Q: What was Edward’s human last name? And are there any other details about his mortal life that you could pass on to us?
A: Edward’s full name is Edward Anthony Masen Cullen. His mother’s name is Elizabeth and his father’s name is also Edward. His human life in Chicago was fairly happy and uneventful. His parents were moderately wealthy (his father was a successful lawyer). The biggest worry in his mother’s life before they were all caught in the epidemic was the fact that World War I was raging and Edward was only a year away from the draft (in August of 1918, the draft age was lowered to 18–the influenza epidemic hit in September). Edward’s mother will be briefly remembered in the beginning of New Moon. When he was human, his eyes were green. He is 6’2" tall (you’d be surprised at how many people have asked me that). His birthday is June 20th.
Alice’s full name is Mary Alice Brandon. She was originally from Biloxi, Mississippi. She was nineteen when her human life ended. She is 4’10" tall.
Jasper’s last name is Whitlock. He was human in Texas during the Civil War (his story will be told in detail in book three), so only Carlisle has been a vampire longer. He was twenty when he became a vampire (he was changed by a vampire named Maria). Alice’s nickname for him is "Jazz." He is 6’3" tall.
Rosalie’s full name is Rosalie Lillian Hale (she prefers to use her real last name rather than Cullen). She lived in Rochester, NY when she was human. Carlisle changed her into a vampire when she was eighteen years old (that story will also be told in detail in book three). She is 5’9" tall. Emmett calls her "Rose" and every now and then the others can get away with that, too.
Emmett’s last name is McCarty and he was living in Gatlinburg, Tennessee when he ran into the bear. He was twenty at the time. He is 6’5" tall.
Esme’s full name was Esme Anne Platt Evenson. She was born in 1895 in Columbus, OH. She was married at twenty-two to Charles Evenson, just before he was shipped overseas to fight in WWI. He returned in 1919. She ran away from him in 1920, pregnant with their first child. She lost that child in 1921 in Ashland, WI, and attempted to commit suicide–she was 26. She was brought to the hospital where Carlisle was working nights. Esme is 5’6" tall.
Carlisle is 6’2".
Q: Other than Debussy, what kinds of music does Edward listen to? Does he prefer classical or has he a favorite modern style of music?
A: Edward likes a wide range of music (he has a lot of time on his hands for listening). He likes classical, jazz, progressive metal, alternative rock, punk rock, and some emo. He prefers indie rock to mainstream. He doesn’t prefer rock over classical–he appreciates both. As a general rule, he doesn’t like country.
Q: Does Bella have an after school job? I imagine her making a mess at work and getting fired for it, but that’s just me! HA!
A: Bella gets a part-time job during her first summer in Forks to save money for college. When book two begins, she’s been working at Newton’s Olympic Outfitters for three months. Mike Newton is her co-worker. As son of the owners, he had some influence on her getting the job (that doesn’t come up in book two, though).
Q: I have LOADS of questions about Esme and Carlisle. That whole relationship and back-story is one that I nearly wrote about but decided there were just too many blanks. Was Esme married as a human, and if so, what happened to her husband? I can’t imagine that Esme was too thrilled to discover her attempt to end her life had transformed into an eternal existence. It’s difficult for me to accept that Esme fell in love with Carlisle right away. How long after her transformation was she able to see him as the gentle man we know from the book? Any and all information about their relationship would be very helpful.
A: To understand how Carlisle and Esme fell in love, you have to know Esme’s story.
So you’ve seen a little be of Esme’s life above–it wasn’t so great. Her marriage was all but arranged by her parents. She wasn’t in love with the man she married, though she was willing to give it a try. She wanted very much to fall in love with anyone, but she’d never met anyone that measured up to an encounter she had when she was sixteen. I’d better describe that a bit:
In 1911, Esme broke her leg falling out of a tree she’d climbed. Her family lived on a farm on the outskirts of Columbus. The local doctor was away, and it was after dark by the time they got her to the small hospital in Columbus. She was treated by a Dr. Cullen. It was his last month in town (he was already claiming to be 35). She never got over the experience.
Esme was the last of her friends to marry (they got married earlier back then). She was thinking of moving West to be a schoolteacher, but her father didn’t think it was respectable for a lady to live alone in the wilds. The son of a family friend, a man with good prospects, wanted to marry her, and her father pressured her to accept. She was indifferent towards Charles Evenson, but not opposed to him. She married him, and quickly found that this had been a bad decision. Charles’s public face was very different from his private face; he abused her. Her parents counseled her to be a good wife and keep quiet. When he was drafted, it was a huge relief to her. When he came back, it was terrifying.
The pregnancy was Esme’s catalyst to escape. She knew she wasn’t letting a child be brought into that home. She ran to a second cousin that lived in Milwaukee, and then moved further north when word of her whereabouts leaked to her parents. She blended in easily, pretending to be one of the many war widows. She taught school in a small community outside Ashland. When her baby died (lung infection) just a few days after he was born, she had nothing left. She had no idea that Carlisle was working in the little hospital in Ashland when she jumped off the cliff outside the town. Carlisle remembered her, of course, remembered her as the happy girl she had been at sixteen. He didn’t want her to die.
So you can imagine what she thought when she opened her eyes, in all that pain, and saw the face that she’d never forgotten in a decade.
Hopefully that gives you some insight into how quickly and easily Esme and Carlisle’s relationship formed. She was not really that upset to find out she was a vampire–she didn’t take it as in stride as Emmett, but she was just happy to be with the man/vampire of her dreams. She did always have that maternal ache, and, as the physically oldest of the Cullens, she fell into a mothering role.
Q: You mentioned that Rosalie and Emmett had a wedding. What about the others? Are Jasper and Alice married, too?
