Charlaine Harris Talks About her Sookie Stackhouse Series

October 30, 2009 by  

Charlaine_Harris_caroline_greyshockTake one look at Charlaine Harris with her three teenagers, her three dogs, and her duck and you would never think that she was the creator of a series of novels about a dark, sexy, and mysterious world of vampires and humans. Yet Charlaine Harris is that woman. She is one of the leaders in a new genre that has taken the world by storm. Over her career Charlaine has written over 30 novels and numerous short stories. She is currently working on the tenth book in the Sookie Stackhouse series, “Dead in the Family”.

Now that Alan Ball has taken the spirit of Charlaine’s books and turned it into the phenomenon we all know as True Blood, Charlaine has really hit the big time. Recently Charlaine did an online interview talking about her Sookie Stackhouse series. Charlaine was asked if she ever felt like her characters took over her writing and took her to places she didn’t expect. Charlaine answered saying:

“The writer should always be in control. Those sudden moments when everything falls into place are the best reasons to be a writer. Of course it’s not the characters taking control; it’s another part of your brain, a part that knows the characters so well it’s suggested a plot twist.”

Charlaine was then asked if she consciously writes without taking into consideration current events. Charlaine said:

“Yes, because I didn’t want to pin the series down in time. However, with Hurricane Katrina, I simply couldn’t ignore its devastation out of respect to the people of the Gulf Coast, so I did incorporate it into the books.”

Charlaine was asked if she keeps track of plot arcs and character details for her novels in a database. Charlaine explained that a database had been created but as of yet was not finished. Charlaine doesn’t see herself as much of a plotter or outliner but admits that there are three main threads in each book. Charlaine was asked if she dresses up and works at it as a strict job or if she wears 3 day old pajamas while trying to make a deadline.

“Both. There’s a lot more to the business of writing than actually writing. Interviews, for example! I work at the job with regular hours, unless I have to do publicity stuff, which takes a huge amount of time. I never work in pajamas. I wear nightgowns.”

Charlaine was then asked what she thought of the television series inspired by her books, True Blood. Charlaine answered saying:

“It’s all good with me. I’m delighted with the show, and the time I’ve spent with the actors has been very interesting.”

Charlaine then discussed the fact that certain elements of True Blood differ from the storyline of her series and how she felt about that. “It’s more of an amplification of my story. In the books, we know Jason is promiscuous. On the screen, we see that, and it’s a very different experience. But of course a lot of plot developments were necessary to balance the screen time of the actors. Anna couldn’t carry the whole story.”

Well we all know that both Charlaine and Alan have done an amazing job with this series. At the heart True Blood would not be what it is without the inspirational series that Charlaine has so beautifully written.

SOURCE:  A Writer Goes on a Journey

Photo Credit:  Charlaine Harris

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  • Coop

    I didn’t like the way the writer ended the relationship between Bill and Sookie. Considering Bill’s feelings for Sookie, thier conversation after Sookie saved him seemed too impersonal. Sookie’s reaction to his failure to tell her about why he came to Bon Tempe seemed unrealistic considering she had already become involved with Eric and Quinn.

  • Coop

    It’s amazing to me that people feel Eric is such a great guy. As a human he was a viking. The development of his relationship with Sookie seem superficial to me. I believe Sookie cares for him but I also beleive that 90% of their relationship is physical.

  • PAT BUTLER

    hi charlaine,
    this is the first time i have ever read novels like this.have you all ways had the imagination for the bazar? i know you have to do research on all of these subjecks.you mention the people who help you at the begining of each book.but the thought has to come into your head before you reseach. do you get them from friends or they just pop up in your mind?all so the humar is so good. i can imagine you laugh a lot.the wit sookie has is teriffic, i love it. havent watch true bllod as i want to read all the books before i start watching the tv series. god bless
    pat

  • mari thatcher

    Which of the things I mentioned above did not happen in the CH Harris novels.
    Besides, I am not dwelling too much on the the Bill-Sookie or Stephen Ann hook up or whatever you say. It was just a haunch.

    If the traits I used to characterize Eric are the same ones you also see in Bill’s , well that’s how you see it. I don’t mind at all. But this is how I see Eric too and I think he is an adorable character. I’m not assuming EVERYONE is a fan of Eric, but I’m assuming Eric has a lot more fans than Bill. That, indeed, is the truth. If you stay connected with the net, I don’t have to tell you that.

    Well, okay I don’t mean to hurt any of Bill’s fans, but I’m speaking of what I think, based on facts. I would have to agree with your last words though, there’s no right or wrong.

  • Lizzy Binx aka Carlisle’s Vampire Girl

    I agree with Leanne. I love the books and wish True Blood would stick to the story line of the SVM books a little more. I don’t mind going off a little you’ve go to have some creative licensing but they go way off too much. I love Eric from the stories and Eric from True Blood but True Blood Eric needs to be more like SVM Eric.

