Skip to Main Content (Press Enter)

Charlaine Harris

Photo of Charlaine Harris

Photo: © Sigrid Estrada

About the Author

Charlaine Harris is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Sookie Stackhouse and Midnight, Texas, fantasy/mystery series and the Aurora Teagarden, Harper Connelly, and Lily Bard mystery series. Her books have inspired HBO’s True Blood, NBC’s Midnight, Texas, and the Aurora Teagarden movies for Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. She has lived in the South her entire life.

Charlaine Harris Also Contributed To

More Series From Charlaine Harris

Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood

A Harper Connelly Mystery

A Novel of Midnight, Texas

Harper Connelly Graphic Novel

Author Q&A

Short stories are magical. Short story collections more so.

The short story is a powerful form of writing, able to do so many things. A short story can be a stand alone tale. A short story can help an author more fully realize a previously-wrought world, a perfect place to grow the world without needing an entire novel to do it. And sometimes a short story can be fertile ground for an author to attempt a new world filled with new characters.

When I invited Charlaine Harris to write a short story for Unfettered II, I knew the power that should would wield. I have loved her Sookie short stories and I knew she’d turn in a great tale. For the anthology, I gave her no direction. She could write anything she wanted. She could write something in Sookie’s world; she could write something entirely new. She chose something new. And that Unfettered II short story is an amazing story, one you will read more about it in the interview below.

For a long time, I had been considering tracking down and buying all the various anthologies that held the Sookie short stories. I’m happy I waited. Because Harris worked with her publisher to create a Sookie short story collection that compiles all of them in one place. The Complete Sookie Stackhouse Stories is the result, a collection available tomorrow!

Below is Harris talking about Sookie, the power of the short story, and some advice for new urban fantasy writers.


PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE: The Complete Sookie Stackhouse Stories is published now and just in time for the holiday season! It contains ten Sookie stories. Why is this collection an important book for Sookie fans?

Charlaine Harris: If you’re a completist and you must have every book in the series, The Complete Sookie Stackhouse Stories is a must. The Sookie stories were scattered through many anthologies, and bringing them all together for the reader — with the placement of where they occur in the timeline of the books — was a great idea. Even if you’ve tracked down a lot of the stories, this way you can be sure you’ve read them all.

PRH: I rank Sookie up there with some of the best characters in our genre. What is it about Sookie and her story that resonated with readers? Maybe more importantly, what about her resonates with her author?

CH: Thanks, Shawn. Sookie was an incredible amount of fun to write. I am not sure what made her catch on, but I do know that she is brave and determined to live a full life despite her many problems. I think that can resonate with anyone. I certainly loved that about her. And I am so glad she had a true moral compass . . . and that she made mistakes, and paid for them.

PRH: You have written many short stories. What is it about the format that you love? And how does it differ from writing a novel?

CH: I have written a lot of short stories, but am still lagging behind many of my friends. A short story is incredibly hard to bring off, because you have to make every word count, and you have to deliver the punch at the end. I find writing short fiction to be EXTREMELY challenging, and though I dread starting one, I know it’s good for me as a writer. It freshens up your writing habits.

PRH: The short story anthology Unfettered II features a Charlaine Harris tale that you are expanding into a novel. Did you use the short story to test the viability of the novel’s idea? Or was it something more than that and what else can you tell us about this new novel?

CH: Shawn, since I was writing the story for a charity anthology and was not bound to use any series character, I felt free to experiment. I had no idea that story was in me, but after I finished it, I was so happy with the result and anxious to explore Lizbeth’s world at more length. Very fortunately, Saga editor Joe Monti felt the same way. I was really astonished to find I had written an alternate-American-history story with a very young female gunslinger as the protagonist, and now that the first book, An Easy Death, has been turned in (October 30, 2018) and I’m on the second one, I’m having great fun.

PRH: Urban fantasy and paranormal romance have spent over ten years evolving and changing. What sage advice would you give writers who want to write urban fantasy right now?

CH: Those offshoots of science fiction have been around long enough now to establish tropes which have gotten really tired. I would suggest, if you want to write in those fields, you need to be confident you have a fresh approach to the material which will make your writing vital and exciting. Everyone wants to read a good story . . . no one wants to read recycled plots and characters.

The Complete Sookie Stackhouse Stories by Charlaine Harris is in fine bookstores tomorrow!

Connect with Charlaine Harris

Back to Top