Charlaine Harris Interviewed by USA Weekend

October 8, 2009 by  

harrisxCharlaine Harris has a full plate at the moment. Her compilation of Sookie Stackhouse short stories, A Touch of Dead, just hit the shelf in bookstores this week. The 4th book in the Harper Connelly Mysteries series is scheduled for release next month, and the 10th Sookie Stackhouse novel, Dead in the Family, will be here in May 2010. Very fittingly, Charlaine will be the queen of the Vampire Ball in New Orleans later in October.

In a recent interview with USA Weekend, Charlaine talked about the supernatural, in her books and others. We can now see how well she writes about worlds full of vampires, weres, and shifters, but she says it was hard to sell a work of fantasy like that when she wrote Dead Until Dark, the 1st Sookie book:

“I loved it and I thought it was a really strong book, but it took my agent a very long time to sell it–longer that any other I’ve written. It took two years for him to place that book. It was timing, and it was because people didn’t expect it from me. Of course, my agent submitted it to editors who had known me in the past, and they were going, ‘What the hell?! This is really different!’ And it’s partly because people really didn’t know how to market something like that then. Urban fantasy has boomed since then, but then people were going, ‘It’s not a mystery, it’s not horror, it’s not romance–where are we going to put it?’ “

That was certainly a difficult time for Charlaine as a writer, but now she is now “in the fortunate position of being pretty sellable.” That’s an understatement–Charlaine is currently one of the most popular authors in the world! She loves the new readership gained from the fans of True Blood, even though people often don’t understand why there are differences between the two stories.

She enjoys writing short stories as a bit of a departure from all the novels:

“It can be fun to do stories that you could not do as part of a bigger book, and it’s also a chance to make some points that you don’t get to make in a longer format. I’ve written some that weren’t Sookies that were definitely a lot of fun for me to write because they were so different, like the one that was in the Horror Writers of America anthology.”

Vampires are the hot topic of pop culture right now, so when asked what fantasy trend will hit next, Charlaine replied,

“A lot of people think zombies, which can be amusing. Max Brooks’ World War Z is just a wonderful book, I love it. But I’m thinking now, how much can you do with zombies? They’re rotting! That’s just not attractive. I just can’t get into it. When you’re talking about rotting flesh, there’s just so much you can do!”

She definitely has a point! Can you imagine any zombie tale equaling the sexiness provided by vampires like Bill and Eric?!


(Photo credit: Stan Carpenter, USA Today)