View our feature on Charlaine Harris’s Dead in the Family.
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After enduring torture and the loss of loved ones during the brief but deadly Faery War, Sookie Stackhouse is hurt and she’s angry. Just about the only bright spot in her life is the love she thinks she feels for vampire Eric Northman. But he’s under scrutiny by the new Vampire King because of their relationship. And as the political implications of the Shifters coming out are beginning to be felt, Sookie’s connection to the Shreveport pack draws her into the debate. Worst of all, though the door to Faery has been closed, there are still some Fae on the human side-and one of them is angry at Sookie. Very, very angry…
We left Sookie in a pretty sad place at the end of Dead and Gone, and I think all your readers are hoping that she will pull through her awful experiences and come back as the same spunky telepath we all love. Does she get any time to recuperate in Dead in the Family? What’s in store for Sookie in this book?
Sookie goes through her physical recuperation at the beginning of the book, and I think she’s recovering mentally through the book. But of course, life and death keep happening around her. Bless her heart.
To whose family, or families, does the title of Dead in the Family refer? Any surprises?
I certainly hope there are a lot of surprises. There are several families included in the story; Bill’s family, Eric’s family, Sookie’s family. I think some of the family members will startle the readers.
Amelia, Sookie’s roommate, who thinks more of her powers as a witch than perhaps she should, has a lot of fans. Can you tell us anything about her future?
Amelia, as the beginning of the book makes clear, is returning to New Orleans to try to restart her life there. She’s left too many loose ends to stay in Bon Temps. She’ll recur in Sookie’s life.
And so does Bill, although he and Sookie have been broken up for most of the series at this point. A lot of people—myself included—keep hoping they’ll end up together again. Are we just being naive fangirls, or is there any hope left for Sookie and Bill?
There’s always hope.
The Fellowship of the Sun, a vampire-hating cult, is full of such believable and diabolical villains. Will we see them again?
Sure. I love a good villain, and the Fellowship is full of ‘em.
The HBO series True Blood is delectable, but it certainly differs from your novels in parts of the plot and some characterizations. When you watch the show, what representations most pleased you, and what most surprised you?
I love the show, too, and I’m glad it’s different from the books. That way I don’t get bored. I’m happy with ALL the casting, there’s not a one I would change. I was very surprised about the plot change that resulted in Jessica’s being brought over, but I think she’s a great character.You’ve also written a mystery series for Berkley Prime Crime about sleuth Harper Connelly, who can sense the location of a person’s death and their last moments, making her life as an investigator for the families of the deceased very interesting—and dangerous. For fans who haven’t discovered the series that started with Grave Sight, can you tell us a bit more about it?
As you said, it’s more of a mystery based series, with a dash of the supernatural. The Harper Connelly books are travelling books. Harper and her companion Tolliver go to a new town in every book. Harper, while trying to solve the current murder in each book, is also anxious to find out what happened to her sister, who disappeared years before. And she’s struggling to make a life for herself despite the terrible upbringing she and Tolliver, her stepbrother, endured.
In fact, you were published as a mystery writer for more than 20 years before you began the Sookie series. Would your advice to an aspiring author looking to break into publishing differ depending on the genre they wanted to write?
No. If you want to be the best writer you can be—and who doesn’t?—you need to read, read, read, and then sit down, take a deep breath, and write. At first it won’t be good. It’s hard work to become the writer you want to be.
You just had your first book tour through Europe! Can you share some of your favorite moments? What did fans of Sookie from across the pond seem to most want to know?
Actually, my fans in other countries wanted to know exactly the same things my fans here want to know! My favorite moment came in Poland, when some of my younger fans curtsied to me. I loved it. And meeting some wonderful journalists and a great radio personality, Rosaria Renna, in Italy, I enjoyed that. In Portugal, my publishers took me to Sintra, which was amazing. And England—well, I just loved being in England.
Any final thoughts to share with your readers?
I hope you all enjoy the continuation of Sookie’s adventures, and I look forward to seeing you on tour and hearing from you on the website when the book is out.