I was born in Mississippi and I've lived my whole life in the south. I like to write about small towns and strong women. My latest book is Midnight Crossroad.

I welcome your questions.


Comments: 196 • Responses: 60  • Date: 

mooseandbear38 karma

Would you ever consider having a sketch artist draw the True Blood characters as you see them in your own head? I would love to see what the characters look like to you! Also, thanks for writing amazing books. I feel like Sookie and Harper could be my best friends and have grown so close to each character.

CharlaineHarris24 karma

I never considered that, mooseandbear. I think everyone develops his/her own picture of the characters in their heads as they read. Since you liked Sookie and Harper, I hope you try MIDNIGHT CROSSROAD, which has characters from every series I've ever written. Manfred Bernardo from the Harper books is in the first one, and he'll be in the subsequent Midnight books as well. A character from the Sookieverse will be in the next one.

BossManMcGee37 karma

Were you as disappointed as I was that Bubba was not included in the True Blood show...?

CharlaineHarris50 karma

Bubba is a fun character, but Alan was afraid anyone he hired to impersonate The King would come off as cheesy.

ronson191127 karma

What was your reaction the first time you saw the HBO version of True Blood? How do the later episodes compare for you?

CharlaineHarris46 karma

I thought I would have to move! I live in a conservative community in the Bible Belt. I was delighted and overwhelmed. But everyone was really pleased for my success, rather than condemning. I find I'm always startled by the different directions of the show writers.

Seraph_Grymm23 karma

How difficult was it for you to change focus and writing topics from your early years to what you write now? Do you see yourself changing again in the future?

How does it feel Thank you for being one of the few authors that managed to break the mold on vampire stories without wrecking what makes vampires beautiful to us mere mortals.


CharlaineHarris17 karma

It was really liberating to start writing in a new direction, and now it's become a whole new genre. If I get attracted by some other way to approach a novel, sure, I'd change again. I feel really happy that I created a credible system of vampirism, and that people get so immersed in it.

theArnoldFans123 karma

If an overweight person gets bitten by a vampire and comes back as a creature of the night...can that bit, fat person ever get fit? Or would that person forever be a large person )even if Schwarzenegger trained them daily)?

CharlaineHarris21 karma

I'd really have to think about that, but off the top of my head, in my world you don't change when you're turned. You stay that way forever.

crazygranny23 karma

Hi Charlaine! I love your books! I was reading Sookie before HBO even heard of her. How hard was it to see the characters in the series being so very different from how you wrote them in the series? I almost can't watch True Blood because its like its all wrong to me. I can't wait to start your new series!

CharlaineHarris19 karma

Alan Ball had told me that the story would have to be told differently on screen because the books are told from a first-person point of view. So I was somewhat prepared for the other characters to get a lot of screen time. I am okay with the story changes, and I enjoy the show. I do hope you like the new series. It's really a shot in the arm to be doing something different.

CharlaineHarris21 karma

Thanks for the good questions, everyone. It's time for me to get back to work, but I appreciate your taking the time to come here to AMA! I'll try to check back in a day or so.

monomie21 karma

In the books, why did you choose for Sookie to have a romantic partner more often than being single?

Why did Eric get the ending that he did?

CharlaineHarris24 karma

Because that was what Sookie wanted. She was okay by herself, but she wanted to have a companion in her life, and after years of being denied a love relationship she had a lot of experimentation to catch up on. Eric got the ending that his own character determined.

khrysta1416 karma

I think Harper Connelly is my favorite character. Any plans for another book?

CharlaineHarris12 karma

Khrysta14, if I ever have a great idea for another Harper book, I'd sure be glad to write another one. But nothing's popped up in my head.

DorianaGraye16 karma

I have a question about criticism. You received quite a bit of negative feedback on your last Sookie Stackhouse novel, and in turn, caught some flack for your responses to it. I have two questions related to that:

  1. What do you think of fan entitlement, i.e readers' belief that they have some ownership of the characters and should dictate their fates?

