"Twilight", a bleeding success for author and publisher

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The Independent Culture

Stephenie Meyer, the Mormon mother turned best-selling author, closes a five-year rags-to-riches saga next weekend with the release of the final chapter in her vampire romances.

Launched worldwide at 0401 GMT June 5, "The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner", dubbed a novella by her publisher, is expected to be greeted by huge turnouts at booksellers across the globe.

"At this point," said publisher Megan Tingley, "Stephenie does not have plans to return to the saga."

A homebody with a degree in literature but professional experience only as a receptionist, the 36-year-old has sold over 100 million copies of her four-novel vampire story, with rights sold in almost 50 countries.

Though two successive film instalments of the book also hit the jackpot at the box-office, "Breaking Dawn", released in 2008, "is the fourth and final book in the Twilight saga," said publisher Tingley, senior vice president of Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.

In a written interview with AFP, Tingley, who had never specialised in fantasy, said the 2004 acquisition of Twilight had been "unusual".

For a nobody she was offered an unprecedented sum of 750,000 dollars for three books and world rights.

She said she "simply had a powerful, visceral response to the story and was was confident others would too."

Twilight, she added, was "un unparalleled break-out phenomenon not only for her but for Little, Brown Books for Young Readers."

Set in a small US town, the books and movies follow the fortunes of a high school teenager Bella Swan (in the films played by Kristen Stewart) and her vampire lover Edward Cullen (played by British heart-throb Robert Pattinson.

Meyer, a devout Christian and mother, has said the idea of a vampire in love with a girl but thirsting for her blood, came to her in a dream. In three months she penned a novel she claims was never intended for publication but for her own enjoyment.

Official history has it that it was her sister who persuaded her to send it to a literary agent, Jodi Reamer of Writers House, who submitted it to several agents.

"When a publisher feels confident that they have discovered a promising new talent, they will sometimes offer an author a multiple book contract," said Tingley.

"This way we are investing in an author's career, not just one book."

"In the case of Twilight, it was clear that this was the work of a major storyteller and the author clearly had many more ideas for how the world of Twilight could develop, so it made sense to sign up three books".

Tingley said the publishing house planned for the first three to come out one year apart to keep the momentum going.

"It is remarkable that she was able to write and publish five 500+ page novels in the course of four years (the four Twilight books and "The Host")," she said.

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