I’m a little late but I just wanted to post my thoughts on the wonderful interview Charlaine Harris gave to the Orlando Sentinel. For those of you who have not read the full article, it is well worth a read and you can find it here.
These are a few of my favorite quotes:
“The Sookie Stackhouse novels were selling well before the TV show”
I’m so glad she brought this up because the ridiculous notion that she somehow owes her entire success to True Blood and Alan Ball is one of my biggest pet peeves with this fandom (and I have about a million pet peeves with this fandom).
The Sookie Stackhouse novels were on the New York Times Best Seller list BEFORE True Blood was a sparkle in Alan Ball’s eye. Anyone who says differently is ignoring established FACTS.
Did the success of the TV show take her book sales to new heights? OF COURSE it did. This happens to ANY book series that is adapted into a movie or TV show.
I have NO problem with people that like a certain character or story arc on the TV show and, when they find out that characterization is not present in the source material, decide not to read the books. However, I DO have a problem when people decide to trash novels they have not read and make crap up that makes no sense whatsoever.
Charlaine Harris wrote the Sookie Stackhouse Novels. Yes, that would be an “s” at the end. An “s” means more than one. NO author continues to be published if his/her books don’t sell. As Ms. Harris has not only written the Sookie Stackhouse SERIES but the Aurora Teagarden, Lily Bard, and Harper Connelly SERIES of books as well; she does just fine in the sales department.
“It was never a Bill vs. Eric situation in my mind.”
The Bill vs. Eric hype of the show is not the same in the books largely because Bill’s role is diminished from the third book on.
Bill is Sookie’s first love and the ending of their relationship, and subsequent revelations, takes Sookie awhile to work out. In my opinion, after the revelation in Book 6, Bill never had any chance of regaining the same place in Sookie’s life that he once had. While the effects of her relationship with Bill definitely impacted her relationship with others, particularly Eric, it was never from a perspective that she would go back to Bill. Rather it was a process of Sookie letting go of the hurt so she could move on with her life and pursue a relationship with someone else. In my opinion, it is a much more complex and better crafted situation than the continuous yo-yo love triangle situation of the TV show.
This is not to say that there is not suitor discussion, and panic attacks, amongst book readers. I think a large reason this exists is because of Alan Ball’s revelation at Paley in 2009 that Harris had to be talked out of killing Bill in Dead & Gone. I think Ball’s comments led to the perception that Harris can let events in the TV show influence her writing.
Harris has long said, and she reiterated in this interview, that she has known how the series will end since about the second book. However, there is a BIG difference between knowing how the series will end and knowing the exact path you are going to take to get to the end.
As long as the ending that Ms. Harris has been working toward for the last decade is not changed (and I see NOTHING in the last couple of books to indicate Ms. Harris has done an about face), I care little if the path is modified to get to the end point.
“I don’t write Anna Paquin, I write Sookie Stackhouse.”
This quote got the biggest smile from me. I can’t count the number of times I have tried to sit down and write ALL my frustrations with TB Sookie and have stopped because it is simply too damn depressing.
I love Book Sookie. She is by no means perfect and there have been more than a couple of times that she has grated on my nerves but her humor, intelligence, bravery and sass always bring me back for more.
Harris has crafted a compelling heroine but even in the fantastical atmosphere of the novels there are things about Sookie that are relatable.
I remember a scene in the earlier books when Sookie and Bill were fighting. Sookie cooked an Italian dinner so her house would smell like garlic because she knew, if Bill were there, the smell would drive him crazy. It was like Sookie was taking back a part of herself. This really struck a chord with me because it reminded me of an ex-boyfriend. No, he was not a vampire who hated garlic. He was a music snob who hated any band that had sold more than 50,000 copies. I’m sad to say I kept my love for more popular bands, particularly ’80s hair metal, quiet. I remember a week after we broke up, I cranked Def Leppard’s Pyromania and sang it at the top of my lungs. I knew if my ex were there, he would have HATED it. It was such an empowering and FUN moment.
Reading about Sookie cooking the garlic infested dinner brought me back to that moment and, from then on out, I was fully ensconced in Sookie’s corner. Harris created a heroine that I genuinely like and root for.
Finally I would just like to say whether you are books only, show only, or like both mediums, NONE of it would be possible without Charlaine Harris.
“I am the creator. When I’m on the set they call me the Maker.”