Charlaine Harris Schulz (born November 25, 1951) is an American New York Times bestselling author who has been writing mystery novels for nearly 30 years. She is best known for The Southern Vampire Mysteries series, which HBO later adapted for its dramatic series True Blood.

Charlaine Harris Bio

Harris was born in Tunica, Miss., and, in an exclusive interview with uInterview, she said of her younger self:

“I started writing when I could hold a pencil and I kept on writing all through my school years.”

Though her early work consisted largely of poems about ghosts and, later, teenage angst, she began writing plays when she attended Rhodes College in Memphis, Tenn. She began to write books a few years later.

Charlaine Harris: Early Career

Harris didn’t truly begin to flourish as a writer until her second marriage. Speaking about when she began devoting her time solely to her writing, Harris said:

“After a failed first marriage, my starter marriage, I married Hal, my current husband of 36 years. And he offered me the opportunity to stay at home from work and write full time…what a wonderful offer that was.”

Harris credits husband Hal’s gesture as being the catalyst for the early successes of her writing career. After publishing two stand-alone mysteries, Harris began the lighthearted Aurora Teagarden books with Real Murders, a Best Novel 1990 nomination for the Agatha Awards. Harris wrote several books in the series before the mid-1990s when she began branching out into other works.

In 1996, she released the first in the Shakespeare series featuring cleaning lady detective Lily Bard, set in rural Arkansas. The fifth book in the series, Shakespeare’s Counselor, was printed in fall 2001.

By most standards she was doing well, she had a publisher and was a mid list regular but she saw little financial reward:

“I didn’t make much money for many years even when by most standards I was a successful writer… I was just hanging around somewhere in the middle, published, happy to be there, but there was no excitement in my career so I felt it was time to give myself a big boost if I was ever going to and the Sookie Stackhouse novels were the result.”

Charlaine Harris: The Southern Vampire Mysteries

The first novel in The Southen Vampire MysteriesDead Until Dark, was published in 2001. It featured psychic heroine Sookie Stackhouse living in Northwestern Louisiana in a modern-day world inhabited by vampires, werewolves, shapeshifters, faeries, and other fantasy creatures. The novel was well received and won the Anthony Award for Best Paperback Mystery in 2001.

It was followed by a further 12 novels and the series success gained more and more momentum. Harris was overjoyed to see her work really take off.

“It was wonderful,” she said of the experience. “It was vindication on a grand scale for all those years when I was making so little that Hal thought writing was just a heavily subsidized hobby for me. It was really exciting and vindicating.”

Sookie Stackhouse had proven to be so popular that Alan Ball, creator of the HBO television series Six Feet Under, undertook the production of a series based on the novels. He wrote and directed the pilot episode for the series, True Blood, which premiered on Sept. 7, 2008 on HBO. The television show was a critical and financial success for HBO running 7 seasons through the 2014 year.

She said of the series that while the actors often didn’t match up to how she had envisioned her characters they were all “fabulous.” She called the experience of seeing her work adapted “shocking” but remarked that she loved the show.

October 2005 marked the debut of Harris’s new series entitled The Harper Connelly Mysteries, with the release of Grave Sight, while 2014 marked the debut of the Cemetery Girl series, a graphic novel series co-written with Christopher Golden and illustrated by Don Kramer.

Charlaine Harris: Personal Life

Harris has been married to second husband, Hal, for 36 years. She has three children and two grandchildren.

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