Charlaine Harris in NYC

Tuesday night I hopped on the Harley (on the back--I'm not that cool) and rode into Manhattan with my husband for the release and book signing of DEAD RECKONING, book 11 in the Southern Vampire Mysteries (True Blood) by Charlaine Harris. I will admit, I was a little bit starstruck. Most of the pictures that my husband took, I'm making crazy faces, or squealing like the fangirl that I am. So I'll just share these ones with you.

I took my smaller camera, which takes kind of crappy pictures, because I went on the bike and my big camera is...big.

That is me on the right in the tan sweater.

Charlaine Harris was the author who got me back in to reading. The minute I picked up DEAD UNTIL DARK, I was hooked in the world she'd created, and totally in love with her characters. Because of this, I started writing. I even named my protagonist in my current WIP after Charlaine. Her books are for adults, and I write YA, but I didn't chose YA. It chose me, I suppose (in fact this is the ONLY adult series I read, ha!). There are so many great YA authors who have inspired me, but when I look back, Charlaine and Sookie were what made me realize I was a writer. My favorite quote from this signing was from Harris: "Writer's are born, not made." She didn't mean that you're born a great writer, you do have to write and learn how to write well. 

Charlaine answered questions for about thirty minutes and then for the next two hours or so she signed books. She is a signing machine. By the time she got to me, about an hour into signing, her signature was still perfect. During the Q & A fans asked the general questions about her writing process, which now consists of a lot of the business side and not as much writing as she'd like to do, how much coffee she drinks (three cups in the morning), and how she feels about the differences Alan Ball made between the books and the show (she thinks he's fantastic, and she wishes she had thought of Jessica).

The thing I found most interesting was that, despite the fact she'd written mysteries for years before she wrote the first Sookie Stackhouse novel, it took two years for her agent to sell it. Mainly because nobody knew where to put it on a shelf. When she wrote the book, she thought it would be fun to have a mystery series that involved the supernatural, melding mystery and urban fantasy together. Then she thought if she threw in a juicy sex scene for Sookie, she could get the romance readers too. And when the question "Where do we shelve this?" came up, Harris said "everywhere". A logical answer, for sure!

It was an amazing opportunity for me to be able to meet her. Her Sookie novels have inspired me in so many ways. I do believe it is important for writers to read and gather inspiration from "the masters" of literature, especially in your chosen genre, and not only the current super hits (Sookie, Twilight, Harry Potter, etc), but the thing that inspires me most about Charlaine Harris's Sookie novels, is just how much I love them. How immersed in that world I become when I sit down to read. That is what I want to do to readers. That is what is so inspiring. And that is how I knew I was a writer.

 Have you had the chance to meet some of your favorite authors? Who inspires you?

Tomorrow is the big day at! We open up for entries into our first ever agent participant contest! So perfect those twitter pitches, and we'll see you there tomorrow!
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