All the money, the fans, the fame it's nothing compared with the high she's still riding from plucking that first story from her imagination and putting it to paper. She already has a first and second sequel to The Host mapped out in her head. She's written four chapters of a ghost story that she's calling Summer House. Then there's the time-travel novel that she figured out the ending to this very morning while putting on her makeup. And, of course, to her ardent fans' delight, she has half of Midnight Sun, a retelling of Twilight from Edward's point of view, lurking on her computer. There's pressure to polish it off and have it ready for next summer, but Meyer is playing it cool. ''I haven't sold Midnight Sun yet,'' she says. ''It's for me still. I'll probably sell it when I'm done, for one reason: I want to have it bound up on my shelf with the others. Or,'' she laughs, ''maybe I'll just publish it on my website.'' (In a land far, far away, blood seeps from her publisher's ear.) ''Since I discovered how amazing it is to write a story, I can't stop,'' Meyer continues. ''But the publishing and all the politics and the negativity? I don't know if it will be worth putting the stories out there forever.'' So for now she's under contract to no one; there are no more deadlines. She plans to take a solid year just to write. It's the stories that matter most, not the circus surrounding them.
To that end, Meyer hopes the four-city swing for Breaking Dawn, on which Blue October frontman Justin Furstenfeld will serve as her opening act, will be her swan-song tour. (''Though I imagine I'll get talked into it again because I'm a marshmallow.'') Her big sister Emily, who lives in Salt Lake, remembers somewhat wistfully when Meyer used to greet 20 fans instead of 2,000. ''It would be me and my five little friends, because of course I loaned out my books and got my whole neighborhood reading, and we'd go to the ice cream store, and she'd read some of the Midnight Sun manuscript to us,'' Emily says. ''Those were the gatherings that Stephenie really loved.''
It's a far cry from Meyer's recent stop in Salt Lake. She was in her fourth hour of signing books when an 11-year-old girl wearing a rhinestone-studded Twilight T-shirt leaned over the table to get a good look at Meyer. ''You're like my favorite author ever!'' she said, clapping her hands. ''I'm a person who judges authors a lot, and I don't have anything bad to say about you. I mean, I'm really tough, I didn't even like Harry Potter.'' Meyer looked confused for a moment as to what the proper response to such a compliment might be, and the young girl peered eagerly into the author's eyes. ''Are we going to feel complete at the end of Breaking Dawn?'' she whispered pleadingly. Meyer handed the girl back a signed book and smiled. ''I can't really answer that question for you,'' she said, her voice both cheerful and firm. ''But I felt closure.''
From the Archive:
Stephenie Meyer: The EW Q&A (Aug. 2007)