All words: Myrisha S. Lewis — All photos: Joshua Feldman
Charlaine Harris presented on Sunday at the National Book Festival in the Fiction & Mystery Tent. The tent was of course, standing room only as fans of her book series (and of course, True Blood) asked lots of candid questions, thanked her for writing the Sookie Stackhouse series of novels, and sadly found out that, for sure, this upcoming May’s Sookie Stackhouse novel will be the last in the series.
I had the opportunity to interview her in the Media Tent after she signed many books for admiring fans (she even stayed past the time slated by the Book Festival). I started by thanking her for signing all of our books and talking about the Question & Answer section of Charlaine’s afternoon presentation. As soon as I mentioned the morning session, Charlaine replied “Oh that was fun wasn’t it?” And it was indeed—notable quotes include “I could never put as much sex in the book as they have in the show,” and Charlaine’s reply to the question of her feelings when she sees the difference between the HBO Series and her books: “I feel okay when I look at my Bank Account” (which resulted in laughter from the whole tent), and Charlaine’s expression of relief that she is not the person who has to figure out what to do with “Bilith” next.
BYT: So Halloween is coming up, and I’ve seen people dressed up as characters from your novels and True Blood in the past.
CH: Oh yeah. I was the Vampire Queen of New Orleans about three Halloweens ago. And I had this most gorgeous costume. It was a Victorian widow’s outfit, made by the wardrobe mistress for True Blood. So it was a primo costume (I had to pay for it, of course, she didn’t do it for free). And I went to New Orleans and did the Vampire Ball thing in full costume, but I’m really not that much of a costume person, basically. I feel like I have a lot of fantasy in my life anyway.
And what were you before you were an author? Did you have to balance your writing with another full-time job before you became a full-time author?
Well, I always wanted to be a writer, and I always thought of myself as a writer. That was my secret identity: like Superwoman, I was Authorwoman! But I had to work full-time the first time I was married, to support my husband; he was in college. When I divorced him, I was still working full-time…but when I married Hal, he gave me the opportunity to stay home and write full-time and after a couple of weeks, he said “I haven’t seen you writing”, and I thought “Okay, this is it. Put up or shut up time.” So, I wrote a book and sold it.
Do you normally write at your kitchen table?
I have an office. It used to be I wrote in what was a glorified closet, but these days I have my own office.
Of all of your accomplishments, which is the one you are most proud of?
Oh, my three children. Definitely—no contest.
Are they young? Old?
No, they’re all grown, theoretically, you know.
Yes, we always come back.
I have a twenty-seven year old, a twenty-five year old, and a twenty-one year old.
Sookie has gotten a lot of acclaim due to the True Blood series. Are there other series or characters near and dear to your heart? Or do you have a favorite series?
I don’t have a favorite series that I’ve written. They all were written to satisfy what I needed to do at the time, so they all served their purpose, and they were what I wanted to be doing then.
Have you ever thought about having a guest role on the show, True Blood?
Oh, I’ve been in there. I was in Season 2 in the last episode, and all of my children have been in the show too.
What did you do in Season 2?
I was “Woman at Bar”. Laughs “Middle-Aged Woman at Bar”. I wore a striped shirt, they gave me a line, and I delivered it perfectly. I am still waiting for the Emmy Nomination. I was the best “Woman at Bar” all season.
If you were in a Sookie-novel, what supernatural creature would you be?
I wouldn’t be a supernatural creature—I just like being human.