Your Sookie Stackhouse novels are set in the fictional northern Louisiana town of Bon Temps. How would you describe your balance of realism and fantasy in depicting Bon Temps and the characters who live there?
I enjoy anchoring my human characters in a current reality. They all have to fill their cars with gas, pay their property taxes, and so on. They go to church, they go to jail, they go out to eat. My supernatural characters do those things too. That dose of daily reality provides an interesting juxtaposition.
Sookie is the character who guides readers through the Sookie Stackhouse novels as narrator. How did you come to make Sookie the narrator, as opposed to another character?
She was my first conception when I began to imagine the books. She is my reliable narrator.
You have written several series of novels. Do you approach the first novel of a series differently than you would approach a standalone novel? If so, how do you approach the first book of a series differently to a standalone?
You’re writing two books in one when you write the first in a series. Not only does it have to stand alone, and be enjoyable that way, but you have to establish a foundation for works to follow. And you have to include characters you won’t mind living with for a long time.
Has watching the True Blood TV series changed the way you write the more recent Sookie Stackhouse novels or do you write them as if True Blood doesn’t exist?
I write them as if the television show doesn’t exist. I was far ahead of Alan when he began the show, so it hasn’t really been much of an issue.
You wrote several series of mystery novels before the Sookie Stackhouse series and used to often be described as a mystery novelist but are probably more often described as a vampire, supernatural or fantasy novelist now. How would you describe the kind or style of fiction you write and does it matter to you what others emphasise when they describe your writing?
That does kind of matter to me. I’m most appropriately included in the relatively new subgenre called urban fantasy, which didn’t exist when I started writing the Sookie Stackhouse novels about fifteen years ago. Though I actually don’t write “urban” fantasy (I write rural fantasy) I’m a most comfortable fit for urban fantasy.
What kinds of fiction do you most enjoy reading and do you have some favourites?
I read all the time, and I read all kinds of fiction. Please visit my website, because on my Book & Blog feature I recommend books I’ve enjoyed, just about every week. I read science fiction, urban fantasy, mystery, thrillers, a little non-fiction, and a little romance.
Who is one of your favourite fictional characters and what makes that character stand out to you?
Jane Eyre, because she was such an oddity for her time. She’s not subservient or pretty, she’s a talented artist, and she has an unbreakable spirit and amazing morals.
What can readers look forward to in Deadlocked?
A continuation of Sookie’s adventures, with many grave issues raised about her future.
With the 13th and final book in the Sookie Stackhouse series due out in 2013, do you have anything to share about that book or what you have planned beyond the Sookie Stackhouse series?
I’m not sharing anything about that book. After it’s written and sent in, I’ll begin the first of three books in a new series. That book is called MIDNIGHT PAWN, and it’s set at a sparsely populated town at a remote crossroads in Texas.
Charlaine Harris author website: www.charlaineharris.com.
The Australian Literature Review