Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight Saga has sold more than 100 million books, spawning a film franchise that’s become an international sensation. When EW sat down with the author, 38, at Comic-Con last month (she’s since declined to comment on Stewart and Pattinson’s current woes), she was already at work on two more film adaptations, of the 2008 novel The Host (in theaters March 29, 2013) and Lois Duncan’s 1974 young-adult classic Down a Dark Hall.
After Breaking Dawn — Part 2 is released Nov. 16, we’ll have reached the cinematic end of The Twilight Saga. How are you feeling?
I’ve been holding off the sadness, but it’s starting to get to me. I miss everyone — Kristen, Taylor, and Rob. I’m used to seeing them every day.
You’re currently working on a film adaptation of another of your books, The Host. Has your experience with Twilight changed how you feel about turning your books into movies?
It’s hard to say. As a general rule, my experience has been positive, and as an author I don’t think anyone has been offered the access I’ve had. With every movie I’ve become a little bit more involved. I really like to be used as a resource — like if an actor has a question about backstory. And recently, on the set of The Host, I was the only person on the entire set who noticed that there was a cherry-picker tractor in the back of a scene. So I’m useful every now and then — I have fantastic eyesight. [Laughs]
You even had a cameo in Breaking Dawn — Part 1, as a wedding guest at Edward and Bella’s wedding.
It wasn’t my idea — and I hated that dress! I hate to look at myself on film. But the actual experience, aside from freezing our butts off, was great. I was sitting with [producer] Wyck Godfrey, who has also been there since day one, and we made up a backstory: He was a deputy policeman, and our marriage was on the rocks because he was in love with [Bella’s father] Charlie. We had a lot of fun sitting in that cold forest.
You named Bella and Edward’s daughter Renesmee, which has been a source of ridicule even among ardent Twilight fans.
I am someone who strongly believes in reality, and that you don’t monkey around with people’s names. Whether they become a stripper or a lawyer has a large part to do with the name you give them. I would never name a real child Renesmee. But in fantasy, you can name your characters anything you want. I couldn’t have named [Bella and Edward’s] child Lindsay. I couldn’t have named her anything that already exists — it would have felt wrong. I had to pick a name that I felt was completely and totally unique, which opens you up to heckling. Which I’ve taken. I take all my heckling, and I totally get it!
Someone is probably naming their real-life child Renesmee even as we speak.
Well, that really disturbs me. [Laughs]
Do you have a favorite among the Twilight movies?
Not to say it’s the best, because all of them have things to recommend them, but I think New Moon is the one that most closely dovetails with what I had in my head. It might help that I love [director] Chris Weitz — he’s a dream to work with. Everyone was fun to work with, but Chris and I really got each other.
When you were writing the first Twilight, could you ever have imagined it would become such a phenomenon?
If I’d had any idea that anyone would see what I was doing, I’d have stopped immediately. I’d never have been able to finish it. It’s a huge amount of pressure, and it’s taken me forever to be able to call myself an author. I’m a reader, and to me authors are magical creatures.
Do you ever watch True Blood or The Vampire Diaries to see what all these other vampires are up to?
No. I’m a huge coward. [Laughs] I’m actually really squeamish.