New 'Twilight' book 'Midnight Sun' coming Aug. 4; author Stephenie Meyer says 'it’s definitely darker'

Barbara VanDenburgh, USA TODAY
·3 min read
"Midnight Sun," by Stephenie Meyer.
"Midnight Sun," by Stephenie Meyer.

Coronavirus has put a kink in a lot of best-laid plans in the creative industry, forcing movie studios, recording studios and publishers to shift the release dates of films, albums and books to better their chances at finding their audiences.

Luckily, vampires are immune to such human concerns. Lockdown is about to get a whole lot sparklier for “Twilight” fans: Stephenie Meyer is adding a new book to the beloved franchise.

“Midnight Sun,” the fifth book in the young-adult “Twilight” series, is set to be published Aug. 4 by Hachette Book Group and Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.

“I know there are people who have been patiently waiting, so kindly, and I felt like I owed it to them to put it out as soon as I could,” Meyer says of her new book in a phone interview with USA TODAY.

Book review: Sara Sligar's debut novel 'Take Me Apart' a dark and absorbing psychological drama

Obsessive fans will already be familiar with the title and concept of “Midnight Sun.” The long-anticipated retelling of the original “Twilight” novel from vampire Edward Cullen’s perspective has been teased for over a decade.

The original "Twilight" saga, four books published between 2005 and 2008, told the sprawling supernatural love story between teenage every girl Bella Swan and her century-old heartthrob vampire paramour from the girl’s vantage point. Now, readers will get to experience the story from the other side.

“It’s definitely darker, and I would say more desperate,” Meyer says of the new book. “The stakes are way higher from (Edward's) perspective.”

The book began as a sort of writing exercise for Meyer, who says she’s been writing it on and off for about 14 years while working on other things (including her two adult novels, “The Host” in 2008 and “The Chemist” in 2016). It proved a special challenge, finding an interesting way to retell a story while handcuffed to an established narrative.

“It was not the brightest idea,” Meyer says with a laugh. Certain things had to happen, and certain dialogue spoken, for “Midnight Sun” to align with “Twilight.”

Book review: Loneliness a hidden and serious health scourge, Vivek Murthy argues in timely book

“Metaphorically they were like prison bars,” Meyer says. “By far the most exciting part of writing this, hands down, is the fourth act where Edward and Bella are separated, so then I’m free to do whatever I want."

Ultimately, though, she says writing “Midnight Sun” made her a better, more thoughtful writer, as she was forced to consider scenes from other perspectives and better flesh out her supporting characters. Still, after all these years and over 100 million books sold, she worries about letting down her legion of die-hard fans.

“That’s a huge concern with this book,” Meyer says. “I think people are not going to maybe have anticipated exactly what Edward was thinking and doing when he wasn’t onscreen, so to speak. I don’t know if it will be the Edward that they imagined. I think it might be an Edward that’s a lot different than that.”

"Twilight" author Stephenie Meyer.
"Twilight" author Stephenie Meyer.

And although vampires could be immune to coronavirus, it wasn’t easy to commit to a publication date in the midst of a global pandemic, Meyer says. The original release plans were made before the widespread emergence of the coronavirus, which has since thrown creative industries into a tailspin.

Ultimately, feelings trumped pragmatism – one of the winning qualities that has made her books such massive best sellers in the first place. Meyer felt like she owed it to her fans.

“There’s so much going on that’s negative and bad, and I can’t really do much about most of that,” she says. “But if I can give people something to be excited about, something to think about that’s not bad, then that’s a win.”

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 'Twilight' book 'Midnight Sun' coming Aug. 4 from Stephenie Meyer