  2. Related to that, do you think said phenomenon has anything to do with you being a female author with a largely female audience? For example, George R.R Martin gets away with murder (haha) in his writing with minimal fan backlash.

On another note, thanks for being such a great ambassador for the South and, particularly, Arkansas. I'm a UA graduate and am so thankful that you represent our state. GO HOGS!

CharlaineHarris16 karma

It's always been my impression that George R. R. Martin gets a lot of fan backlash. I certainly hope the entitlement isn't an issue simply because I'm a woman. That would be too depressing. I don't think any writer can construct a story by committee. It's an individual vision.

WhatAboutDaddyCool15 karma

Who was your favorite character to write in the Sookie Stackhouse Series? In turn, who is your character to watch in True Blood, either of your own creation or of the writers of the show?

CharlaineHarris52 karma

I loved writing Pam because she is so ruthless. And Kristin is great to watch on screen as Pam! I think Nelsan Ellis has long deserved an Emmy for his Lafayette, who is so much more fabulous than mine in the books.

uberlad13 karma

What's your very best life advice?

CharlaineHarris14 karma

If you have a dream, do your best to give it a shot. I did, and it paid off.

Show_not_tell11 karma

Why didn't Sookie ever acknowledge that Bill had raped her? Isn't it important to show that "no means no", even if you know the rapist?

CharlaineHarris7 karma

Sookie had a lot of ambivalent feelings about the incident. She didn't resolve all those feelings. In other books I've written, the protagonist was not so conflicted about what happened to her.

elevenelevenAM11 karma

If you could write a scene where Roe Teagarden, Lilly Bard, Harper Connelly (my favorite!) and Sookie Stackhouse were all seated at the same table, what would they talk about?

CharlaineHarris13 karma

Roe would have a million questions about vampires, Lily would dislike Roe and Sookie but like Harper, Harper would be envious that Sookie and Roe have such settled homes, and they would all talk about what they were reading at the moment.

Bat_turd11 karma


What are your thoughts on the self publishing trend? If you were starting from scratch, would you go that way or stay with a trad publisher?

Would you recommend a career as a writer to a young person?

Thank you.

CharlaineHarris11 karma

Self publishing seems to be the wave of the future. It's good in that books that never would be read will see publication of a sort. It's bad in that many of those books are not well-edited, and all books benefit from a good editing. To be a writer you have to be driven, talented, self-starting, and happy when you are alone. If that's what a young person enjoys, sure.

gingersnapdragon10 karma

Which character from any of your books was your favorite?

CharlaineHarris13 karma

I am really fond of Fiji Cavanaugh from the new book, MIDNIGHT CROSSROAD. She was unexpected and simply evolved in an unexpected way. I loved writing Pam from the Sookie novels, and I was so partial to Bobo Winthrop from the Shakespeare books that I brought him back to be in MC. And Manfred Bernardo from the Harper books was also intriguing, so I brought him to live in Midnight, too.

Thehollipop9 karma

What is your biggest Sookie regret?

CharlaineHarris26 karma

Killing Claudine.

TigerB658 karma

Charlaine, I am a huge fan of yours, from Shakespeare to Harper Connolly to Sookie and her universe. Thank you for hours of reading pleasure. I am curious to know why so many of your heroines have sexual assault or abuse in their backgrounds. Is it part of creating their internal struggles, or are you raising awareness of sexual violence through your work? I look forward to Midnight Crossroad. Thanks again.

CharlaineHarris13 karma

Some of both, TigerB65. Unfortunately, this is a very common occurrence overall, and it's a very real possibility for every female. I do hope to raise awareness of this threat that hangs over all women. This should not be the case!

2BNamedLater8 karma

Did you have any input on casting for the show? If not Either way, did the characters look/sound the way you imagined them?

What made you decide to end the Sookie Stackhouse series?

(Edit: Considering the fact that I've just edited this very short comment three times, how long does it take to edit a whole book? And do you find you change your mind during and edit and the story goes a whole other way?)

