Charlaine Harris (born November 25, 1951 in Tunica, Mississippi) is a New York Times bestselling author who has been writing mysteries for over twenty years. 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, graduating to 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 Best Novel nomination in 1990. Harris's protagonist, a diminutive Georgia librarian whose life never turns out quite the way she plans, kept Harris busy for several books, but finally Harris (and Aurora) grew restless in the mid-1990s, and began branching out into other works. She did not resume the series until 1999, save for one short story in a Murder She Wrote anthology titled Murder, They Wrote.
The result of this restlessness was the 1996 release of the much edgier Shakespeare series, set 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 has built around herself is just beginning to crack. The books capture Lily's emotional re-entry into the world, while still remaining sound mysteries. The fifth book in the series, Shakespeare's Counselor, was printed in Fall 2001, followed by the short story "Dead Giveaway" published in the Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine in December of the same year.
After Shakespeare, Harris created an entirely new series for release in 2001. The Southern Vampire Mysteries is about a telepathic barmaid in northern Louisiana named Sookie Stackhouse. The first book in the series, Dead Until Dark, won the Anthony Award for Best Paperback Mystery in 2001. Each book follows Sookie as she tries to solve mysteries involving vampires, werewolves, and other creatures of the night. The series has gathered a strong following with its unique blend of mystery, humor, romance, and the supernatural. The series has been released in Japan, Spain, Greece, Germany, France, Brazil and Great Britain. Her sixth book in the series, Definitely Dead, was published in May 2006, and the seventh, All Together Dead was released in May 2007.
Sookie Stackhouse has proven to be so popular that Alan Ball, creator of the acclaimed HBO television series Six Feet Under, announced he would undertake the production of a new HBO series based upon the Southern Vampire Mysteries. He also wrote and directed the pilot episode for the series, "True Blood", which premiered on HBO on September 7, 2008.
October 2005 marked the debut of Harris's new series about a young woman named Harper Connelly, with the release of Grave Sight. Harper's been struck by lightning and the experience has left her with a strange ability: she can find corpses and see how they died. Afterward, Harper and her step-brother, Tolliver Lang, make their living from finding the dead. Like her past novels, the Harper Connelly books are mysteries set in the sleepy South.
Professionally, Harris is a member of the Mystery Writers of America and the American Crime Writers League She is a member of the board of Sisters in Crime, and alternates with Joan Hess as president of the Arkansas Mystery Writers Alliance. Personally, Harris is married and the mother of three teenagers. A former weightlifter and karate student, she is an avid reader and cinemaphile. She is also a member of the vestry of St. James Episcopal Church.
`Dead as a Doornail' by Charlaine Harris; `Death of the Party' by Carolyn Hart; `Lost in the Forest' by Sue Miller; `The Art of Undressing' by Stephanie Lehmann.
May 04, 2005; LOVE AT FIRST BITE Buffy the Vampire Slayer may be yesterday's news, but fang fans can still get their fix with ``Dead as a...