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Charlaine Harris about to finish book 11 of Sookie series July 24, 2010

Posted by Diana McCabe in Authors, Fun stuff, News.
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Charlaine Harris at Comic-Con 2010

And I thought my only glimpse of  Charlaine Harris at Comic-Con would be on an afternoon panel about vamps. But the author of the popular Sookie Stackhouse series popped up as a regular audience member Saturday at the “Reading with Brains: The Rise and Unrelenting Stamina of Zombie Fiction.” She smiled and waved from a fourth row seat on the side of room 7AB in the convention center as fans and zombie authors craned their necks to see where she was sitting after the panel moderator announced she was in the room.

Nope. She didn’t make any comments about zombies later during her panel discussion on vampire literature. But during the hour-long discussion and following Q&A she did talk about:

Book 11: She says she’s kind of looking forward to finishing Sookie’s story. Still no name for book No. 11, but she’s just about to finish it. “Maybe even tomorrow (Sunday),” she said.

Sookie’s name: For fans who don’t know where she got the name for Sookie, she reiterated that it was the name of her grandmother’s best friend. “It’s a common name in the South.”

–Why she developed her vampire world: She wanted to anchor her vampire stories in a blue-collar culture. She knew she wanted the story to be told through the eyes of someone in the working class. And she wanted the vampires’ struggle to join society to be told through that human’s eyes.

–On sticking to vamp lore: With creatures as strong as vampires, you have to stick to some vampire lore. So her vampires — for example — can’t go out during the day and silver is deadly. You need some rules so they don’t overtake human society, she says. “You’ve got to keep them in their place — which is the coffin.”

–On vampires/metaphors: In Rome, the journalists told her they thought her vampires symbolized capitalists, Harris said. But not for her, she says. “Vampires can be symbols for everything. Sometimes a vampire is just a vampire.”

On how she writes: She does not like to do research. “I hate prep work. … I’d rather just make it up as I go along.” But she admits that’s gotten her into some continuity problems with the Sookie books so she has an editor just to double-check her consistency now. She doesn’t listen to any special music — although when she mentioned bagpipes the other panelists thought that was a bit unusual — but she prefers to simply write in solitude in her room. OK — she does say she plays the soundtracks from the True Blood series when they send them to her.

On why vamps are popular: In economic hard times people want to think about super creatures, she said. Maybe it has to do with living forever when things are uncertain. “I do not want to live forever,” she says.

Charlaine Harris at Comic-Con 2010


1. Dot S. - July 24, 2010

I have read the past two posts and have found myself turning a certain shade of Envious Green. Oh to have been with you at Comic con!!!!!

Some random speculation:
Writing ability notwithstanding, why is it that everyone just wants to hug Charlaine Harris and vilify Stephanie M.? My impression is that Charlaine just oozes downhome charm and Steph just oozes. I may be wrong but Charlaine does all the “Cons” and Steph locks herself away from the fans. Lessons to learn I think.

2. Diana McCabe - July 24, 2010

I have never heard Stephanie M speak. Charlaine Harris is very gracious and charming, although she can be firm and persistent about her work!

But I think lots of folks attacked Stephanie M. when her books became successful. I’ve not heard that type of criticism with Charlaine’s books. The knock on Stephanie M is that she created a weak heroine and her world building is sketchy. But hey — it resonates with teens and adults Her series isn’t my favorite. In fact, I only really like the first few books. But it’s a teen romance …. and I think so many people read way too much into it!

Had good time at Comic-Con. Wanted to stay longer but the hubster was dragging. I missed the Dark Shadows panel. Wah!


3. ‘Vampire Academy’ coming out as graphic novel « Paranormal Romance - July 25, 2010

[…] of the zombie authors –Charlaine Harris was everywhere! –Who influenced these vamp authors? –My Comic-Con slide […]

4. Julia Slaughter - August 4, 2010

I stumbled across your website looking for info on book 11, great post!

I wanted to mention that I, too, was at Comic Con. I’ve gone for the past four years, so I had to comment on the mention of Meyer. I was in Hall H, during the first ever Twilight Panel and Meyer was present. I didn’t find anything about her that was unpleasant, in fact, much like Harris she exudes the kind of warmth and charm that makes you want to ask her for a cup of coffee so you can just chitchat, sharing that kindred spirtness of being book lovers.

I think the underlying problem in Meyer’s public appearances versus Harris’ is that the bulk of Meyer’s audience, for better or worse, is young girls/women. MOST (please note, I didn’t say ALL) who cannot conduct themselves in manner to allow for Meyer to participate in events like Comic Con without causing logistical problems for other Con attendees.

In other words, because her fans would constantly MOB her, every where she went, it just wouldn’t work. It would be like one of the True Blood actors trying to mill about on the Exhibit Hall floor – when they came out to the booth to do the signing, there was chaos as the tides of humanity shifted just so people could steal a glance or snap a picture.

I think it really speaks to Harris’ fans that we are all adult enough to appreciate her work, show up to support her, but not hinder her ability to be able to not only go to Comic Con and be a panelist but enjoy attending some panels as well. *kudos to us*

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