A: Rosalie is all about show; Emmett loves to make her happy–hence, lots of elaborate weddings. (When her history is public record, I think it will be more clear why she is the way she is.) Alice and Jasper aren’t into show, but they have the deeper relationship. They are married, but once was enough for them. Esme and Carlisle are also married, again, just the one time.
Q: How young do the vampires pretend to be and how old can they manage to pass for? Obviously, Edward looks the youngest at 17, but the other “siblings” were in their 20s when they were changed. Do they all claim to be the same age when they first arrive in a city? And how long can they stay before the humans grow suspicious? At 17, I would think Edward has a hard time passing for anything older than 25.
A: The Cullens each have their own range of ages they can get away with. Carlisle is the key, since he likes to work as a doctor; it’s his range that dictates the length of time they can stay in one place. Though he is only 23, he usually pretends to be somewhere from twenty-eight to thirty-five. If no one is getting suspicious (with Edward, they can gauge that) and they like where they are, sometime they push it. They can all get away with older more easily than younger because of their mature way of speaking and acting. Edward’s range is about fifteen to mid-twenties. He has been to medical school twice (helping Carlisle keep current), but he’s never tried to practice. He can’t handle blood the way Carlisle can. Emmett and Jasper have a hard time passing for younger than eighteen, but with their perfect credentials (birth certificates, driver’s licenses, etc.) people tend to accept whatever story they tell.
Q: Do the vampires have fangs or not? Edward flashes his white teeth plenty of times, but at no point do we ever see his fangs. Do they grow when they hunt?
A: My vampires do not have fangs. Their teeth are so sharp and strong that fangs are hardly necessary (they could bite through steel, if so inclined–a human neck is like butter, ha ha). The non-vegetarian vampires don’t leave living victims (unless they are changing someone into a vampire); this isn’t the neat-and-tidy, two-small-holes-in-the-neck kind of vampire attack that you see in other vampire mythologies.
Q: Do the vampires have blood in their veins even though their heart no longer pumps? What would happen if they were cut or injured in some way?
A: Most human fluids are absent in my vampires. No sweat, no tears, no blood besides that which they ingest–they don’t have their own blood. They do sort of have saliva–the venom makes their mouths wet, at least. When they drink blood, it runs through their body and makes them strong. It floods through their old blood ways, though they don’t have circulation anymore. It lightens their eyes* and flushes their skin slightly.
*This reminds me of a question I’ve answered recently. I thought it was pretty obvious, but then, I tend to do think everything is obvious (one of my editor’s greatest tasks is getting me to explain myself more thoroughly). Vampires who drink human blood have dark reddish irises that fade to black as they get thirstier. If a Cullen were to drink human blood, his/her eyes would turn burgundy. It takes about two weeks without blood for vampire eyes to go entirely black. If that Cullen then returned to an animal diet, his/her eyes would return to dark gold.
Another eye note: brand-newly created vampires are recognizable by their eyes, which are a vivid, bright red due to the massive amount of human blood (the blood that was already in the human at the time he/she was changed) that lingers in the tissues. That red fades slowly over the course of a year. New vampires are also immensely strong for their first year of life, also a product of the excess of blood left in the body. This residual blood does nothing to affect thirst–young vampires are always thirsty.
And since we’re talking physiology…I’ve had tons of people ask if vampires can have babies. The answer is no. When someone becomes a vampire, it’s as if they are frozen exactly as they are in that moment. His or her (and we’ll go with her because it’s more central to this discussion) body no longer experiences change. Hair does not grow, nor do fingernails (if you cut your hair, you’re stuck. That’s why Alice’s hair is so short–it was growing back from being shaved in the asylum). This applies to all changes–so a woman would no longer have any kind of ovulation cycle. If she were already pregnant when she was bitten, both she and the fetus would be frozen in that state. Which would really suck–pregnant for eternity? I’m shuddering at the thought.
If a vampire were cut, there would only be blood if he/she had freshly drunk blood (and drunk a lot). Otherwise, there would only be a bit of venom. It would be like cutting into granite.
Q: I didn’t ask any more at the start, worried that I had already asked too much, but as you can see, Stephenie had more to tell me.
A: Okay, now let’s see what random details I can remember…
The Denali coven keeps getting cut out of the story. For the record, they are Tanya, Kate (Katrina) and Irina–originally Slavic, and they think of themselves as sisters, though they are not biologically so. They are all almost a thousand years old. It was just the three of them for many centuries, and then Carmen and Eleazar joined them, attracted by their peaceful lifestyle. Tanya, Kate, and Irina had an interesting path that led them to "vegetarianism": they are the originals behind the myths of the succubus. Their fondness for human men eventually led them to feel remorse for their victims, and they slowly trained themselves to resist human blood. They still like men, though. Kate and Eleazar are "talented" like Edward and Alice, but I’m not saying more than that. (Tanya gets a brief cameo in my Twilight-from-Edward’s-perspective). Eleazar is a man. He and Carmen (his true love) are both Spanish, only three to four hundred years old, and they joined the succubus sisters later on. Eleazar has quite a history, which, right now, only shows up in Forever Dawn.
Something else that has not appeared in the story thus far: hobbies. Carlisle has his medical obsession, of course. Edward likes to collect cars. Rosalie has a mechanical gift and likes cars, too (more to tinker with than to drive or collect)–it’s one of the only things that she and Edward have in common. Esme is into architecture and restoration–she’s responsible for the house. She likes to restore historical fixer-uppers. Alice loves to shop. Emmett likes competition–in any form. Jasper is very scholarly.
One last thing–there are laws, or really, just one law, to being a vampire: you have to keep a low profile. Exposure is not allowed. And who is not allowing it? Ha ha ha–read New Moon.