This picture was shared with us by Beth Hillebrand. Beth said, "Here is a picture taken in Lake Village, AR. Charlaine stopped by our store to do some shopping. I didn't want to scare her away so I waited until she was in the checkout line to ask for a photo. She is the reason I got into reading. My mother is an English teacher and she has tried for years but it was Charlaine who accomplished the impossible." Thanks so much for sharing Beth.
I would like to introduce the Compelling Charlaine Harris as our "Author of the Month" for the month of March. Here is the personal interview that we were blessed with.
Candie and Michelle: Have you always known you wanted to be a writer? Did anything happen to push you in that direction?
Charlaine Harris: Yes, I knew I wanted to be a writer as soon as I could read. I could not imagine anything more wonderful, but it seemed so unlikely that I could be one of these wonderful people who produced books.
Candie and Michelle: All of us fans are so glad you chose this path. How has life changed since your career has taken off?
Charlaine Harris: Of course, I have more money, which is a nice change. And a lot of possibilities have opened up that weren’t there before. I’ve gotten to meet people it never occurred to me I’d meet, and go to parties and visit on sets. I’ve come to know some actors and screenwriters and directors and makeup people, cameramen, and on and on. Fascinating.
Candie and Michelle: Sounds so exciting. :) Is it hard to juggle having a family and being a writer at the same time? How do you do it?
Charlaine Harris: It was harder when my kids were young. Now that I have grandchildren, not so hard. It’s like having any other job, you juggle obligations day by day. It’s a lot of responsibility and you have to know you’re going to miss a few things when you travel.
Candie and Michelle: Very true. Thank you for that great advice. Who has been your biggest supporter in your career so far?
Charlaine Harris: My husband, of course. My kids. Really, everyone has been wonderfully understanding and supportive.
Candie and Michelle: We are so glad you have that support system. What was the hardest part in getting your writing career started?
Charlaine Harris: I took five years off when I was having babies, and I really wouldn’t advise that. Once you’ve started, don’t falter. You’re forgotten in the blink of an eye. On the other hand, your real life is more important than your book life.
Candie and Michelle: That is great advise for those of trying to get into this business. For those who haven’t read your books yet, how would you describe your writing style?
Charlaine Harris: Still evolving, as it will until I kick the bucket, I guess. I like to use my vocabulary, and I like to write about people who have problems readers can sympathize with and relate to . . . at least, for the most part. Warm.
Candie and Michelle: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Charlaine Harris: The whole process is a challenge. No matter how many books I write, it’s always hard. I find the middle of books to be the hardest to get through, because it’s so easy to lose your momentum.
Candie and Michelle: I can see how that can get tricky. What is something you do to overcome writer’s block?
Charlaine Harris: Write something else. Write a blog, or a book review, or a few pages of a different story. Then go back to the work that’s gotten gummed up, and find out why.
Candie and Michelle: I agree with you completely on that as that is what I have to do too. If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Charlaine Harris: I’m kind of mentoring age myself, now! I’ve always been a huge admirer of the late, great, Shirley Jackson. Reading her work is a crash course in how to be a writer.
Candie and Michelle: We will have check her books out. If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?
Charlaine Harris: “Jurassic Park.” Because the concept is so fabulous.
Candie and Michelle: Out of all the books you have written so far, which has been your favorite one to write?
Charlaine Harris: Impossible to say. There is something in every book that still makes me proud.
Candie and Michelle: As a whole, which character has been your favorite “good guy” to write about? Who has been your favorite villain?
Charlaine Harris: I loved writing about Sookie, because she’s so charming and yet she has so many problems. As for villain, I suppose Debbie Pelt. Most of my villains have points of view — they’re not just black holes. Debbie came closest to just being really horrible.
Candie and Michelle: I absolutely adored Sookie. She always tried to do the right moral thing until she had no other choice but to play dirty and Debbie did whatever she wanted and didn't care who she had to hurt or what she had to do to get it. Out of all your books, do you feel like there is a particular character you relate to the most?
Charlaine Harris: Probably Aurora Teagarden, since she is really closer to my own character than most.
Candie and Michelle: I haven't had the chance to read those books yet but I'm looking forward to hopefully reading them in the near future. Is there anywhere that you have traveled to that has inspired you to use it one of your upcoming books?
Charlaine Harris: My books tend to stay at home, so to speak, but if I wrote about another state it might be Alaska. So beautiful.
Candie and Michelle: What book are you reading now?
Charlaine Harris: “The Slow Regard of Silent Things,” by Patrick Rothfuss.
Candie and Michelle: We will have to add that to our to read list. Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Charlaine Harris: Oh, sure, all the time. I’m a great reader. I love to find new writers whose work excites me. I just read a book by Susan Boyer, who was new to me, and I just read Tom Bouman’s debut novel.
Candie and Michelle: We will have to check them both out. What advice would you give to your younger self?
Charlaine Harris: I’m not big on looking back.
Candie and Michelle: What advice do you give to other aspiring authors?
Charlaine Harris: Read a lot. Work hard, and work every day. Be pleasant to everyone unless they cross the boundary, and be sure you know where that boundary is.
Candie and Michelle: Excellent Advice. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Charlaine Harris:Thanks for following me through so many genres!
Candie and Michelle: How can readers discover more about you and you work?
Blog: Book & Blog on my website, and I blog with the Femmes Fatales on Typepad on alternate Mondays
Thank you so much Charlaine for taking the time to sit down with us. We both feel blessed to be featuring you this month.
-Candie and Michelle