Charlaine Harris talks Sookie Stackhouse in 'Dead After After'
Ready your tissues, Sookie Stackhouse fans! Though True Blood is still going strong (hey, Billith!), Charlaine Harris’ long-running book series chronicling the adventures of a mind-reading barmaid and her (many) supernatural lovers is finally coming to an end this May with Dead Ever After. We spoke to Harris about her future plans, saying goodbye to Sookie, and, most importantly (for this reporter anyways), what’s been going on with the Viking Vampire God known as Eric. But before you read our interview, check out an exclusive trailer for Sookie’s 13th and final outing, narrated by Ms. Harris herself!
NEXT: Harris shares her thoughts on the end of Sookie Stackhouse and looks to the future (which includes watching plenty of Game of Thrones).
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How does it feel to be done with the Sookie Stackhouse novels?
CHARLAINE HARRIS: Mostly I’m just excited about doing something different. This is the longest I’ve ever written a series and I’m really ready to do something else. I’ve sure enjoyed living in Bon Temps and seeing Sookie so much, but I just came to realize that I’d come to the end of what I’d wanted to say about her.
Are you satisfied with the ending?
It’s the ending I had planned all along, maybe from like the second book on. There will be people who are super happy and there will be people who will not be happy, but you have to stay true to your own vision.
So you never felt the urge to change anything in the series based on the readers’ feedback?
No. I’m sorry, this is the universe I’m the queen of. The readers can get pretty angry and tell me I’m writing the characters wrong. I hardly see how that could be possible. They’re my characters! [Laughs]
I feel like Eric is especially a source of controversy. I have a friend who told me to ask you, and I quote: “Why did you decide to create a character that everyone fell in love with and then rip him from are our nimble little page-turning fingers?”
When I created Eric, I felt I’d created a complete person, with both a very attractive side and an unattractive one. Of course, no one’s perfect, human or vampire or Were! There’s no perfect “happily ever after.” But I get a lot of indignant feedback from a small but vocal group of readers whenever the narrative requires that one of Eric’s less lovely characteristics play into the story.
But it must be flattering to a degree. People care about these characters so much that they feel like they know them better than you do. That’s how real they are.
Well, it is! Of course it’s tremendously flattering. I appreciate the fact that people get so invested in the characters. That’s what every writer wants: She wants to pull them into her world. Amazingly, I seem to have done that with Sookie. It’s just thrilling.
Have you been watching the TV show? Personally I like that it’s so different from the books.
Well, I like it too. There’s the Game of Thrones approach in which they stay very faithful to the books. Of course they have to compress and delete some things because the books are so long. I really like that because I get to see what I’ve read and enjoyed. But at the same time, True Blood gives you the same characters in a completely new environment.
Would you ever write an episode for True Blood?
Oh gosh, no. It would be very hard for me to adapt to their storyline. They obviously know what they’re doing and I have no idea where they’re going, which is kind of a funny and exciting place for me to be.
What’s next for you?
Christopher Golden and I have collaborated on writing a graphic novel and the first volume will be out in October. We finished the second volume and it’s gone in for approval. I’m writing another series that I’m starting. Toni Kelner and I have another anthology coming out, so I’ve been editing stories for that.
Do you have anything left in your career that you’d like to try?
You know, I’ve had so many opportunities I never thought I would have ever, ever, ever have. It’s hard for me to imagine what would make life any better. Of course it would be nice to have a book made into a movie. I would really enjoy learning what that process was like because I’ve done the television thing. I’m really enjoying writing short stories that are not about series characters. That’s fun for me. I’ve sold one to Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, a completely different short story about completely different people with nothing supernatural about it. It was really a thrill for me to get back to my mystery roots.
What do you hope people get out of Dead Ever After?
In the end, I hope people won’t be disappointed in what I’ve given them because, gosh, I worked so hard on it. I went over it so many times trying to make sure I was doing it right.
Dead Ever After hits shelves on May 7.
Sookie, Bill, Eric, Lafayette, Sam and the other residents Bon Temps deal with vampires, werewolves, fairies, and shape-shifters—not to mention romance and drama