Charlaine Harris talks about sex, 'Blood' and mysteries
Charlaine Harris has seen a lot of success, both with her wildly popular book series featuring strong heroines including Sookie Stackhouse, Lily Bard and Harper Connelly; and the new HBO drama based on the telepathic Stackhouse, True Blood.
Harris has made the crossover between mystery and horror look easy, and that's no easy task. Many genre readers -- and writers -- are notorious for sticking to their comfort zones, but Harris predicts that those "rigid reading parameters" won't be around for long.
"I think the crossover field is blooming," she said. "I don't know what the attraction is ... But many, many readers seem to enjoy the blending of mystery and science fiction that's being called 'urban fantasy.'
Mystery readers seem to be able to accept a little more sexual content in urban fantazy than is general included in conventional mysteries, too," she adds.
With a growing base of such readers, it was no surprise that there was interest for an adaptation such as True Blood. And Harris made sure that her characters were in good hands before signing off on the project, which many longtime fans have noted stays very true to the original books.
"Yes, I had some misgivings," Harris admits. "but when Alan Ball expressed an interest, I felt I would be much more likely to see something on the screen that reflected the spirit of my work. I knew he wasn't scared to look into dark corners, and I knew from my conversations with him that he understood what I was doing witht he books."
Ball, the series creator, is the widely acclaimed creator of HBO's hit, Six Feet Under.
"The mixture of humor, violence and sex that made the books so hard to sell initially was the very element that attracted Alan. When I was sure of that, I relaxed," Harris says.
You can find Harris in Baltimore this week, both at Bouchercon and at a book signing at the Power Plant Barnes & Noble for the anthology Wolfsbane and Mistletoe, with fellow editor Toni L.P. Kelner. Harris is already proud to call the collaboration a success.
"Toni and I had already collaborated on editing a previous anthology, Many Bloody Returns. MBR did very well, so we were encouraged to co-edit a second time ... We already have plans for a third anthology."
"It's actually a relief to edit some short fiction, rather than writing my own long fiction," Harris says of the anthologies' attraction. "I get to work on my own short story for the book, and I get to read a lot of other good writers' work. It's really proved to be a lot of fun."
And for fans craving more Charlaine Harris, she has another short story included in collection Usual Suspects, coming in December.
(Photo by Caroline Grayshock, courtesy of charlaineharris.com)