Charlaine Harris, author of the Sookie Stackhouse series joins me to talk about growing up in the Delta, where stories come from, finding success, and writing your passion.
Charlaine Harris (born November 25, 1951 in Tunica, Mississippi) is a New York Times bestselling author who has been writing for over twenty years. She was raised in the Mississippi River Delta area. Though her early works consisted largely of poems about ghosts and, later, teenage angst, she wrote plays when she attended Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee. She began to write books a few years later.
After publishing two stand-alone mysteries, Harris launched a lighthearted series “starring” Georgia librarian Aurora Teagarden, with Real Murders, a Best Novel nominee for the 1990 Agatha Awards. Harris wrote eight Aurora titles. In 1996, she released the first of the much darker Shakespeare mysteries, featuring the amateur sleuth Lily Bard, a karate student who makes her living cleaning houses. Shakespeare’s Counselor, the fifth–and last– was printed in fall 2001.
After Shakespeare, Harris created The Sookie Stackhouse urban fantasy series about a telepathic waitress who works in a bar in the fictional Northern Louisiana town of Bon Temps. The first of these, Dead Until Dark, won the Anthony Award for Best Paperback Mystery in 2001. Each book follows Sookie as she tries to solve mysteries involving vampires, werewolves, and other supernatural creatures. The series, which now numbers nine titles, has been released worldwide.
Sookie Stackhouse proved to be so popular that Alan Ball, creator of Six Feet Under, announced he would undertake the production of a new show for HBO based upon the books. He wrote and directed the pilot episode for that series, True Blood, which premiered in September of 2008. It was an instant success and was quickly picked up for a second season.
In October 2005, Harris’s new mystery series about a young woman named Harper Connelly debuted with the release of Grave Sight. Harper has the ability to determine the cause of death of any body. There are now three Harper titles (GRAVE SIGHT, GRAVE SURPRISE, AN ICE COLD GRAVE) with a 4th (GRAVE SECRET).
Harris has also co-edited three very popular anthologies with her friend Toni L.P. Kelner. The anthologies feature stories with an element of the supernatural, and the submissions come from a rare mixture of mystery and urban fantasy writers.
Professionally, Harris is a member of the Mystery Writers of America and the American Crime Writers League. She is a member of the board of Sisters in Crime, and alternates with Joan Hess as president of the Arkansas Mystery Writers Alliance. Personally, Harris is married and the mother of three. She lives in a small town in Southern Arkansas and when she is not writing her own books, she reads omnivorously!
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