Vampire book series brings fame to Forks

Vampire book series brings fame to Forks
Forks High School, a point of interest in the 'Twilight' book series. (Photo courtesy of forkswa.com)
FORKS, Wash. - When teenagers walk anywhere in Forks, a secret code seems to exist.

"Are you looking for Jacob or Edward?" Mike Gurling, office manager of the Forks Visitor Center, says to each as they walk in, as if it were a test.

Those in on the code emphatically name whichever Twilight character most holds their heart.

They are the dedicated fans of the teen phenomenon series of novels set in Forks.

The books, which tell the adventures of impassioned teens Bella Swan and her vampire boyfriend Edward Cullen, have remained top sellers since the first novel in the series, Twilight, was released in 2006.

"Oh my gosh, this is, like, my best birthday ever," said Raven Morningstar, 14, dancing in glee with her best friend Alice Newberry, also 14, last week.

"When I first read the books, and saw that it was here — I had been here a long time ago — and was just so super-psyched because it was, like, 'I have actually been there.'"

As a birthday trip, Morningstar, Newberry and Carina Morningstar, Raven's mother, made the trip from Seattle to tour Forks' Twilight sites.

The two 14-year-olds are avid fans and dedicated to their favorite characters — especially Edward Cullen.

Raven firmly believes that Bella will end up changed into a vampire in the end.

"But I think there will be a twist, and it will all end in a cliffhanger or something," she said.

Fans enliven Forks

The two teens are among the more than 100 fans who had passed through the Forks Visitor Center earlier that day.

They stopped at the "Swan House," one of the few remaining two-story craftsman style houses in town.

The Forks Chamber of Commerce presents the house as being like the one that Bella would have lived in.

The owner, Dave McIrvin, erected a sign to mark the residence — but he doesn't give tours of the inside.

"Our house even has a blue room and yellow cabinets like in the book," the former Forks Middle School librarian said.

The series — Twilight, New Moon and Eclipse — has consistently remained in the top 20 on the USA Today list since Eclipse's release in August 2007.

Breaking Dawn, the fourth installment, was released Saturday and will be the last book in the saga, author Stephenie Meyer has said.

The books have caused an unexpected downpour on Forks, the rainy set of the torrid tale.

Since 2007

Droves of teen — and adult — fans began rolling into town in 2007 preceding the release of Eclipse.

Enamored with the story, fans want to see the setting.

Forks has since enthusiastically embraced the phenomenon, starting up Twilight Tours, lobbying for filming of the movie, "Twilight," which is to be released Dec. 12 — none of it was filmed in Forks — and many merchants have Twilight paraphernalia available for fans to buy.

Forks Community Hospital has a sign, "Dr. Cullen Parking Only," to celebrate Carlisle Cullen, who is a doctor at the hospital in the books.

"We have about 120 or 130 people in here a day," Forks chamber executive director Marcia Bingham said.

"Not every one of them are Twilight fans, but the majority are."

A glance at the guestbook reveals comments written in bubbly cursive signing as "the Future Mrs. Cullen" or boasting being on "Team Jacob" or "Team Edward" —- Bella's two romantic prospects.

They come from all over the world — Canada, Germany, Italy, Australia and nearly every state in the United States.

Emily Winfield — now from Sacramento, Calif. and previously from London, England — was visiting family in Sequim and Vancouver, British Columbia.

She couldn't pass up the opportunity to see the spot she had imagined so vividly.

The books — and Edward — captured her imagination.

She pre-ordered Breaking Dawn, so she can devour it as well.

"The books are so deep," she said.

"I'm really excited to see what happens in the new one.

"You have got to love Jacob, but Edward has always had full claim on her heart."

"For me, it was a little like coming home," said Ashley Shykes, 17, of Nashville, Tenn.

"I grew up in Washington when I was little, and it was fun to come back.

Not all fans are teenagers.

Bill Brager, innkeeper of Miller Tree Inn, said that nearly every night, he and his wife, Susan, have guests drawn to Forks by the Twilight series.

The Peninsula Daily News is a media partner of KOMO News. To read the complete Peninsula Daily News story, click here.