Penguin Speakers Bureau

Charlaine Harris

New York Times Bestselling-Author of the Sookie Stackhouse Novels, the Basis for the Hit HBO Series True Blood

Photo by Sigrid Estrada

Biography

Charlaine Harris, who has been writing mysteries for over twenty years, is a native of Mississippi. Born and raised in the Delta, she began training for her career as soon as she could hold a pencil. Though her early works consisted largely of poems about ghosts and, later, teenage angst, she began writing plays when she attended Rhodes College in Memphis, and graduated to writing books a few years later.

After publishing two stand-alone mysteries, Harris decided to establish a series. She began the lighthearted Aurora Teagarden books with Real Murders, which garnered an Agatha Award nomination. Harris’s protagonist, a diminutive Georgia librarian whose life never turns out quite the way she planned, kept Harris busy for several books, but finally Harris (and Aurora) grew restless.

The result of this restlessness was the much edgier Shakespeare series—set not in England, but in rural Arkansas. The heroine of the Shakespeare books is Lily Bard, a tough and taciturn woman whose life has been permanently reshaped by a terrible crime and its consequences. In Shakespeare’s Landlord, the first in the series, Lily is caught at a moment when the shell she’s built around herself is just beginning to crack, and the books capture Lily’s emotional re-entry into the world, while also being sound mysteries.

Harris’s latest venture is a series about a telepathic barmaid in southern Louisiana. The first book in the series, Dead Until Dark, won an Anthony Award for best paperback mystery of 2001. Each book about Sookie Stackhouse (and her dealings with vampires, werewolves, and other creatures of the night) has gathered more readers to enjoy the books’ unique blend of mystery, humor, romance, and the supernatural. Thanks to this ever-growing fan base, Harris is a staple on the New York Times bestseller list and is the only author to accomplish the feat of having nine bestsellers at one time. The Sookie books are also being read in Japan, Spain, Greece, and Great Britain.

In addition to her work as a writer, Harris is married and a mother to three children. A former weightlifter and karate student, she is also an avid reader and cinephile. She is a member of the vestry of St. James Episcopal Church.

Harris is a member of the Mystery Writers of America and the American Crime Writers League. She is on the board of Sisters in Crime, and alternates with Joan Hess as president of the Arkansas Mystery Writers Alliance.

Speaking Topics

  • The Creative Writing Process

    Charlaine discusses the creation and development her popular characters, and how the elements of a novel combine to achieve an overall atmosphere and effect.

More About This Speaker

Featured Book

Dead Ever After

"What sucked me in? Definitely the books' oddly charming, often funny mix of the mundane and the absurd. And the chills and thrills in boudoirs and various locales around the South aren't too bad, either."

The Seattle Times

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