Author. The daughter of Stephen and Candy Morgan, Meyer was born on December 24, 1973, in Hartford, Connecticut. The uncommon spelling of Morgan’s first name was “a gift from [her] father.” He added the letters “i” and “e” to the end of his name to create “Stephenie.” The Morgans relocated to Phoenix, Arizona, four years later. As the second of six children, Meyer took on the duties associated with being an elder sibling in a large Mormon family. In between caring for her younger brothers and sisters she showed a passion for reading, becoming a fan of classic authors including Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, and Margaret Mitchell.
Although she felt out of place among the privileged population of Chaparral High School in Scottsdale, Arizona, Meyer was an excellent student. Graduating in 1992, her high marks earned her a National Merit Scholarship. She used the award to attend Brigham Young University, choosing to major in English literature.
In 1996, between her junior and senior years, Meyer became reacquainted with childhood friend Christiaan “Pancho” Meyer. The two had grown up in the same social circles and, less than a year after their first date, 21-year-old Stephenie married Pancho. After graduating from Brigham Young University in 1997, Meyer chose to become a stay-at-home mother to sons Gabe, Seth and Eli.
Some six years later, on June 2, 2003, Meyer became an author in earnest. Following a compelling dreamthe inspiration for Twilight, and the basis for Chapter 13 of the first bookMeyer began a frenzied writing spree. The beginnings of her novel explored the romance between Edward, a vampire, and Bella, a human girl. Influenced by authors like William Goldman, Orson Scott Card, and Douglas Adams, Meyer set to work fleshing out the story, often writing while her children slept.
Within three months, she had created a 500-page manuscript and begun searching for publishing contact. Using advice taken from author Janet Evanovich’s website, Meyer was eventually contacted by Jodi Reamer, a literary agent at Writer’s House. Reamer and Meyer worked together polish the manuscriptamong other things, Reamer insisted Meyer change her first title, Forks, to the current titleand Reamer soon began to present the book to publishing houses. Shortly after, Reamer secured a three-book deal with a $750,000 advance from Little, Brown and Company. This marked the highest sum the publishing house had ever paid a new writer.
Twilight was released in 2005 to rave reviews. As an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Meyer eschewed strong sexuality in her writing. Instead, she supplanted 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. A best seller, the book was honored as a New York Times Editor’s Choice and Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year. The following year, Meyer published her sophomore effortthe sequel New Moonand sold the film rights to Twilight. With Eclipse (2007) and Breaking Dawn (2008), the four vampire books have sold over 250 million copies, and have been translated into 37 languages. Additionally, the film adaptation of Twilight, which stars actor Robert Pattinson, has grossed over $191 million domestically.
In 2008, Meyer released her first non-Twilight work. The Host, a grittier novel targeted at an adult audience, features an alien romance instead. However, the Twilight books continue to garner media and fan attention, and a film version of New Moon is due out in November of 2009