CharlaineHarris7 karma

I had no input on casting, and I never considered giving any, considering I am not a director. I think you should want the best actor available for any part, and that's who Alan ended up with. Naturally, since the characters had lived in my head for years before the show came on, they don't really look like the human actors. I ended the Sookie series because I had no more story to tell. Yes, editing a book takes time and a million decisions. And I do change my mind often!

Show_not_tell8 karma

I loved the first 9 SVM books, but I wondered why Sookie never came to realize her telepathy was a gift and not a disability? Also, why didn't she recognize her fae heritage as being important and celebrate it along with her human side? She seemed really passive and withdrawn at the end--why did she end weaker instead of stronger?

CharlaineHarris8 karma

Again, the telepathy was an issue Sookie had a lot of different feelings about. She wasn't that impressed with the fae since she thought of herself as completely human. Most of the fae she encountered seemed cruel to her. She was not weaker at the end, or passive. She chose the path she wanted.

jonemillard7 karma

What are some of the best books you've recently read?

CharlaineHarris10 karma

I've been doing a lot of re-reading while I was on tour . . . a lot of old Agatha Christie and Rex Stout mysteries. But the best books I've recently read are books that aren't out yet, because I was lucky enough to get ARCs of them. So look for M.R. Carey's THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS, and Karin Slaughter's COP TOWN. I think they'll both be out in June.

chooter5 karma

Oooh I was lucky enough to read THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS. It's creepy.

CharlaineHarris3 karma

It originated with a short story (IPHIGENIA IN AULIS) that Mike wrote for our anthology AN APPLE FOR THE CREATURE.

madhattergirl7 karma

Hello Charlaine,

I've been reading your books for over 10 years and can't tell you how much I love all of your series. My question is about Jack and Lily Leeds. Since the two appeared in The Southern Vampire Series, I have to assume they are part of the same universe. I'm curious how their detective agency has been affected by the appearance of supernatural creatures.

Thank you for the hours of entertainment!

CharlaineHarris3 karma

Jack and Lily didn't interact with any of the supernatural creatures in their brief visits into the Sookieverse because I didn't want to force them into acknowledging the difference. I will never write another Shakespeare book, so that seemed safe.

nghtcrawler56 karma

Asking on behalf of my girlfriend, who is busy with last-minute essays:

"How rewarding is it to write hot sex scenes between mythological creatures?"

And my augmentation/follow-up to that question:

"Do you plan said scenes out, or do you just (to put it vulgarly) let it flow?"

CharlaineHarris4 karma

Sometimes they require a lot of rewriting, because I aim for Hot-but-not-explicit. And I don't have that many sex scenes, so when I write one, I want it to be good.

elevenelevenAM6 karma

I've read every single book you've ever written. Thanks for keeping me entertained all these years and for inspiring me to begin writing myself. What's your #1 piece of advice that you would give to aspiring authors in your genre?

CharlaineHarris5 karma

You must think of a fresh way to write about the supernatural, a system that makes sense to you and therefore will to other readers (you hope).

plausible-rationale6 karma

Yesterday I was wearing my "Bon Temps Football" shirt and received very puzzling looks. I get that a lot with this shirt. People either take it as serious and make a quip about Louisiana or comment on True Blood or question it's origin.

But I note yesterday because my somewhat French speaking father said "Laissez les bon temps rouler" and my mother questioned his sanity. This, of course, was on Mother's Day and my father and I then had a small discussion in French about our very limited ability to speak French.

I guess if I had to ask a question it would be why did you do that to my mother? On Mother's Day of all days?!

CharlaineHarris5 karma

It was a well-laid-out plot.

Of course, that's where I got the name of the town, from the quote.

PsychoPenguinGrl6 karma

No question, just want to say I love your writing! Keep on keeping on :)

BloodyTotallySirius7 karma

I came here to say the same thing. I love your books and I can't wait to get into this new series!

CharlaineHarris6 karma

Thanks so much, both of you. MIDNIGHT CROSSROAD was really, really, hard to write, since it has three different points of view, two of them male. It was a steep hill to climb. I hope you enjoy it.

