A Revisit with Charlaine Harris-The Mind Behind True Blood

Zoie Clift
travelarkansas@gmail.com
 

I just came across the news
that all nine of Magnolia author Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse books (the
inspiration for HBO’s “True Blood”) are on this week’s New York Times
bestseller list. Her next Sookie book is set to hit stores May 2010. In honor
of this, I wanted to repost an interview we had with Harris a few months ago.
If you haven’t been introduced to Harris or her work yet, enjoy the below interview!


Harris created The Southern
Vampire Mysteries series, which revolves around Sookie Stackhouse, a barmaid
living in Louisiana who can read people’s minds. The series is set in a world
where vampires can live out in the open, thanks to the development of synthetic
blood. Alan Ball, of Six Feet Under fame, created an HBO series based on the
novels called



True Blood


starring Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer. The second
season began this summer. Along with the vampire series, Harris is the author
of the Aurora Teagarden series, the Lily Bard Shakespeare series (set in rural
Arkansas), and the Harper Connelly series.  Here are a few quick questions
with the Arkansas writer.

How would you describe Magnolia
to someone who has never been there before?

 

CH: Magnolia is a very
friendly town with a good four-year college and a new hospital. The people are
extremely polite and helpful. It’s a great place to raise children.

What are some of your
favorite spots to visit in Arkansas? 

CH: I like Little Rock
because it has shopping plus a pleasant, rolling terrain. Hot Springs looks
different from the rest of the state, and has a colorful history. I grew up in
the Delta, over on the Mississippi side, and I have a deep attachment to
perfectly flat and fertile!

How would you
describe your writing style? In your opinion, what do you think is one of the
biggest misconceptions about writers?

 

CH: My writing style. Do I
have one? I guess I do. Hmmm. I write very southern, very colloquially, and
lately I’ve been writing humorously. The biggest misconceptions about writers?
I’ve been one for so long that I can’t remember how it felt when I was on the
outside. I think when I was a teenager I believed that all writers drank a lot
and were extremely rude. Thankfully, I know now that that’s not true at all.

You broke genre boundaries
with your current Sookie Stackhouse series.  W hat initiated the idea to
write about the realm of Southern vampires?

CH: I was looking for a way
to shake up my career. I was stuck in the midlist, writing conventional
mysteries. I love my mystery roots, but I felt like having a little fun.
 
The second season of True
Blood is set to air this summer. W hat do you think of the screen adaptation so
far? Are you happy with how the series is unfolding and reflecting your
novels/characters?
 
CH: I think the series
reflects the spirit of the books, if not each and every plotline. I’m very
happy with “True Blood.”
 
What’s something
people might be surprised to find out about you? 
 
CH: I have no idea what
would surprise people. That I took martial arts for six years? That I
volunteered at a rape crisis center? Are those surprising? Maybe after the
vampire books, people would be surprised that I go to church regularly!
 
In your opinion,
which character that you have written over the years is the most like you? 
 
CH: Probably my first series
heroine, Aurora Teagarden, is the most like me. Nothing ever turned out like
she planned, either, and she was always doing something other people didn’t
expect.

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