Today we are interviewing Charlaine Harris, the super fabulous author of the Southern Vampire Mysteries (Sookie Stackhouse books). In anticipation of the May 1st release of Deadlocked, the 12th installment and second to last book in the series.
Jena at Pure Textuality [Jena] : First off Charlaine, I wanted to tell you that although I am relatively new to your writing, I am a huge fan and wanted to say thank you so much for granting me the interview. It’s a great honor.
I have reviewed the FAQ’s on your site so we don’t bombard you with the same old questions you always get. For our readers who are not familiar with your career (you know, all two of them), let’s chat a little bit about you first.
When did you decide that you wanted to be an author? Or was it something you’ve always wanted to do?
Charlaine Harris [Charlaine]: I wanted to be a writer from the time I could hold a pencil. My family was a great reading family. Books were revered in our home.
Jena : Was writing something that came naturally to you or did you have to “cultivate” it (with schooling and such)?
Charlaine: Fortunately for me writing was natural. I was an English major in college and I believe I took one or two creative writing classes.
Jena: What was the toughest hurdle you had to overcome with publishing your first book?
Charlaine: Hardly any hurdle at all. I was in a creative writing class in St. Louis, the only year I lived there. The teacher was a former editor at Houghton Mifflin. She recommended what I wrote for the class to an editor there, and HM took the book.
Jena: Prior to writing your first book, what authors out there did you look up to? Who really inspired you?
Charlaine: So many. Elizabeth Peters, E.X. Ferrars, Mary Roberts Rineheart, Mary Renault, Shirley Jackson. To name a very few.
Jena: If you had one piece of advice for fledgling writers everywhere, what would it be?
Charlaine: Read, read, read. Then put your butt in the chair and write
Jena: Completely aside from the Southern Vampire Mysteries [SVM], do you have any plans for future works/series?
Charlaine: I’m writing a graphic novel with Christopher Golden, CEMETERY GIRL, and the first installment will be out next year. I’m coediting another anthology with my friend Toni LP Kelner I’ve signed a contract for three more books in another series with Ace.
Jena: Lisa Desmini is the wonderful artist responsible for the covers of the Southern Vampire Mysteries. How did you come to choose her as the artist to give the SVM books a face?
Charlaine: I wish I could take credit for that, but Penguin picked her, not me. I think she is fabulous and I’m so grateful.
Jena: Out of the entire SVM series to date, is there any one book that you love more than the others? If so, what makes that book stand out in your mind?
Charlaine: Rather than pick one book, I would say there are scenes in most of the books that achieved exactly what I wanted to achieve
Jena: Out of all of the SVM characters, I would absolutely love to see a spin off to follow Quinn’s story. I am most definitely in the minority when I say this but I absolutely loved him. I thought that Quinn and Sookie made a great pairing. I felt that he was a great character with unbelievable potential and I was sad to see him fade into the scenery. Hypothetically speaking (not looking to start any spin-off rumors here!), is there any one character out of the series that you would consider giving a spin-off series to? If so, what did you love about that character?
Charlaine: I haven’t considered writing a spin off with any of the Sookieverse characters, but I wouldn’t rule out using them as walk-ons in the new series I’m starting. I’m so glad that Quinn struck your fancy.
Jena: Now, let’s get into the nitty gritty and chat about Sookie. You legions of fans out there were sad to hear that the 13th book will be the last for Sookie. However, the fans also understand that all good things must come to an end. Now that you are getting closer to the end, are you feeling good about your decision to end the series or are you having any second thoughts?
Charlaine: I feel very good about it. Sookie has been such a good friend to me that I would hate to let her down by keeping the books going when I think I’ve told her story.
Jena: I was lucky enough to have received an advanced copy of Deadlocked and I have been inundated with e-mails asking for spoilers. I swear on the gods of old that I am not giving any thing out. *crosses her heart* My experience has made me wonder, though. Do you (or your publicist) get swamped with e-mails asking for spoilers? If so, how do you handle it?
Charlaine: People always want to get an idea of what’s going to happen in the next book, and they also often share what they WANT to happen. I’m not big on handingout spoilers, and it’s been brought to my attention that some reviewers pass advance copies around and give out spoilers in a major way. I certainly don’t like that. People deserve a chance to read the book with prejudice.
Jena: Recently, you attended the Romantic Times Convention in Chicago IL and were quoted as stating that the title for the 13th and final book is going to be Dead Ever After. However, there are rumors circulating the internet that you were just kidding and making a joke. Can you confirm if this is the title or just you having a little fun?
Charlaine: Though it’s too soon to say for certain, it’s on the short list. I don’t joke a lot when I know everything I say is being recorded!
Jena: When reading Deadlocked for the review, I don’t know if it was just me because I know the end is near but I felt that the book had a nostalgic feel to it. It sort of had a walk down memory lane as certain loose ends were tied up to bring closure to the series. Was it fun for you as the writer to revisit some of the characters that have come and gone in your series?
Charlaine: Yes, definitely. There’s no way to tie up all the loose ends, but I hope readers enjoy DEADLOCKED and come away from it feeling excited about Sookie’s adventures.
Jena: Charlaine, I want to thank you so much for the time you took to talk with us today. You have a huge group of fans that linger over at Pure Textuality and they’re all greatly anticipating the release of Deadlocked on May 1st. Thank you again.
Charlaine: I certainly want to thank all the readers who have followed me through all Sookie’s trials and tribulations. Without word of mouth support, the books would never have become so successful.
Jena: Don’t forget! Deadlocked was released May 1st and you can order your copy today by clicking here!!
[THIS INTERVIEW WAS CONDUCTED PRIOR TO THE RELEASE OF DEADLOCKED]