LivingDeadSquirrel6 karma

With your writing process, do you find yourself starting with characters and the world they live in - and the stories just happen from there? Or do you get the conflict and story first, and find out what kind of world it would take place in?

(Also thank you so much for putting out After Dead. I finally got closure and many giggles were had.)

CharlaineHarris4 karma

Thanks, LDS. I had a great time with AFTER DEAD. I don't always start with any particular thing when I begin brainstorming a book. Sometimes it's a situation between characters, and I have to build the characters to establish how they reached that point. Sometimes it's an occurrence in the book (for example, the body falling from the airplane in DEAD OVER HEELS). Sometimes I have the key characters and have to imagine something for them to be in conflict over.

gee5106 karma

Hello! Was Bon Temps based on a real town in northern Louisiana? I used to live in a town called Jonesboro, LA and I swear, most of the places you describe in your books make me think I could almost be living in a real world version of Bon Temps.

CharlaineHarris7 karma

Minden, Louisiana, was more or less the model for Bon Temps, just as Rocksprings is more or less the model for Midnight, Texas. I never take a town and put it on the page as it is. I usually move things around a little and change the population.

Kknowsbest5 karma

If they made a movie about your life, who would play you (other than yourself)?

CharlaineHarris2 karma

I can't imagine that. Sorry! I've never thought about it.

joelschlosberg5 karma

CharlaineHarris7 karma


miamria5 karma

How do you feel about Lafayette's character in the series?? Especially since he was killed off so early..

CharlaineHarris19 karma

I think he's fabulous. Nelsan is a great actor.

NeCornilius5 karma

Did you have any input in the tv show at all? And also as someone who has not read any of the books, do you like the way they portrayed your stories?

sookieeeeee (creepy vampire voice)

CharlaineHarris7 karma

Nope. And they didn't tell me how to write the books. So we were all happier! They're essentially telling their own story. The two are quite different.

joelschlosberg4 karma

What do you think of the HBO-Amazon deal?

CharlaineHarris3 karma

I have no opinion now. I need to read more about it.

StillEvilFlame4 karma

I really loved Midnight Crossroads! I finished it a couple days ago. I'm really looking forward to the next installment and getting to learn more about this quirky town and its inhabitants. My question is, do you get tired or frustrated with the press when you want to talk about the new book and it gets compared to the Sookie books, or they want to talk about them instead?

CharlaineHarris4 karma

Sure, but at the same time, I see that it's a natural topic. I'm so glad you liked the new book. The Sookie novels are in my rear view mirror now, and I'm looking forward. So many things I want to write.

steph_4 karma

Ms. Harris, I love the world that you've created for your readers, and I'm consumed with envy that you get to write for a living! (But also very happy for you :) )

My question is: what was the process like for you as far as getting published? And how did you keep yourself motivated while writing that first book?

Thank you for doing this!

CharlaineHarris7 karma

When I married my second husband, he knew that I'd always wanted to write and he offered to forgo the income from my job if I wanted to stay home to give it a shot. I was able to write a book pretty quickly with that incentive, and of course, I'd had years to plan it. Due to an amazing set of circumstances, Houghton Mifflin took it. I thought I was set for life, but of course that wasn't the case. My career has definitely had ups and downs.

Beenhamean4 karma

Thank you for doing this AMA Ms. Harris.

Do you think the huge boom in the popularity of vampire themed book/movies/shows has been good or bad for the genre as a whole?

CharlaineHarris6 karma

Oh, I think it's been great for the urban fantasy genre, if that's the one you mean. In fact, that defines the urban fantasy genre.

miffedsnarkybitch3 karma

I have to say that Dead to the World is one of my favourites of yours. Was it difficult for you to become immersed in the world of sin, sex and violence while writing this series and still allowing Sookie to retain her good nature?