    • Lizzy Binx aka Carlisle’s Vampire Girl

      Sorry about misspelling ur name Leeann

  • Leeann aka Viking Vampire Girl

    I believe that when people make a series of books into a television show or movie that they should stay true to the books and follow the story line. Honestly there are alot of Eric fans out there because of the books and I believe that the Eric/Sookie relationship would be very successful on-screen. Bill’s character is different on-screen to in the books, as is Eric’s and if Alan Ball wanted to make the show True Blood he should have kept the characters the same. For me True Blood is a real disappointment I think I’ll stick to CH’s series of books, not just because of my love for the character Eric but because in my opinion they are much better than the television show True Blood.

  • mari thatcher

    We love Sookie Stackhouse novels. I hope this turns into a real movie, with Eric the real partner of Sookie since there’s no hope it would be the ultimate turn of events in the TV series TB. We think Alan B. is hopelessly devoted to Sookie/Bill love relationship, which many of us don’t find appealing. I remember TB creator commented about the character of Eric Northman, “he is hot, but is dangerous,” and that “we don’t know if he ever loved somebody besides himself.” How could he be a good pair to Sookie?

    I think it’s not fair to say that, given Eric’s character in the CH novels. In fact, I am now with book 5, and I couldn’t remember any particular instance in the novels I’ve read that he did show his dangerous side without having to protect an innocent one (e.g. he stabbed Long Shadow, but that was only to protect Sookie, he killed the werewolves in Sookie’s house but that was again to protect her, he didn’t kill those men who ambushed them at the gas station in book 3, etc.).

    We love Eric not because he’s hot, but because of the totality of his character, from like a stone-heart vampire given a thousand of years he accustomed himself to vamp politics and he’s been successful. What’s wrong with that? Wouldn’t it be possible that a true love could melt his heart? Besides, there are many instances in the story that proved Eric’s soft, good side. He’s funny, he protects his employees in the bar, he does not hurt without a good reason, he saved Sookie several times (even more than Bill did), he is true to his profession as a sheriff i.e. protecting vamps in his area or giving justice to whatever dreadful that happened to them, like when Bill was kidnapped, he didn’t waste time to find him, not only for the sake of Sookie but also because it was his job as a sheriff.

    When he lost his memory, I think CH demonstrated that Eric used to be that Eric long time ago, gentle, caring and loving (he cares for innocent people too e.g. when Maria almost got killed in book 4, he helped to bring her to the hospital). And perhaps, a true love could somehow bring that back in him no matter how stone-hard his character had been for many years because of his position and success in the Vamp hierarchy.

    I think Eric’s character is full of life and should be the best partner of heroine Sookie, instead of Bill. Bill was willing to give up on Sookie and just decided to come back to her after his mate was killed. Eric is stronger, has a soft side and could also love.. That’s the most interesting part of it because he used to be not that kind of person, and that’s the difference between him and Bill.

    It’s a little frustrating in TB because it’s very unlikely to find a heroine, who is paired to a weak character like Bill’s. Well not to be taken literally, but yes Bill may be stronger than the weres or shifters, but not compared to more powerful vampires. In the novels, he also didn’t even have any strategy to protect Sookie, which he should have thought of in the first place, given the fact that he’s a younger vampire.

    In the CH novels, on the other hand, Eric is stronger and more brilliant. He has ways to protect Sookie against those older and more powerful than him. Remember when he stepped in opportunistically and offered to exchange blood with Sookie instead of another powerful vampire, he managed to convince the Queen and the others to allow him to do it. Now, why couldn’t Bill think of such ways to protect Sookie from his maker, so that he didn’t have to leave her?

    Since Eric could not be the real partner of heroine Sookie in TB, maybe in the movies he could be. And they can get other actress if Ana P. can’t do it since she would probably refuse to make love scenes with Alex S. given her engagement with Stephen M. in real life. (Maybe that was one of reasons TB could not make a good team for Eric-Sookie, because in real life it’s Bill-Sookie (or Stephen and Ana for that matter), and Alan B. just doesn’t want to ruin their real life romance.

    The movies could get equally competent actresses who can portray the role of Sookie Stackhouse, anyway. Maybe Scarlett Johansson or Rachel McAdams. Alex Skarsgard would still be best for the role of Eric Northman. How’s that?

    • You are forgetting that this is True Blood not the Sookie Stackhouse Series. What you state happens has not occurred in the series. Also Alan Ball has mentioned in previous interviews he was drawn to the books because of the Bill character and how he see him as a Mr. Darcy character being the “tragic hero” and the themes. I must say I disagree in your assessment and reasoning in terms of stating that the Bill/Sookie hook-up is the result of the Stephen/Anna hookup. No one knew of their relationship for over a year and did not find out until long after the episodes were written. You seem to assume everyone is an Eric fan based on the books but there are many, many fans of Bill both from the books and the show. In fact a huge number of the viewers have never read the books. The characteristics you use to describe Eric are the very same arguments used to describe fans’ love for Bill in both the books and show.

      Let’s keep the two mediums separate and enjoy both of them for the pleasure that they bring and enjoy the characters for the pleasure that they give us whether it is for the love of Bill or Eric, there is no right or wrong.

  • Nicole Airhart

    You say that there is a book 10 in the works, when can the fans expect it to be out? I am so anxious to find out what happens between Eric and Sookie. I have completely falling in love with the idea of the two of them together, but I also want a better ending for she and Bill, there needs to be closure there.