Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Charlaine Harris : Guide to Literary Masters and Their Works,

Charlaine Harris was born on November 25, 1951, in Tunica, Mississippi. Her father, Robert Ashley Harris, was a local school principal, and her mother, Jean Balentine Harris, a librarian. She first developed an interest in writing in the fourth grade and began writing plays when she entered Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee. Eventually, she earned a B.A. in English and communication arts in 1973 from Southwestern University at Memphis. Upon graduating, Harris held a variety of jobs at newspapers in Clarkesdale and Greenville, Mississippi, including a darkroom operator from 1973 to 1974 and a typesetter from 1974 to 1978. Her first marriage ended in divorce. In 1978, she married Hal Schulz, a chemical engineer, with whom she would have three children.
Harris was living in South Carolina when she wrote her first novel, Sweet and Deadly (1980), about a female journalist's attempt tosolve mystery of her parents' murder in a small southern town. She followed this in 1984 with A Secret Rage, in which the victims of a serial rapist band together to track down their assailant. With the publication of Real Murders in 1990, Harris embarked on a prolific career as a writer of series mysteries. This novel was her first to feature Aurora Teagarden, a professional librarian and amateur detective who discovers someone in her small Georgia town is committing murders patterned on well-known murders from history.
In subsequent novels, including A Bone to Pick (1992), Three Bedrooms, One Corpse (1994), The Julius House (1995), Dead Over Heels (1996), A Fool and His Honey (1999), Last Scene Alive (2002), and Poppy Done to Death (2003), Aurora balances personal romance with murder investigations in the traditional cozy mystery fashion. Harris's penchant for creating strong, frequently underestimated female characters continued with her Lily Baird Mysteries, inaugurated with Shakespeare's Landlord in 1996. Lily is an emotionally scarred woman who survived a brutal attack and who, although educated, prefers to hold a menial job, from which she occasionally stretches to do amateur sleuthing in her town of Shakespeare, Arkansas. The Lily Baird mysteries were praised by critics for their sharp edge and complex character studies, and Harris alternated sequels in the series-Shakespeare's Champion (1997),Shakespeare's Christmas (1998), Shakespeare's Trollop (2000), and Shakespeare's Counselor (2001)-with her Aurora Teagarden novels.
In 2001, Harris inaugurated her new Southern Vampire series, a mix of supernatural fantasy and mystery. The novels, beginning withDead Until Dark, are all narrated by Sookie Stackhouse, a ditzy waitress with psychic powers who lives in a small Louisiana town in an alternate reality where supernatural creatures have rights and mingle freely with mortals. The sequels Living Dead in Dallas(2002), Club Dead (2003), Dead to the World (2004), and Dead as a Doornail (2005) all feature humorous scenarios in which Sookie grapples with werewolves, sorcerers, and representatives of the undead, and inadvertently gets into mischief with thesupernatural hierarchy that controls the destiny of her vampire boyfriend. These novels were the first of Harris's books to become best-sellers in hardcover. Harris was a member of the Mystery Writers of America and Sisters and Crime, and alternated as president of the Arkansas Mystery Writers Alliance.
Essay by: Stefan Dziemianowicz


Anonymous said...

Wow, I wouldn't call Sookie ditzy!!

She hasn't had an opportunity to receive a good education, but she's definitely not stupid!

That's one of the themes of the book - people unfairly treat her like an idiot because she's an attractive blonde.

Grrr, I HATE people who make nasty assumptions about women with blonde hair!!!!

" Dallas " said...

Good point ( you guys take the time to login ) so I know who I'm talking to... and this from "literary masters " huh ?