CharlaineHarris4 karma

Sookie had a great upbringing by someone who loved her, and she has a lot of faith. She was grounded enough to survive.

kcarla233 karma

Hi Charlaine, love your books! My question is, if you were to end up a character in one of your books, which one would you pick and why? P.S. You have many fans in Europe, come visit us! Thank you!:)

CharlaineHarris2 karma

I'd be most at home in the Aurora Teagarden books. Thanks, kcaria23, I was in Europe a couple of years ago, and I had a great time.

terrismith4253 karma

Charlaine. I love your books! How do you feel about True Blood ending, and do you ever watch it? I know some don't like that it's different then the books but for me personally I love it because you don't know what to expect!

CharlaineHarris14 karma

HBO is nice enough to send me screeners in advance of the show's airing, so I can stay a little ahead of the curve. I am fine with the show being so different. I would be bored if it were a slavish adaptation. Thanks for letting me know you enjoy the books.

NorbitGorbit3 karma

Do you believe there can be a work-practice writing training system in the same way that roger corman trained many future directors and artists making low budget movies or is it inherently solitary?

CharlaineHarris4 karma

Writing is a solitary occupation, but writers can have workshops and classes in technique that can be greatly helpful.

ChantelleRoberts3 karma

How did the Sookie Stackhouse Novels come about? Had you been writing before you created the series, Did you think they would become as popular as they are?. Who are your inspirations within the writing world.

CharlaineHarris4 karma

I had written MANY books before I wrote Sookie, and I 'll write many after them, I hope. I had no idea they'd be so popular. It took my agent two years to sell the first one. There are too many writers I admire to list them all.

kumbricia2 karma

Do you have a favorite place you like to write?

CharlaineHarris3 karma

I have my own office. I always work there.

Tydyehippi2 karma

Hey charlaine! I've read all of your books and was wondering if you'd ever add to the aurora Teagarden series?

Also it bummed me out than sookie didn't end up with Eric. :( did you expect all the backlash you received for having sookie end up with Sam instead?

CharlaineHarris3 karma

I did not expect the viciousness of the backlash. I created the characters, they are mine, and I determine the course of the books. I also knew I had indicated very clearly what path Sookie would choose. So naturally, I was really taken aback at the idea that a vocal minority of readers felt that they should have the deciding vote in how the books ended.

Show_not_tell9 karma

Have you ever read the criticism that the last book was illogical (e.g. a villain wishing for the location of an object that might grant a grant a wish when he could just use the wish he had to wish) and broken world rules(e.g. fae suddenly dying from bullets and not turning to dust)? Isn't that different than just not liking what you did with your characters?

What about those that say your proclaimed message of diversity changed to one of segregation and "stick to your own kind"?

CharlaineHarris4 karma

I've read all kinds of criticism, until I simply had to stop or be paralyzed creatively. I don't need to defend the book. Like it, or not.

Rosealine2 karma

In many of your stories you use the deep south as the setting, is this part of your writing techique to write what's familiar, or were they simply just appropriate settings for each of your stories? Further, have you any tips for aspiring novelists?

CharlaineHarris2 karma

Rosealine, both are correct. I could write about a Minnesotan, I suppose, but there are plenty of people doing that just fine. I have always lived in the south and I feel most comfortable setting my stories there. My tips are simple: close the door, put your butt in the chair, and write the best book you possibly can.

Mcsunsun2 karma


CharlaineHarris2 karma

I'm interested to see where it goes.

ancientborn2 karma

How do you deal with writers block?

CharlaineHarris2 karma

I think that's usually your writer-brain telling you you're on the wrong track. Take a day off to write something different, then go back to the passage where you stuck, and I think you'll find a way to get back on the right track.

courtFTW2 karma

Charlaine- I COMPLETELY forgot that you were doing this AMA, and I hope it's not too late.

How does it feel that it's May and for the first time in a long time, a new Sookie book won't be coming out?

How much of a boost has the HBO series given to your books?

Did the show and Alan Ball's (and the subsequent writers and showrunners) interpretations of your characters make you look at them in a different light?

Will anything else be happening in the Sookieverse?

