Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Charlaine Harris

Back in the fall of 2006 when Charlaine Harris came to Madison to our little mystery themed bookstore she had not become THE NAME she is today. She was very popular for her mystery series, which sadly had only a few of the books remaining in print. Her Sookie books where finally starting to get noticed, with the previous three books making the leap from paperback to hardcover in an indication of the publishers faith in the series. She had also started a new series. The Harper Connelly series, which has taken a lot of criticism for the relationship between the two main characters, was instantly a favorite with me. The first book, Grave Sight, was a nice diversion from the writings of Harris I had previously read, more mystery, less supernatural sex. Plus, the spin the character of Harper puts on a "ghost whisperer" was intriguing. Instead of a sexually abused character who can read minds due to genetics, here we have a psychically handicapped girl who has the power to see the last minutes of the dead due to a lightning strike. Yes, it does sound a little silly, but the first book had me riveted, and when the second book came out I was first at the bookstore that day for the signing. Oddly enough the bookstore had not gotten their shipment of books so the store owners had to run across the street and buy out the stock and Borders. I was one of the few to get stock that wasn't from Borders. Yes, that was a random aside, but it's the odd details that stick with one that should be told.

Charlaine was exactly as she seems in interviews, a sweet Southern lady who really likes her gore. I found it interesting that the one thing she allows herself since her fame is that she can buy any book she wants, being a voracious reader. I totally would also adopt this if I where ever to become famous, but with the caveat, and the shelf space to store and display them. A lot of the talk was about her Aurora Teagarden and Lily Bard series, which I had not read (ie, see the note about them being out of print), but I did know who Lily Bard is because of her brief cameo in one of the Sookie books, which was repeated in the most recent installment. So, while fun to site and listen, I was at times a bit lost. But the signing was totally worth it, because when she was signing my books, all of which she personalized (!), I got to talk to her a bit about Sookie. I was saying how I found her books when in a desperate need for Vampire literature due to the end of Buffy, which is how I found out she was such a fan of Buffy. Although she likes the music to Angel far more, though she could never really get into it. I left the bookstore a happy girl clutching my books and went to pick up our new VCR/DVD player at Best Buy. The electronics have long since failed me, but this memory and those signed books are a possession I prize, especially as her signings are hundreds upon hundreds of people now versus the cozy little crowd gathered that fall day.


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