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The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide
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This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around April 13, 2011. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.
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It’s here! #1 bestselling author Stephenie Meyer makes a triumphant return to the world of Twilight with the highly anticipated companion, Midnight Sun: the iconic love story of Bella and Edward told from the vampire’s point of view.
Table of Contents
Working on this guide has given me a chance to reflect on how much this story has changed my life. One of the best ways things have changed is the opportunity I've had to get to know so many of my readers. I'm always impressed by the funny, caring, interesting people you are. I truly feel that with your enthusiasm and dedication you've brought as much to this series as I have. Little, Brown and I have been working hard to make this guide something special for you, and I hope that we've succeeded. I would never presume to expect that all the questions have been answered, but (fingers crossed) I think we got the big ones, plus many that no one's ever asked me before. Enjoy!
A NOTE FROM THE PUBLISHER
Since the initial publication of Twilight in 2005, readers have asked thousands of questions about the Twilight Saga universe—everything from "Where do Stephenie Meyer's ideas come from?" to "How does vampire venom work?"
This guide expands upon the world of the Twilight Saga, adding histories for its characters and providing other details that might not have made it into the books themselves but are a key part of the people and stories that make up the Saga. You'll find outtakes from the books—such as the story of how Emmett was mauled by a bear—as well as never-before-seen background notes on main plots and subplots. We hope that these added details shed light on such favorite characters as the Cullens and Quileutes; on such new characters as Nahuel and Garrett; and even on the human residents of Forks, most of whom are unaware of the supernatural creatures all around them.
Also included in this guide are artistic interpretations of the series: everything from new art created just for this book to a gallery of art conceived by talented fans to the many covers that have appeared on different editions of the books around the world.
Because music is such an instrumental part of Stephenie's writing process, this guide also includes the official playlist for each book in the Twilight Saga, alongside quotes from the books that reveal what each song represents. Also featured is an extended conversation between Stephenie and Shannon Hale, award-winning author of The Books of Bayern and the Newbery Honor winner Princess Academy, during which they discuss how the Twilight Saga began and some of the challenges and surprises Stephenie encountered along the way.
Thank you for being a part of the world of the Twilight Saga—it wouldn't be the same without you.
When Megan, my publisher, came to me with the idea of doing an interview for the guide, I started to come up with a list of reasons why I couldn't in my head. Interviews always make me uncomfortable, and really, what question haven't I answered at this point? But then she went on, presenting her inspiration of having the interview conducted by another author, and I was intrigued in spite of myself. I love hanging out with authors, and I don't get a chance to do it very often. So I oh-so-casually suggested my "baffy" (Best-Author-Friends-Forever), Shannon Hale. And the upshot was, I got to hang out with Shannon for a whole weekend and it was awesome. We did find time to do our "interview," which was without a doubt the easiest and most entertaining interview I've ever done. This interview took place August 29, 2008, which affects some of the directions that our conversation went, but I was surprised when reading through it again at how relevant it still is.
ON HOW IT ALL BEGAN
SH: So, let's look at the four different books first. Twilight—it started with a dream.
SM: Right. Should I tell the story—and get it on record?
SH: Do you want to?
SM: I'd like to. This story always sounds really fake to me. And when my publicist told me I needed to tell it—because it was a good story for publicity reasons—I felt like a lot of people were going to say: "You know, that's ridiculous. She's making up this silly thing to try and get attention." But it's nothing but the cold hard facts of how I got started as a writer.
Usually, I wake up around four o'clock in the morning. I think it's a baby thing—left over from knowing that somebody needs you—and then I go back to sleep. That's when I would have the most vivid dreams—those morning hours. And those are the ones you remember when you wake up.
So the dream was me looking down on this scene: It was in this meadow, and there was so much light. The dream was very, very colorful. I don't know if that always comes through in the writing—that this prism effect was just so brilliant.
I was so intrigued when I woke up. I just sat there and thought: So how does that end?
SH: The sunlight on Edward's skin?
SM: Yeah. There was this beautiful image, this boy, just glittering with light and talking to this normal girl. And the dream really was about him. She was also listening, as I was, and he was the one telling the story. It was mostly about how much he wanted to kill her—and, yet, how much he loved her.
In the dream I think I'd gotten most of the way through what's chapter 13 now. The part where he recounts how he felt in each specific previous scene was obviously put in later, because I hadn't written those earlier scenes yet. But everything else in that scene was mostly what they were actually talking about in the dream. Even the analogy about food was something that I got in my dream.
I was so intrigued when I woke up. I just sat there and thought: So how does that end? Does he kill her? Because it was really close. You know how, in dreams, it's not just what you hear, but you also kind of feel what's going on, and you see everything that the person in your head sees. So I knew how close it was. I mean, there was just a thin, thin line between what he was going to choose. And so I just wondered: How would they have made that work? What would be the next step for a couple like this?
I had recently started realizing that my memory was going, and that I could no longer remember whom I had said something to yesterday. My youngest was just passing one, and the next one was two, and I had an almost-five-year-old. So my brains were like oatmeal—there was nothing left. And so I knew I was going to forget this story! That realization was something that really hurt me.
