CFA Master Class: Charlaine Harris
Thursday January 10, 2013
$12 General Admission
Free to Members of CFA
As part of the Center's Crime Fiction Academy, acclaimed author, Charlaine Harris, will offer practical writing tips to budding authors while also giving insight to readers about her work.
#1 New York Times bestselling author Charlaine Harris has been a published novelist for thirty years. A native of the Mississippi Delta, she grew up in the middle of a cotton field. She still lives in the South with her husband and three dogs. Their three children are out of the nest. In her years as a published writer, she’s written four series and two stand-alones, plus numerous short stories. Her first graphic novel, Cemetery Girl written with Christopher Golden, will be published in 2013.
Though her early output consisted largely of ghost stories, by the time she hit college (Rhodes, in Memphis), Charlaine was writing poetry and plays. After holding down some low-level jobs, she had the opportunity to stay home and write, and the resulting two stand-alones were published by Houghton Mifflin. After a child-producing sabbatical, Charlaine latched on to the trend of writing mystery series, and soon had her own traditional books about a Georgia librarian, Aurora Teagarden. Her first Teagarden, Real Murders, garnered an Agatha Award nomination.
Soon Charlaine was looking for another challenge, and the result was the much darker Lily Bard series. The books, set in Shakespeare, Arkansas, feature a heroine who has survived a terrible attack and is learning to live with its consequences.
When Charlaine began to realize that neither of those series was ever going to set the literary world on fire, she regrouped and decided to write the book she’d always wanted to write. Not a traditional mystery, yet not pure science fiction or romance, Dead Until Dark broke genre boundaries to appeal to a wide audience of people who just enjoy a good adventure. Each subsequent book about Sookie Stackhouse, telepathic barmaid and friend to vampires, werewolves, and various other odd creatures, has drawn more readers. The Southern Vampire books are published in twenty languages. They are also the basis of True Blood, the HBO series produced by Alan Ball (Six Feet Under) and starring Golden Globe winner Anna Paquin in the role of Sookie.
In addition to Sookie, Charlaine has another bestselling heroine with a strange ability. Harper Connelly was struck by lightning and now has the ability to determine the cause of death of any body. The fourth and final installment in this series, Grave Secret, was published in 2009.
Charlaine is an avid reader of genre literature, and she is deeply involved in her community. In addition to her work, Charlaine is a former board member of Mystery Writers of America, a past board member of Sisters in Crime, a member of the American Crime Writers League, and past president of the Arkansas Mystery Writers Alliance. She spends her “spare” time reading, visiting with family, traveling, and going to the movies.