Deadlocked: A Sookie Stackhouse Novel
hurts my head. Anita's love life went into a completely different direction than I'd ever anticipated. I so didn't see Anita dating this many men, or being in love with more than one man, and having everyone she loved okay with that.
CH: I've discovered some surprising things about my characters as I wrote them. I know that their minds are really my mind, but sometimes it doesn't feel that way. It's like knowing a character has a secret (I'm thinking of Bill), and then suddenly realizing what that secret is. I was genuinely aghast. Sometimes my creative brain thinks a lot faster than my conscious brain. And it's certainly a lot more devious.
How do you keep a world with paranormal elements credible?
CH: I anchored my skewed world with real-life elements. Sookie has to pay her bills, she has to do her laundry, and she has family obligations. My vampires buy their clothes at the mall. My werewolf runs a surveying business. One of my fairies works in customer service at a department store. Readers seem to enjoy the fact that no matter what creature you may be, there's a process of surviving that has to be gone through; but there's all these other elements that make that process so different.
LKH: I make sure any real life facts are as real and well-researched as possible. Because I'm asking people to believe in vampires, wereanimals, and zombies, I need to make sure the guns, cars, and real crime are as realistic as possible. Once a reader catches me wrong in an area where they are expert they won't believe my monsters are real. But I have found if I'm right on the hard facts even experts will let me fudge, or take that next fantastic leap, because I've proven myself by laying the foundation of reality to make my leap into the unknown.
Do people ever expect you to be your characters?
LKH: If I had known people would get confused between fiction and fact I'd have made Anita look less like me, but it just never occurred to me that there would be a problem. I've had fans want to know what weapons I'm carrying. They assume all the men are based on real people, and they aren't. I don't actually base characters on real people. Since I can't lighten Anita's hair, I've lightened my own and I get less fan confusion. I've had fans ask for the phone numbers of the men and get angry when I tried to explain I couldn't give them the contact info for a fictional character.
CH: Ha! Well, I'm much older and rounder than Sookie, so I'm definitely no stand-in for Sookie. In fact, readers who have never met me before are usually astonished when they meet me; so were the actors on True Blood . Some of my readers who came to me after watching True Blood get the characters in the books sort of conflated with the actors who play them on television. In their minds, Alexander Skarsgard IS Eric, Stephen Moyer IS Bill. It can lead to some confusing questions when I'm at signings.
What scenes in your novels are the most fun for you to write? Action? Sex? Relationship drama?
CH: All of those are fun, depending on the outcome! But I have to say, I love to write a good fight scene. I find the "relationship" scenes a challenge. When people talk about their relationships, it's a messy conversation. People aren't too articulate about their innermost feelings. And such conversations don't proceed in a linear way, but jag back and forth as each speaker voices the issues that are most important to that person. So it's hard to make sound realistic, coherent, and yet condense such a conversation enough to make it tolerable.
LKH: It depends on my mood. Sometimes a good fight scene can be very therapeutic, and give a productive outlet for negative emotions. The more people involved in the action the more complex the fight choreography can become, and that can be a challenge, and slow down the emotional content for me. I enjoy doing sex scenes, but they are a different kind of challenge. On a day when I can get in the mood for the scene, they’re great, but on a day when real life interferes, it’s a bit like real sex. It’s hard to concentrate on it when you have too many interruptions from the non-sexy side of your life. I guess that’s true of all writing, though, too many interruptions disrupt the process in general. The biggest challenge for the sex scenes is that sex is a very personal and individual activity, so I have the same girl involved, but different men and I want each man’s style to be unique. Relationship drama? Yuck, can I just
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