Monday, October 4, 2010

Charlaine Harris : Sink your teeth into hit series

...But that has all changed with the success of the Sookie Stackhouse Mysteries (better known by the TV title True Blood) which have sold several million copies, including 400,000 in Australia in the past year.
Harris is no longer a solo operator -- she has a business team behind her. She has an assistant to orchestrate store appearances and publicity requests; a continuity editor; a group of friends who read her first draft; and a tribe of dedicated fans who have volunteered to run her websites and supply fan information and apparel.
"Things have changed a lot," Harris says. "Certainly people are definitely wanting more things from me. I'm getting used to having a new reality.
"It's very gratifying for any writer to be taken so seriously. There are times it is exasperating, but it's also what we all aim for when we start our careers -- the success of knowing people love what we have done. It's very exciting. It's also a tremendous responsibility."
Harris, a writing veteran of more than 20 years, says her first two series were conventional murder mysteries, but with her Sookie Stackhouse books she wanted to write a series "which would stand out".
"I began to think I could do better and write something different. Something I was trying to convey was not getting across, so with the Sookie books I expressed my sense of humour . . . I had lots of blood and explicit sex.
"It came at the right time, the right blend of characters. The books hit a nerve. They started to sell through word of mouth.
"Your books have to have a spark in them. You have got to make the reader love your characters and be vitally interested in what happens next."
Harris says one of the main reasons she was attracted to writing a series was to "establish new and different ways to stay true to my characters".
She has just finished the 11th book in the proposed 14-book series Dead Reckoning (out next May).
Harris says she likes to create characters who are strong but also sympathetic with secret pasts.
"People want to follow the characters through their lives, much the same way as a series on television.
"The readers develop strong opinions about what should happen to them and what direction the series should take," Harris says.

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