"Tell me then… how do you become a vampire?"

Q&A with Stephenie Meyer

from the twilight lexicon

Q: If someone’s bitten with loads of venom right by the heart, how quick is the conversion and is it more painful than a regular conversion? Were some of the Cullen’s transformations worse than others?

Stephenie Meyer: About the conversion process… If there is a lot of venom in the human’s system, the pain is more intense to begin with. Like fire, the venom burns through the body. So, with fire in more places, there is more pain at the outset. When Bella was bitten by James, the fire was only in her hand. Painful enough, but not as bad as if she had several bites.

Of course, this is only at the outset. If James’ venom had been allowed to spread through Bella, it would have over time made its way through her whole system, and the pain eventually would have been just as intense as if she’d been deliberately infected with multiple, well-placed bites (jugular, wrists, ankles, etc.). So, all that early pain as the venom wound through her system is extra–an added portion of pain that doesn’t in anyway cut down the time or the intensity of the greater pain.

The greatest pain begins when the venom is all the way through the body, through the heart, and it starts meeting itself in the veins again and then burning them dry. It moves slower than blood because it’s thicker. Each beat of the heart can only push it so far. The changing/burning process is slow. The venom has to leak through to every cell before it ends. It took Carlisle a little more than three days because his bites were not deliberate or well-placed. It can be as short as two.