There is so much supernatural angst and drama in the Twilight Saga books and films, it's hard to believe author Stephenie Meyer is so, well, normal.
''Disappointed?'' the 38-year-old writer says, enjoying the observation that she's nothing like her books might suggest. Meyer is dressed elegantly in black pants, suede boots and a red top with vintage blue cameo necklace. She calls my accent ''cute'' and says how much she wants to visit Australia - and makes it all feel like more than just polite small talk. It's hard to see why she avoids interviews, as she's clearly in her element talking about the final film, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2.
Meyer also loves a good joke, Twilight actor Taylor Lautner says. ''Stephenie was the last person I expected to be a practical jokester,'' he says, ''but all of a sudden when we were filming this movie, we exchanged practical jokes and suddenly we had this war going the whole time.''
This lights up the happily married mother of three boys, aged 15, 12 and 10. ''I had the chef at a restaurant create a vampire cheesecake and write on it 'Team Edward' and send it to [Lautner's] table,'' she reveals, ''and later that night he sent one back that said 'Team Potter', made into the shape of a wizard hat.''
Meyer is one of the most successful writers in the world, alongside her supposed ''nemesis'', J.K. Rowling. She's sold more than 120 million books and the Twilight films have grossed more than $US2.5 billion worldwide. Her four books have become five films: Twilight, The Twilight Saga: New Moon, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse and The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, parts one and two. But unlike Rowling, who is a recognisable star in her own right, few people know what Meyer even looks like, or that she lives in a modest (now gated) house in Cave Creek, Arizona, a tourist town (population 5000) on the way to the Grand Canyon.
''I've never met J.K. Rowling but I don't think she [would be] interested in meeting me,'' Meyer says. ''I do totally admire her work, however, and think she's brilliant.
''My middle son is obsessed with Harry Potter; that's the book that started him reading, so of course I'm grateful to her for that.''
Like Rowling, Meyer was a full-time mum in 2003 when the idea for the Twilight saga first came to her. ''I dreamt the meadow scene in the first book,'' she says. ''There was a beautiful vampire standing opposite a normal human girl and he's talking about how he really wants to kill her but he also thinks he's in love with her. Then I woke up and thought, 'Man, what would they have done next?' I wanted to know more.''
A devout Mormon, Meyer spent three months of late nights writing the book while her family was sleeping, and also included an outline for the final book.
After a publisher pulled her manuscript out of a slush pile and bought it, he had some advice. ''He loved it but said, 'I want to go back to high school with them,''' Meyer says. ''I had skipped over all that to get to the end too quickly so I went back and wrote New Moon and Eclipse, knowing the whole time where they were going at the end.''
Elevated to a full-fledged producer for the final two films, Meyer moved her family to Louisiana and Vancouver for the consecutive six-month shoots. In the last chapter, Bella (Kristen Stewart) has become a vampire and she and Edward (Robert Pattinson) must protect their daughter from the Volturi coven. Meyer candidly admits the actors ''were not exactly the characters that were in my head'' and quickly adds, ''but they've created their own characters and stayed true to that''.
Meyer graduated from Mormon college Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, with a degree in English and married her husband, Christian, known to friends as Pancho, when they were 21.
As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Meyer is unapologetic towards critics who lament the lack of physical intimacy in her books and Bella waiting until her wedding night to lose her virginity.
''I definitely didn't write this thinking, 'I'm going to preach a moral lesson,''' she says without any defensiveness - although it seems she expected the subject to come up. ''But it just felt right for me. You write your own experience and it's not one that's popular in literature and movies right now, so it's nice to have something for those of us who are a little different, right?''
What of fans' pleas for another Twilight book?
''If I had to decide today, then I would probably say no, you won't see them again,'' she says. ''But in my mind, I've plotted through their whole lives, so whether or not I write it down, I'll have to tell everyone at some point before I die.''
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 is out on Thursday.