A Revisit with Charlaine Harris-The Mind Behind True Blood

Zoie Clift

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.  What 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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