Charlaine Harris Discusses Her Books with ABC News

November 6, 2009 by  

Charlaine-Harris-True-Blood-premiereFor whatever reason, people can’t get enough of vampires these days. Charlaine Harris, author of the Sookie Stackhouse series, has fans anxiously awaiting the next installment in her story, Dead in the Family, due out in May 2010. In the meantime, she will only offer teasers about what’s to come. That’s what she did in her recent interview with Cassie White from ABC News, where she also talked about the success of Twilight and her feelings about True Blood.

Charlaine suspects that people are drawn to vampires because of the intriguing notion of immortality. That eternal youth is an attractive thing. She accepts that her series is often compared to Twilight because of the human-vampire love story, but the originality of her ideas is clear given that Dead Until Dark was released before Twilight. She doesn’t think there needs to be a competition between the two series, and is in fact happy for Stephenie Meyer’s success:

“I see our series as complementing each other. I attract an older readership generally, though I think we do share quite a few readers and I’m glad of that. But I don’t think people are just going to buy one book, or go see just one vampire movie or TV show a year. I think they’re going to want to experience different shadings of offerings in those fields.”

She seems to be very gracious on this subject, holding the view that there’s plenty of vampire fandom to share!

Charlaine loves True Blood, the television adaptation of her work. She appreciates being surprised when events are different than in her books, but she is also excited when something she wrote makes it to the screen:

“Every now and then they use a line I wrote and it just tickles me pink when I hear it. And I love to see my credit at the beginning of every show.”

She has a great relationship of trust with the show’s creator, Alan Ball, and knows what it means to have your work adapted–they can change whatever they want. She put Sookie into Alan’s care because he understood the essence of the story:

“I had to hand all control over to Alan Ball. But having said that, I was pretty careful about who I handed it over to. So I really can’t complain about what he’s done and in fact I’m very happy.”

Alan did, however, get Charlaine into a bit of trouble with fans of her Southern gentleman vampire, Bill Compton, when he mentioned at the Paley Center panel with the True Blood writers that she almost killed Bill at the end of book 9, Dead and Gone:

“I did not kill Bill. Alan sort of said something at PaleyFest in an interview. He said, ‘Charlaine thought about killing Bill in the last book but she was talked out of it.’ That was something of a mis-statement and I certainly wish he hadn’t made it! In casual conversation I mentioned that had been one of the possible endings for Dead and Gone and that I’d thought about it and discarded it. But the truth is, and I think almost every writer does this, I’ve considered killing every character at one time or another, and some of them I follow through with. but some I decide I need to be alive.”

So what does that mean for Bill‘s future is still pretty unclear. Charlaine did reveal that Sookie would not be having any steamy, intimate moments with her first love in book 10, but she would not explain further what are Bill‘s chances for being the one for Sookie.

One question that was sent in to Charlaine by a reader for the interview was regarding a statement that Charlaine once made that she didn’t understand why so many fans love Eric so much? The reader wanted clarification to this statement since in her eyes she felt that Charlaine had written the Eric character as always being there for Sookie, fulfilling her needs, being truthful and being emotionally connected to Sookie.

“I’m not denying that’s one side of Eric, but he’s also a ruthless killer and I think some of my readers tend to forget that in their enthusiasm for his sexier habits.”

Charlaine doesn’t plays favorites when it comes to which suitor for Sookie she enjoys writing the most. She enjoys writing about all of them and that each of them have qualities that she admires otherwise she would have never created them and made them likely candidates for Sookie‘s attention and affection.


(Photo credit: Albert L. Ortego / PR Photos)