CharlaineHarris3 karma

I do have a new book out; it's just not a Sookie. I'm fine with that. I told the story I set out to tell. The HBO series gave me a huge boost, and I'm truly grateful. I think it was lucky for me the TV show started after I'd already written at least five books, so the characters were pretty fixed in my head. MIDNIGHT CROSSROAD is not set in the Sookieverse.

dayofthedead2042 karma

What do you think about the works of Neil Gaiman and George RR Martin?

CharlaineHarris3 karma

Both great writers, and I read both of them.

CalexaRose2 karma

Hello! I just wanted to say (if you can't tell by my name) that I absolutely loved the first installment of Cemetery Girl! When can we expect #2?

CharlaineHarris2 karma

I think next January.

PandoraBlackBox2 karma

Hi Charlaine, Thanks for the ama session

What an imagination to create something as big as true blood! Good job!

From where did u get ur inspiration!? What was ur writing time!?

What s the most exciting part of ur job?

The best advice u ve been given in ur entire life and by whom?


CharlaineHarris1 karma

Imagination is one of the prerequisites for the job. I don't care for the word "inspiration" because it means so many different things to different people. I write about one book and two short stories per year. I love the thrill of a good writing day, when all my ideas have panned out beautifully. That doesn't happen often, though. Doing the red carpet with the cast of the show was pretty exciting. The best advice I've ever gotten? Have a good lawyer. (no kidding)

LynneBates2 karma

I adore the compilations you do with Toni, will you continue to do those and would you ever include a short story about your other characters, outside of the "Sookie-verse" in one? (And thank you for the new authors I have "met" from your compilations!)

CharlaineHarris2 karma

Whether Toni and I continue our anthologies depends on our publisher. If sales drop off, no, we won't get a chance to continue. I'm not going to write any more stories in the Sookieverse, so if we do work together on an anthology, I'll have to write about another setting. One reason we work on the anthologies is to give other writers some exposure. That's why half are from the mystery world and half are from urban fantasy. Cross pollination!

kahvikameli2 karma

I hope I'm not too late. Did you have the ending of your Sookie novels planned out early on? Or did it evolve a lot during the story?

CharlaineHarris2 karma

I knew how the books would end when I was working on the second one, I suppose. I had no idea how long the series would continue; in fact, I was surprised I got to write more than one! But the ending I was heading for stayed the same.

drocks272 karma

I see that you list a number of organizations on your site that you donate to or are a part of. How did you find out about the Crime Lab Project? I personally had not heard of it before.

CharlaineHarris3 karma

My fellow writer Jan Burke told me about the Crime Lab Project. Anything that can help the criminal justice system move faster and more surely has my support.

FuckMe-FuckYou1 karma

How do you feel about the way that the vampires are obviously aging in True Blood?

CharlaineHarris5 karma

I think they are human beings, and they're going to age.

Comicbookguy780 karma

Why did you make Sookie so stupid?

CharlaineHarris6 karma

She isn't. She's not well educated, but she's not dumb.

GentsofSHIELD-2 karma


CharlaineHarris4 karma

Stephenie Meyer has said publicly, many times, that she has not read other vampire-centric novels.

vbarton24-8 karma

I just wanted to say hello and my husband and I both love your Sookie books and have read them all. also so glad that Sookie ended up with Sam. I always wanted them to be together.

CharlaineHarris3 karma

Thanks. It was the ending I had always planned.

Ultramerican-18 karma

I started the first season of True Blood the year it came out, and was a few episodes in before deciding to go grab a few of the books to see if they were any good. I literally read the first 4 books in your Sookie Stackhouse series thinking, "This is pretty mediocre, but it seems like it's just about to get good, I'll start another one."

Then I had an epiphany halfway through the 5th that they're all going to be trashy and forgettable. I have an enormous collection of Fantasy novels on shelves in my office. Your series is the only one I just threw away instead of including it on the shelves. I don't endorse them, and I'd be embarrassed to try and explain them.

My question to you: Will you stop milking this milquetoast garbage and forge ahead in a new direction in a new world that isn't a generic urban fantasy autopilot? Or are you going to continue vomiting out these books until you hate yourself?

CharlaineHarris14 karma

I am proud of every book I have written.