You know, when I was a kid, I always told myself stories, but I didn't write them down. I didn't have to—my memory was great then. So I could always go back and revisit the one about this, the one about that, and go over and refine it. But this one was going to get lost if I didn't do something about it. So after I got the kids' breakfast done, I only had two hours before swim lessons. And, even though I should have been doing other things, I started writing it out.
It wasn't the dream so much as that day of writing that made me a writer.
It wasn't the dream so much as that day of writing that made me a writer. Because the dream was great, and it was a good story. But if I'd had my memory [laughs] it would have stayed just a story in my head. And I would have figured out everything that happened, and told it to myself, but that would have been it.
But writing it down and making it real, and being able to go back and reread the sentences, was just a revelation to me. It was this amazing experience: Wow! This is what it's like to write down stories. I was just hooked—I didn't want to quit.
I used to paint—when I was in high school, particularly. I won a few awards—I was okay with the watercolors. My mom still has some hanging up in her house. Slightly embarrassing, but they're decent. I was not a great painter. It was not something I should have pursued as a career, by any stretch of the imagination. I could see a picture in my head, but I could not put it on the canvas the same way it was in my head. That was always a frustration. When I started writing I immediately had a breakthrough: I can make it real if I write it, and it's exactly the way I see it in my head. I didn't know I was able to do that. So that was really the experience that made me a writer, and made me want to continue being one.
SH: So you started out writing out the meadow scene. Where did you go from there?
SM: I continued to the end, chronologically—which I don't always do anymore.
SH: So you didn't go back to the beginning… because you wanted to know what was going to happen next.
SM: Yeah. I was just like any reader with a story—you want to find out what happened. The backstory was for later. I wasn't really that worried about it—I wanted to see where it was going to go.
So I kept writing. The last chapter just kept getting longer and longer—and then I made epilogue after epilogue. There were so many things I wanted to explore—like why this was this way, and why this was that way, and how Bella first met Alice, and what their first impressions were. So I went back and did the beginning, and found it really exciting to be able to flesh it out and give reasons for everything that had happened later.
I had lettered all my chapters instead of numbering them. So I went back and did A, and I think that I had chapter 13 being E. Because I thought, maybe, five or six chapters of material would cover the beginning… and then it was twelve, so I was surprised about that. [Laughs]
SH: You were surprised about how much had really happened beforehand?
SM: Yeah, it just kept going on. I was thinking: Wow, this is taking a long time. And that's where I finally ended, which was the last sentence in chapter 12. And I knew I had crossed the continent with the railroad, and this was the golden spike that was being driven. It was all linked together. And that was that moment of shock, when I thought: It's actually long enough to be considered a book-length thing of some kind.
SH: You really didn't even consider it like a book until then?
SM: No. [Laughs] No, I think if I would have thought of it as a book, I never would have finished it. I think if I would have thought, halfway in, You know, maybe I can make this into a book… maybe I could do something with this, the pressure would have crushed me, and I would have given up. I'm really glad I didn't think of it that way. I'm glad I protected myself by just keeping it about this personal story for me alone.
SH: And you were thinking of yourself as the reader the whole time.
SM: Yes, yes. Well, I'm kind of shy, and I obviously had to get over that in a lot of ways. But the essential Stephenie, who is still in here, has a really hard time with letting people read things that she writes. [Laughs] And there's a lot of enjoyment, which I'm sure you've experienced, in letting somebody read what you write. But there's also the fear of it—it's a really vulnerable position to put yourself in.
SH: I was in a creative-writing class once and the teacher asked us: If we were stranded on a desert island, what two books would we take? And one of the books I chose was a notebook—an empty notebook—so I could write stories. And there was a classmate who said: "If you were on a desert island by yourself, why would you write stories?" And I thought: Why are you in this class? [SM laughs] Because if the only purpose you have for writing is for someone else to read them, then why would you do this? It didn't make sense to me. But there is something extraordinary about writing for yourself and then sharing that.
SM: I've never thought of the desert-island story. But that would be the perfect writing conditions, as far as I'm concerned. That would be great. I wouldn't want a spiral notebook, though—I'd want a laptop. Typing is so much better. I can't read my own handwriting half the time.
SH: So you started immediately on the computer, when you started writing this?
It's kind of funny to know exactly what day you started being a writer!
SH: Now, how long was it from when you wrote down the dream until you finished the first draft?
SM: I wrote down the dream on June second. I had it all marked on my calendar: the first day of my summer diet; the first day of the swim lessons. It's kind of funny to know exactly what day you started being a writer! And I finished it around my brother's wedding, which was—he just had his anniversary—I think it was the twenty-ninth of August?
SH: So this was done in less than three months—just an outpouring of words.
SH: Was the story going through your head all day long, even when you weren't writing?
SM: Even when I was asleep—even when I was awake. I couldn't hold conversations with people. All my friends just thought that I had dropped them, because I lived in my own world for a whole summer.
