VANCOUVER, B.C. — When Stephenie Meyer walks into a room of Twilight fans, there's no doubt she's their undisputed vampire queen.
* Basking in Twilight: Stephenie Meyer's The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide arrives April 12.
Ten lucky Twilight fans from around the world have come to this metropolitan Canadian city to meet the mega-selling author whose young-adult novels about an alluring vampire and his human soul mate have entranced them since 2005.
It's hard to say who's enjoying this total Twilight talkfest more — the attendees or the writer.
"I just love having the chance to sit down with a small group of fans," says Meyer, who is looking a little more Hollywood these days and a bit less like a suburban mom of three. "Bigger events are just too nerve-racking."
For this literary star, the days of chatting with a few fans at a local bookstore are over. Meyer is an international celebrity. Her books sell in dozens of countries. The film versions are hotly anticipated. Fan sites have gone viral.
This two-day chat fest with Meyer, which took place last Friday and Saturday, was a top-secret affair. Even the attendees weren't told where in the world they'd be meeting with Meyer until after they were notified they were among the chosen 10.
But every Twilight fan intuitively knows why Vancouver, home of the 2010 Winter Olympics, is a logical meeting place — the cast and crew of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 and Part 2, the final movies based on the four-book series, have been filming here since mid-February.
In roundtable discussions with Meyer at a Vancouver hotel, the winners discuss with finesse and endless authority vampire anatomy, werewolf legends, the back stories of the series' minor characters and, of course, the Edward/Bella/Jacob love triangle. (Jacob is the werewolf who also loves Bella and is played in the films by the often shirtless Taylor Lautner.)
But like seasoned journalists (many of these fans blog about the series), they're also here to ferret out juicy details: When will Meyer publish a new novel? What's it like being on the Twilight film set? What's new in The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide, a 543-page encyclopedic companion that Little, Brown will publish in hardcover for $24.99 on April 12? (The e-book will be available for $11.99 on April 13.)
Meyer, relaxed and happy to share, tells them plenty:
•On the illustrated guide: "My favorite part is the vampire histories. There's a lot there that's new. Alice's (Cullen) back story is one no one has known until now. And I think fans will be surprised at how much fun (Cullen nemesis) Victoria's story is."
•On whether she'll ever write more books about Edward and Bella: "The story's already been told, and I doubt I'll ever write another series based on the same characters."
•On the possibility she'd ever finish Midnight Sun, a Twilight novel told from Edward's viewpoint that she nixed when parts of it were leaked online in 2008: "I'm hoping to do it someday because I know that's what people want. No matter what book I put out from here to eternity they'll want Midnight Sun, but I'm just not writing about vampires right now."
What Meyer says about the filming of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, which because of the expansive story line is being told in two parts. (Part 1 is scheduled for release Nov. 18 and Part 2 in November 2012):
•The much-anticipated wedding of Edward and Bella has not been filmed yet, but Stewart is being fitted for the as-yet-unrevealed bridal gown. "It's such an interesting mix," says Meyer. "It has a vintage feel, but at the same time, there's an edge to it. It's really beautiful. And then on Kristen — oh, she looks amazing in clothes —and in that dress she's so lithe and unbelievable."
•On working with Pattinson and Lautner: "Rob is more like Jacob than Edward. He's goofy, he's funny, he doesn't take much seriously. But he can turn Edward on like that (she snaps her fingers) when he needs to be Edward. Taylor's who we hang out with most. He's a lot like fun, happy Jacob."
•On her expanded role as co-producer of the two new movies: "The big difference is just being there and seeing everything. I feel I've seen so much of the movie and really understand what it will look like. There are still a lot of compromises. That hasn't changed. It doesn't make a huge difference, but I have a producer credit, which is crazy."
Some mysteries remain
One question she won't answer: whether the werewolf/shape shifter Jacob and Renesmee, the human/vampire hybrid child of Edward and Bella, could ever have children. (Jacob is a teenager, but baby Renesmee is aging at an accelerated rate.) "That is a question I'm reserving the right not to answer, because there is a chance I'll go back to their story."
Not having to worry about or miss her family has allowed her to spend the time she needs on set. She talks about the production with the caveat that everything and anything about it can change.
Fans, says Meyer, can expect a surprising performance when Stewart transforms from human to vampire. "She's created a new character. I was really impressed. I've only really seen her as (the human) Bella, so to have her step up and change it in the right way — she didn't have to talk to me. She knew. She knows the character so well now. She has really good instincts, and she looks amazing."
Meyer says the first Breaking Dawn movie may end "when Bella opens her eyes as a vampire. That's the way it's been shot. They can still do it any other way, but I think that's the general idea. You kind of have to get there in the first film. That way you have all the time in the world to explore being a vampire and those exhilarating first moments."
It hasn't hit her yet
On the filming of the birth of Bella and Edward's baby, Renesmee, which in the novel is frightening and horrific, she says, "I've only seen a rough cut and there are pieces missing, but I don't feel like it's graphic. You're not seeing it, but you know what's happened. It's emotional. It doesn't feel horror-ish. There's blood, probably the most blood we've ever seen in the series. But everything's in flux; we'll see in the final cut."
With the second Breaking Dawn movie not out until 2012, Meyer's emotional connection to the Twilight world will be an intimate one for months to come. She's waiting for the moment when the finality of it hits.
"I don't know when it's going to get me," she says, "but I know it will, and at that point I'm going to be a sobbing mess on the floor."