Another Interview with Charlaine Harris

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With filming of the series well under way, and the latest book in the Sookie Stackhouse series hitting book shelves last week, news will be coming in fast and furious. In Pittsburgh’s Post-Gazette, editor Rob Owen caught up with Charlaine Harris, author of the Sookie books, as she gets ready for a book signing there.

The eighth book in author Charlaine Harris’ “Southern Vampire” series, “From Dead to Worse” ($24.95, Ace), is now in stores chronicling further adventures of telepathic, Bon Temps, La., barmaid Sookie Stackhouse.

Harris will be in town to sign copies Saturday at 10 a.m. at Mystery Lovers Bookshop, 514 Allegheny River Blvd., in Oakmont.

And coming in the fall, specifically Sept. 7, Harris told me, is the premiere of “True Blood,” the new HBO series based on the Sookie novels. I asked Harris about the future of her work on TV.

Rob: What was your first reaction when you heard someone wanted to make the Southern Vampire series into a TV show?

Charlaine Harris: Well, it wasn’t the first offer. I’d had others. I’d had a movie option before and when that was about to expire, I had three more choices waiting on the table. The idea wasn’t new to me, but when I found out it was Alan Ball, I was very excited.

Rob: Ball created “Six Feet Under” and wrote the film “American Beauty.” Were you a fan of those?

CH: Oh, yes.

Rob: What did you think of the casting for the TV series, which stars Anna Paquin as Sookie, Stephen Moyer as Bill Compton, Ryan Kwanten as Jason Stackhouse and Sam Trammell as Sam Merlotte.

CH: Well, some of them I had not heard of before and some of them I was a little surprised, but I thought Alan Ball is an expert at casting. If he thinks they can do it, then they can do it.

Rob: Have you seen the pilot?

CH: Not yet. I’m going to pretty soon, I hope. They’re actually filming the eighth episode now. I visisted the set last week.

Rob: What was that like?

CH: It was wonderful. I got to meet a lot of the production people and I got to see how the location area was organized a little bit and got to see Alan again, which is always pleasant because he is the nicest guy. And I got to meet a few of the actors. It was a great day. I filmed an interview with HBO for the “Making of” feature they run before their shows.

Rob: Were you on the set in Los Angeles?

CH: No, they were shooting on location in Lake Bistineau, La.

Rob: Do you have a sense if they’ll follow the story you’ve plotted in the books or if they’ll do what “Dexter” did and use the characters but take the story in a different direction?

CH: It’s my feeling that they’re going to follow the story fairly closely but, of course, the books are in the first person so they’re going to have to expand the other characters and invent new things for them to do to fill up the hour.

Rob: If they do follow the books, how much will be covered by the show’s first season?

CH: I believe the first book is the first season.

Rob: Did they ask for your input on the scripts?

CH: No, that’s not my area of expertise. Alan doesn’t tell me how to write my books and I don’t tell him how to write scripts.

Rob: When you’re in town, will you be reading from your latest book?

CH: Usually I don’t do a reading from the book because I hate to do that. I will if people really want me to, but I usually do a question and answer session before a signing.

Over-night fan (almost literally) of the Sookie Stackhouse series since early 2008. Co-owner of True-Blood.net. Anxiously anticipating season 6.

2 Comments

  1. Catherine

    July 5, 2008 at 8:04 pm

    That’s really good to hear that the first series will be DUD and that Charlaine believes they will follow the storyline and expand to make up for the limitations presented by a first person POV.

  2. Victoria Whitney

    October 11, 2009 at 10:06 pm

    Hi I have a question when is the comic-con/ true blood conference coming to my town of Pittsburgh, pa just want to ask

    thank you