You came up with the story for your first book, Twilight, in a dream. From there, how did you come up with the characters?
I think you only get one dream like that in a lifetime, and it was all I needed. Once I unlocked the door, there were a lot of stories waiting to get out. Apparently, there are enough people in my head to supply me for a while.
What do you think makes your writing attract the attention that it gets?
All I can guess is that when I write, I forget that it’s not real. I’m living the story, and I think people can read that sincerity about the characters. They are real to me while I’m writing them, and I think that makes them real to the readers as well.
How do you feel about being compared to J.K. Rowling?
It’s mixed. On one hand, it’s really flattering. I’m a huge fan. On the other hand, there is a bit of backlash because then people say, “Who does she think she is?” And then I feel bad, like I’m the one going around and saying this, which I’m not. I don’t enjoy that side of it.
How do you write in a way that attracts readers of all ages?
I didn’t write these books specifically for the young-adult audience. I wrote them for me. I don’t know why they span the ages so well, but I find it comforting that a lot of thirtysomethings with kids, like myself, respond to them as well–so I know that it’s not just that I’m a 15-year-old on the inside!
Throughout the Twilight saga, there are many different kinds of love between the characters–romantic, paternal, etc. Do you have a message about love that you want the reader to walk away with?
I never write messages. I always write things that entertain me, and one of the things that I find really enjoyable to explore is the idea of love. I like looking at my own life and my friends and family and how love changes who you are. It fascinates me.
Music is obviously a huge creative influence on you. Has music always been a part of your life?
Actually, growing up, I didn’t listen to a ton. My parents were pretty strict. I only discovered music as an inspiration later in life.
Aside from Mitt Romney, you seem to be the most popular Mormon right now in the U.S. Do you feel that you are a good representative of your religion?
Being Mormon is a big part of who I am, and I try very hard to live the right way, but I don’t know that I’m an example. I hate to say, “Yes, look at me. I’m a good example of being Mormon.” I want to be the best person I can be, so in that aspect, maybe I’m a good example.
What kind of research on vampires, if any, did you do before writing Twilight?
The only time I really did any research on vampires was when the character Bella did research on vampires. Because I was creating my own world, I didn’t want to find out just how many rules I was breaking.
What advice do you have for other women raising families at home who want to branch out and achieve something like you have done?
Go for it! I didn’t plan to start a new career when I did this, and it took a lot of courage to send out those query letters. I sent 15, and I got nine rejection letters, five no responses and one person who wanted to see me. If it’s something you enjoy, put the determination and will behind it and see what happens.
If you were a vampire, what would your special power be?
I have a hard time imagining that I would have one. I think I would just be happy with not having to sleep and not aging. That would be kind of cool.