This past Friday, I was honored to meet Charlaine Harris. A friend from work loaned me her copy of Dead Until Dark and I was hooked from that moment on. At the time, the Sookie Stackhouse series was up to book 8 so I spent two-three weeks devouring the books. My weekends? Yeah, I spent them reading, eating, sleeping, then reading some more!
Murder by the Book, a local bookstore that specializes in mystery/fantasy, brought Charlaine in for a luncheon and a book signing later that evening. I made sure to call ahead to get my place in the signing line. Since parking was so limited at the bookstore, I had to park on one of the side streets. Being that I left straight from work, I was about 2 hours early. However, I wasn’t the only one! I picked up my book and signing number. I was number 13, on Friday the 13th. Could that be considered lucky? Not sure.
Normally, I tend to keep to myself in events like this. I’m not what you would deem as a social butterfly! The young woman sitting next to me, Jennifer, struck up a conversation with me and we talked until Charlaine was ready for her show. Jennifer had already finished Dead Reckoning and was wanting to ask me what I thought, unfortunately, I hadn’t read it yet. Now that I have, I can see why she was so worked up!
People filed in from all around. The entire bookstore was filled with fans.
At 6:30 Charlaine came out and the fun began. This was the first time I had seen her in person so I was a bit surprised at how witty and funny she was. At one point one of the audience members asked her if Eric and Sookie would ever revisit the shower (those of you who have read the series know what I’m talking about!). Charlaine looked perplexed and followed up with “Well, have you read the new book? I thought the porch swing was pretty good. Afterall, I’m almost 60. I am trying!”.
Some interesting things about Charlaine as a writer: she never outlines her books, her vision for Sookie has not changed since starting the series (it’s just had some sidetracks. As she puts it, she likes bald men! Ahhh…Quinn), she only has two more books to go then Sookie’s story will be done. While I’m a little dissappointed to know “the end” is near, I also understand the drive to put the story to bed instead of letting it get out of control and end on a bad note. When asked where the name Sookie came from, Charlaine explained that she felt it was a good Southern name and fit with how she saw her character. Plus, her grandmother’s best friend was named Sookie.
One of the audience members next to me asked Charlaine what advice she would have for would-be/wanna-be writers. She echoed what I’ve heard and read so many times before. “Number 1: Read, read, read and number 2: put your butt in the chair and write. Nothing teaches you more about writing than writing itself”. The question/answer period went much too fast for my liking. We were called to line up in groups of 20. Look at me! Number 13 gets to go in the first group. It must be a lucky number…
Or, maybe not. The actual signing photo took like this:
Yeah…me with my eyes closed! The girl could have taken 1 more and let me know…oh well. C’est la vie!