Kristen Stewart: "You knew nothing about my relationship before. You know less now."

Even after all this time, author Stephenie Meyer, the Mormon mother of three who became an overnight literary sensation with the 2005 publication of her young-adult novel "Twilight," can't explain the phenomenon that surrounds the grand romance between vampire Edward Cullen and human teenager Bella Swan, characters played on-screen by Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart.

"I don't know what makes people love it, I don't know what makes people hate it," said Meyer, seated comfortably in a suite of a Beverly Hills hotel. "But I do know that the feeling of being in love is a good feeling. We want to feel that emotion."

"I've always said that," Stewart said to Meyer, sitting beside her. "It's so vicarious. It's not like you are watching two people or reading two people. You feel like you are doing it. It's rare."

There's no question that "Twilight" is that rare gem: a book and movie property that stokes a kind of unquenchable fire among its largely female fan base. That following has been so sizable and so fervent that the "Twi-hards," as they're called, have helped transform Meyer's supernatural tale into a $2.5-billion business, proving that girl-centric tales can be powerful forces at the box office.

With the fifth and presumably final big-screen entry, "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 2," due to arrive in theaters Friday, Meyer and Stewart seem to share a bond reminiscent of the connection between Meyer's two protagonists.

Their closeness stems from the unlikely duo's joint goal of ensuring that the beloved material, for all its melodrama, remained intact as it was translated to the big screen. That required them to battle nervous studio executives who wanted Stewart's interpretation of Bella to be less tortured, hardened detractors who railed against overwrought story lines and pop culture satirists who often turned the franchise into its own punch line.

"Have at it. Take it. Take it."Collapse )