In the spring of 2009 I was in the throes of a deep depression.  I had made a horrible financial error and was facing possible bankruptcy.  Ashamed and disgusted with myself, I didn’t even want to leave my house except to go to work.  And, even that was a struggle.  I just wanted to give up on everything.

In June of that awful year, my friend and co-worker, Cathi, came into my office with a book.  She said, “You have to read this.”  It was Twilight by Stephenie Meyer.

I made a face and replied, “Isn’t that for kids?” I vaguely remembered hearing something about this book, but I really didn’t know anything other than it was for teens.

“It’s about vampires and romance, and those are two of your favorite things.”  Well, she was right about that.

I agreed to take the book; although I was sure I would never read it.  But, we were going camping that weekend and reading was my second favorite thing to do when camping besides riding my ATV.  Twilight was lying on my dining room table as I was packing for the camping trip, so I tossed it into the bag with another book I was reading, just in case I finished the other book and got desperate.

Saturday morning, June 9th, awake before everyone else in camp and sitting by the campfire I had just built, I got curious about that book .  Vampires and romance?  Umm?  I thought I’d just read a couple of chapters to satisfy my curiosity.  By the end of Sunday night, I was finished with the entire book.  Within a week I had read all four books in the Twilight Saga and rented the Twilight movie.  Yes, Twilight had won me over and from that time on I would be proud to be called a Twihard, although many friends and family (and even people who don’t know me) would think I had lost my mind and harshly critique everything I did that involved Twilight from then on.

Why did a series of young adult books about a tortured teenage vampire and his clumsy girlfriend affect me so deeply, you ask?  Stephenie Meyer wasn’t the best writer I had ever read, and there were parts in the books that made me shake my head in wonder.  But, wow, she did know how to write about intense emotions.  These books touched something that had been hidden deep in my heart for so long I had forgotten what it felt like…falling in love for the first time.  Remember those passionate feelings of loving someone so much it physically hurts; they were so strong you were sure you would die if you ever lost that love?  Through all the heartbreak I had suffered romantically in my life, I had locked those tender feelings of hope, excitement and joy so far away that I forgot they had ever existed.  But now, reading this first book in the series, I remembered them all.  I was transported back to the magical time before two divorces and broken romances, back to the idealist young girl I had been at sixteen when I still believed in true love and destiny and being together for eternity.  Twilight and the following three books in the saga brought romance, hope and a sense of adventure back into my life, even if it was only in a literary way.  But, that was only the beginning.

I needed to know if there were other women my age who had found such a deep meaning from these novels.  My friend, Cathi, who had first given me the Twilight book, loved the series, but she did not feel the deep connection with it that I did, so I was worried I was being totally irrational about my love for this saga.  I began to search the Internet for others like me, and guess what?  I found them, thousands of them.

I joined an Older Woman’s Group on the Twilight Saga website and began to connect with other women—not teenagers—who had found some deep meaning in the Stephenie Meyer novels.  They understood why I loved it so much, because they had all felt similar emotions when they had read the four books in the series.  Some said it made their marriages stronger or inspired them to lose weight or pursue some lifelong goal.  Our love of Twilight brought us together on so many levels.  We began to talk on the phone, Skype, find ways to meet one another in person, and lifelong friendships began to develop between us.  These friendships have reached far beyond our love of the Twilight Saga.  We share our entire lives with one another, and even those of us who have not met personally know one another better than many friends we have had for years and years.  My Twi-sisters, as we call one another, are always the first (and sometimes only) ones to respond to my posts on Facebook or Twitter.  They are the most compassionate and caring group of women I’ve ever met.

In spite of personal hardships I had encountered in my life, my depression faded. I bared my soul to these new friends and they never judged me, unlike some family and old friends did when they heard about my financial situation.  In time, my money woes eased, and I was able to attend Twilight events where I met more of these amazing women.  Some of them are my best friends now, and it’s like we’ve known one another forever.

Since discovering Twilight, I have gone places I had never even imagined going before; I’ve met the most wonderful people I never would have met if it had not been for Twilight.  My writing career has received huge support from the Twilight community and I’ve reached new fans who had never even read an Historical Romance novel before they met me at a Twilight event or online through some Twilight Facebook page or website.

The world created by Stephenie Meyer changed my life.   I’ve read the books over and over and watched the movies too many times to count, and each time I can identify with the feelings of love, loss, desire, life and death, because I’ve lived them all.  But in the Twilight world I know that eternity exists, and it’s a total diversion from real life.  When I’m on the Facebook page I created to share my love of Twilight I have so much fun escaping into my fantasy world that for the time I’m there I’m not worrying about my elderly parent’s health, all my never-ending family drama, my job issues, my money problems or all the other stressful concerns in my life.

I have given up trying to explain it to the critics, because they will never comprehend it all.  But recently my oldest grandson asked me why I was so obsessed with Twilight and this is what I told him, “It’s not just an obsession, it’s been the ride of a lifetime and I wouldn’t trade the friends I’ve made and the adventures I’ve had in the past four years for anything in the world.”

He nodded and smiled, “Okay, Grandma, I think I understand now.”