Friday, March 4, 2011

The Readers' Writers: Interview with best-selling author Charlaine Harris

Yes, Charlaine Harris is a New York Times best-selling author. Yes, she is quickly becoming a household name in conversations from quilting circles to high school hallways both through her writing and the advent of HBO’s “True Blood” based on her Sookie Stackhouse novels. Yes, it “only” took her a quarter century to attain this level of popularity. And, yes, she is talented — very, very talented.
But did you know, besides her husband, children, dogs and one duck, the Mississippi Delta native now living in Arkansas is passionate about improving the lives of people at home and around the world?
Harris is an advocate for Doctors Without Borders, Habitat for Humanity, the ASPCA and the Crime Lab Project. The Crime Lab Project promotes bringing crime labs into the modern age. "CSI" is TV, folks — fiction.
Q. “Dead Until Dark,” the first in the Sookie Stackhouse series, broke traditional genre boundaries and started an avalanche of new authors for enthralled readers. But all writers share a love of reading. What books or stories first captured your interest and inspired you to write?
A. “Dead Reckoning” will be on the shelves in May, but “The Sookie Stackhouse Companion” won’t be available until Aug. 30. It wasn’t shaping up as quickly as we wanted, and I had some family things to deal with, so it got moved back. “Home Improvement: Undead Edition,” the latest anthology edited by Toni L.P. Kelner and myself, will be out Aug. 2. I’ll have a story in “Down These Strange Streets” (edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois) in October. That’s my publishing year.
I loved Poe when I was very young, and I read broadly, anything I could get my hands on. I loved “Jane Eyre,” still do. I’m a great Jane Austen fan. But I also read lots of mysteries and lots of science fiction, particularly Ray Bradbury and H.P. Lovecraft. I was born wanting to write, I think.

'True Blood' poster for PaleyFest: Pretty bloody cool.

Admittedly, this poster would be way cooler with a naked vampire on it, but I understand the concept of decency standards. So keeping those old things in mind, this poster promoting the True Blood‘s panel at PaleyFest is pretty awesome. Truth be told, it took me several glances to notice the vampire profile in the blood. Then, suddenly, it blew my mind and made me wonder if that’s supposed to be Eric or Bill. (See a larger version here.)

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