyer's anti-feminism is revealed through her poor role model characters. Noah Berlatsky of The Atlantic, in contrast, found Meyer's characters to be heroic. He continued that Meyer is a different kind of feminist that values motherhood, romance, and relationships and consequently, her characters lack the autonomy that comes from avoiding investment in relationships. After being asked in an interview with The Guardian whether she is anti-abortion, she refused to directly answer the question, insisting that she does not like to talk about politics and that she abhors when celebrities use their popularity to influence voters. Berlatsky argues that her refusal to answer the question was not to avoid revealing her political position, but rather out of "respect for women's lives and women's choices".
Leaks and legal disputes
Midnight Sun was to be a companion novel to the series, intending to 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 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. Upset by the release of a draft she called "messy and flawed", Meyer decided to pursue books unrelated to Twilight as a result of the leak. She made the unedited and unfinished manuscript of a lengthy character development exercise of Midnight Sun available on her website.
The release of Midnight Sun was tentatively re-planned after re-visiting the Twilight series with Life and Death, a gender-swapped retelling of the novel in 2015. However, the release of Grey: Fifty Shades of Grey as Told by Christian in 2015 halted and soured Meyer's plans to release the Midnight Sun because Grey was also told from the male perspective. Meyer stated in a New York Comic-con panel that it was "a literal flip the table moment", admitting that "Midnight Sun is kind of cursed". Since 2015, the novel has been on hold indefinitely. According to an article from The Guardian in 2018; however, Midnight Sun is "no longer in the pipeline".
In 2009, Meyer faced plagiarism accusations for Breaking Dawn. Author of The Nocturne, Jordan Scott, claimed the circumstances around Bella's supernatural pregnancy and subsequent transformation into a vampire were similar to the storyline of her novel and indicated that Meyer plagiarized the plot of The Nocturne. Meyer dismissed the accusation, claiming she had not heard of the writer nor the novel. Scott failed to produce a copy of the novel to support her accusation; The Nocturne is not available on Amazon and is listed as "temporarily sold out" on her website.
Originally an online novelized "fan-fiction" of the Twilight series, the novel Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James loosely explores the relationship between the main characters, had they not remained celibate before marriage. Though the publisher claims the novel is "original and no longer based on Twilight", James did not receive copyright authorization to write the novel and some have argued that Fifty Shades of Grey may be copyright infringement. Though Meyer has stated that the novel is "too smutty" and does not interest her, she has not filed a copyright claim.
Meyer received the Young Adult Library Services Association, Best Fiction for Young Adults Award for Twilight in 2006. In 2008, USA Today named Meyer "Author of the Year". The following year, Meyer was awarded the British Book Awards Children's Book of the Year for Breaking Dawn
- Twilight (October 5, 2005)
- New Moon (September 6, 2006)
- Eclipse (August 7, 2007)
- Breaking Dawn (August 2, 2008)
- The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner (June 5, 2010)
- The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide (April 12, 2011)
- Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined (October 6, 2015)
- Midnight Sun (leaked, unedited partial draft)
- "Hell on Earth", published in Prom Nights from Hell (April 2007)
- Hero at the Grocery Store (December 2006)
|2008||Twilight||Yes||Diner customer (uncredited)|||
|2008||The Resolution||Yes||Music video for The Resolution by Jack's Mannequin, co-director with Noble Jones|||
|2011||Breaking Dawn – Part 1||Yes||Yes||Part one of film based on her novel Breaking Dawn, wedding guest (uncredited),|||
|2012||Breaking Dawn – Part 2||Yes||Part two of film based on her novel Breaking Dawn|||
|2013||The Host||Yes||Film based on her novel The Host|||
|2013||Austenland||Yes||Film based on novel of the same name by Shannon Hale|||
|2018||Down a Dark Hall||Yes||Film based on novel of the same name by Lois Duncan|||
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