FARMINGTON — Words have power. They have an effect that can bring people with like minds together. That is what the words of Arizona author Stephenie Meyer have done since 2005 when her first novel, "Twilight" was published.
Women who read the book discovered a link that developed into a passion for Meyer and her characters.
"I fell into this world. I read the books, and I was out-of-my-mind obsessed with them," said Lisa Hansen, a 36-year-old mother of two children: Rebecca, 10, and Caleb, 6.
Hansen was a happily married woman who could not stop thinking about "Twilight" and Meyer's other novels in the series, "New Moon," "Eclipse" and "Breaking Dawn." Not sure what to do or who to talk to, Hansen posted a note on her MySpace page asking other fans to come forward.
"I was looking for 30-something moms and married people who were obsessed like I was," she said. It took a couple of days, and a MySpace group was created, bearing the name of Twilight Moms.
"I knew how lonely and out-of-place everyone felt," said Hansen, who lives outside of Salt Lake City. What she thought would be a group of
10 fans turned into a founding aspect of the "Twilight" fandom.
Twilightmoms.com has 29,000 members across the world. It is a Web site that often is visited by Meyer and the stars of the movie "Twilight" that was released in November 2008, to the pleasure of not just screaming high school girls.
Hansen believed that the not-too-much older women in love with the Twilight series probably were just an obscure group of people not wanting to admit that they enjoyed reading and rereading a young adult fiction book about star-crossed lovers Bella and Edward.
As the site grew, however, Hansen "felt totally validated."
But what was it about "Twilight" that made all of these women and some men crazy?
Vicki Ulibarri, of Farmington, believes it is being able to experience young love all over again through the eyes of a normal teenage girl.
The girl, Bella, is the product of a failed marriage. She moves to a small Washington town to live with her father, the police chief. Soon after her arrival Bella notices the Cullens. They are different than everyone else. They don't really associate with other teens.
The Cullens are vampires, but they are vegetarians — they don't drink human blood. Not wanting to be monsters, they exist on animal blood. Bella falls in love with the youngest Cullen, Edward. Not only do sparks fly, but the human girl finds herself swept up in a supernatural world that is exciting and romantic.
If it sounds unusual, it is. The "Twilight" series is not the typical vampire saga. It is more romance than horror, and it most definitely is rated PG.
That's what led Ulibarri to recommend the novel to her 30-year-old daughter Summer King.
"It had been popping up on my Amazon account for years, but I kept shutting it down," King said.
One lonely day in Albuquerque, however, King picked up the book.
"I couldn't put it down," she said, admitting that her children wondered why she was spending so much time reading.
"They know we're obsessed," Ulibarri said Friday as her granddaughters Hannah, 6, and Victoria, 4, crawled in her lap.
Victoria flashed a big smile. Her teeth were pointed.
"I want to be a vampire," she said giggling as the plastic teeth fell out of her mouth.
Ulibarri shook her head and laughed at the sight, because she too became obsessed with "Twilight" not long after King read the books.
"I gave her my first copy of Twilight' with a note in the book that said, If there is a fire in the house, rescue this book,'" King said.
The words of Meyer worked their magic again, revitalizing and strengthening the relationship between this mother and daughter.
"It's made us so much closer," Ulibarri said. "We always had a great relationship, but now every night is a slumber party."
King recently moved in with her parents. They are helping her with the girls and new baby boy Madden, 2 months old. This is because her husband, Jared King, is working in Colorado Springs, Colo., and the family is waiting to sell a house before moving.
"It's been fun having them live with us," said Ulibarri, who works as a surgical assistant in a local dental office.
A family thing
King is the eldest of Ulibarri's four children, and she is the only daughter. Of the three boys — Shea, 27, Sean, 24, and Mackenzie, 21 — Sean is the only Twilighter.
"He secretly read the books," King said.
Sean even became an honorary Twilight Mom, when he visited the movie set of "Twilight" and snagged the first official photograph of Robert Pattinson, who stars as Edward in the films.
Since that time, Ulibarri was mentioned in a fan book about Pattinson. She also was invited to participate in a number of Twilight Mom events, including book and movie release parties and book-signing events.
Sean became a friend of Meyer's by sending her the photo and communicating with her by e-mail.
This entire family is swept up in the world that is "Twilight," yet there are other stories similar to theirs, according to Hansen. She said "Twilight" continues to bring people together.
"It's brought me and my sisters closer together. It's brought mothers and sons closer together," she said.
"Twilight" also is multi-generational, appealing to people of all ages.
"The older generation and the teenage generation, we're able to relate on a different level," Hansen said. "It's more than this awesome vampire book that we're all obsessed with. It opened up lines of communication between all different people."
Twilightmoms.com is about keeping that line of communication open. Free membership is available to women 25 years of age and older with children.
The site is monitored to keep it clean.
"We're totally normal people in the real world. This Web site has become a platform for regular wholesome human beings," Hansen said.