But here was this really hot, muggy, nasty summer. And when I looked back on it later, it seemed like I'd spent the whole summer in a cool, green place, because that's how distant my brain was from what was really going on. I wasn't there—which is sad. [Laughs]
I was physically there for my kids, and I took care of them. And I had my little ones, one on my leg and one on my lap, most of the time I was writing. Luckily, the TV was behind me [laughs] so they could lean on my shoulder, you know, watch Blue's Clues while I was typing. But I don't think you can keep up that kind of concentrated effort for more than a summer. You have to find some balance eventually.
SH: You have to come up for air.
SH: How did you? You're so busy as a mom. Every moment of the day, with three little kids, is occupied. Suddenly, you're inserting this huge other effort into it. How did you allow yourself to do that?
SM: A lot of the time it didn't feel like it was a choice. Once I got started writing, it felt like there was so much that I had been keeping inside for so long.
It was a creative outlet that was the best one I've ever found.
SH: Not just this story. But very active storytelling and creating, I'm sure, had been percolating in you for years.
SM: It was a creative outlet that was the best one I've ever found. I've done other creative things: birthday cakes and really great Halloween costumes, if I do say so myself. I was always looking for ways to creatively express myself. And it was always kind of a frustrating thing—it was never enough. Being a mom, especially when kids are younger—when they get older, it's a lot easier—you have to be about them every minute. And a lot of who Stephenie is was slipping away.
SM: The writing brought that back in with such force that it was just an obsession I couldn't… I couldn't be away from it. And that was, I think, kind of the dam bursting, and that huge surge at first. And then I learned to manage it.
SH: You would have to. But what a tremendous way to start!
SM: It was. It felt really good—it felt really, really good. And I think when you find something that you can do that makes you feel that way, you just grasp on to it.
SH: So you had never written a short story before.
SM: I had not ever considered writing seriously. When I was in high school, I thought of some stories that might be a good book, but I didn't take it seriously, and I never said: "Gosh, I'm going to do that." I considered it momentarily—the same way I considered being a professional ballerina.
SM: Oh, and I was going to be so good [SH laughs] in my Nutcracker. I would have been fantastic—except that, obviously, I have no rhythmic skill, or the build for a ballerina, at all. [SH laughs] So it was like one of those nonsensical things—like wanting to be a dryad.
And then, when I was in college, I actually wrote a couple chapters of something… because I think it's the law: When you're an English major, you have to consider being an author as a career. But it was a ridiculous thing. I mean, there's no way you can make a living as a writer—everybody knows that. And, really, it's too hard to become an editor—that's just not a practical solution. If you're going to support yourself, you have to think realistically. You know, I was going to go to law school. I knew I could do that. I knew that if I worked hard, I'd be kind of guaranteed that I could at least get a decent job somewhere that would pay the bills.
There's no guarantee like that with writing, or anything in the publishing industry. You're not guaranteed that you will be able to feed yourself if you go down that path, and so I would have never considered it. I was—I still am—a very practical person.
SH: So you really had to go into it from the side… by fooling yourself that you're not actually writing a book.
SM: I think there was this subconscious thing going on that was protecting me from thinking of the story in a way that would keep me from being able to finish it.
I always needed that extra fantasy world. I had to have another world I could be in at the same time.
SH: Right. But, of course, you were a reader. You've been an avid reader for your whole life.
SM: That was always my favorite thing, until I found writing. My kids and my husband used to tease me, because my hand would kind of naturally form this sort of bookholder [SH laughs], this claw for holding books. Because I had the baby in one arm and the book in the other—with the bottle tucked under my chin and the phone on my shoulder. [Laughs] You know, the Octopus Mom. But I always had a book.
I always needed that extra fantasy world. I had to have another world I could be in at the same time. And so, with writing, I just found a way to have another world, and then to be able to be a lot more a part of it than as a reader.
SH: I think it's part of multitasking. I wonder if most writers—I know moms have to be this way, but most writers, too—have to have two things going on at once just to stay entertained.
SM: Exactly. [Laughs]
SH: It's not that I'm unsatisfied, because I love my life. I'm a mom, too, of small kids—and I love my husband—but I also need something else beyond that. I need another story to take me away.
SM: You know, it's funny. As I've become a writer, I started looking at other writers and how they do things, and everybody's very different. I read Atonement recently, and I was interested in the way Ian McEwan writes about being a writer through the character's standpoint…. She's always seeing another story. She's doing one thing—but, then, in her head, it becomes something else, and it turns into another story.
It's kind of like what you were saying about writers needing that extra reality to escape to. I think that writers maybe do have just that need for more than one reality. [Laughs]
SH: You know, we're not really sure if it's insanity or it's a superpower.
SM: But it's an insanity that doesn't hurt anybody.
SH: Right. It's kind of friendly, cozy, fuzzy insanity.
ON THE WRITING PROCESS
SH: I think you must write much better first drafts than I do.
- On Sale
- Apr 13, 2011
- Page Count
- 560 pages
- Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Stephenie Meyer is the author of the The Chemist, the #1 bestselling Twilight Saga and The Host. She graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in English literature, and she lives with her husband and three sons in Arizona.
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