Charlaine Harris: Deadlocked

Sookie Stackhouse’s story is almost at its end; after the just-released Deadlocked, there’s just one more title before novelist Charlaine Harris pulls the plug on the series. Harris is in town today to discuss and sign Deadlocked at Murder by the Book, one of her top two favorite bookstores in the country. The store, and especially former staffer Dean James, played a key role in launching the Sookie Stackhouse books.

Harris was already a published author when she hit upon the idea of a supernatural series built around a telepathic waitress living in a small town in northern Louisiana. (Anne Rice had already taken New Orleans, so Harris took the northern part of the state, she says. It’s not as physically beautiful or culturally varied, but it made the perfect home for Sookie.) It was a change for Harris, apparently too big a change for her agent, who was reluctant to shop the title around.

Harris was certain she was onto something special with Sookie, and she decided to get another opinion. She sent the manuscript to Dean James, a friend, author and then Murder by the Book staffer. “No one knows more about mysteries than Dean, and I really valued his opinion,” says Harris. “When he told me he fell off the bed laughing reading the manuscript, I knew I was right about Sookie.” The series went on to be a huge success and spawned the HBO television series True Blood.

In Deadlocked, Sookie faces two new opponents, a rogue werewolf and a vampire queen who wants to take Sookie’s boyfriend Eric as her consort. The queen’s plan doesn’t sit well with Sookie, who thinks Eric should just refuse the request. But if the queen or other vampire officials decided to take revenge on Eric for disobedience, that would put him in real danger. Eric, on the other hand, thinks Sookie should throw a little fairy magic on the situation and save him. But Sookie can use the fairy magic only once, and when one of her friends is hurt and about to die, she has to decide whether to save her lover or her friend. 6:30 p.m. 2342 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-524-8597 or visit www.murderbooks.com.
Fri., May 11, 6:30 p.m., 2012

 
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