Thursday, March 16, 2006

Five Questions With...Charlaine Harris

Let's jump right in with Charlaine Harris!!

Sookie Stackhouse is a great character (great name too!) How did you create Sookie and the inhabitants of Bon Temps, Louisiana? Which character arrived on the canvas first?

Sookie came first, since she's the main character. I wanted to write about a woman who dated a vampire, and I built her character on that. Why would any cute, mentally healthy, woman date a vampire? She'd have to have some kind of disability that precluded her dating a regular man. So I decided she must be telepathic. Everything grew from that.

Eric? Bill? Sam? Alcide? Calvin? Or are you like Margaret Mitchell in the respect that you don’t care who Sookie ends up with, so long as she’s happy? Will there be new men in Sookie's life to add to the mix?

Oh, yes, there'll be another man or two; right now, she's dating Quinn the weretiger. I think it matters a lot who Sookie ends up with, and I know who that'll be. But I'm not telling.

Tell us a little bit about your writing process. Do you have a specific resolution or mystery in mind for each manuscript or do you write and simply go where the wind takes you?

I'm afraid I simply go where the wind takes me. I am going to try to be more organized for the next book, because I have a huge cast of characters and bits of information now that have to be consistent. After six books, you accumulate a lot of backstory, and it's almost impossible for me to remember it all. However, there are usually three arcs per book: Sookie's personal life, the mystery she has to solve, and the supernatural world politics that go on during the story. All these things have to more or less come together at the end of the book, since each book must be able to stand on its own. That's getting trickier and trickier.

Grave Sight features Harper Connelly, a woman with the ability to hear dead people. While I consider Harper more serious than Sookie, both women use their minds for purposes in addition to thinking. Did you set out to create a character completely different from Sookie when you created Harper? What was the first characteristic about Harper that came to your mind?

I became interested in people who've been struck by lightning, and I did quite a bit of research on that. One list of survivors very kindly let me listen in as they told their stories and tried to help each other get appropriate medical help, etc. So that was the seed for Harper. And of course, I did want to write about something quite different from Sookie. I needed to sit in someone else's house for a while.

What’s up next for your career? Definitely Dead releases May 2nd. More Sookie will follow, I hope. And what about Harper? Any new characters vying for your attention?

There'll be another Harper in November, GRAVE SURPRISE. I have a short story in the anthology MY BIG FAT SUPERNATURAL WEDDING, which should be out in June, and I enjoyed the character (Dahlia Lynley-Chivers) I created for that story so much that I may write another short story about her. Toni L.P. Kelner and I are collaborating on our own anthology (MANY BLOODY RETURNS), which is really exciting. After that, I'll write another Sookie. No lack of things to do . . . just a lack of time to do them in.

Thank you, Charlaine!!


Michele said...


Woohoo! Great interview!

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