Interview With Charlaine Harris, Author Of ‘The Serpent In Heaven’

I recently had the chance to have a Zoom interview with author Charlaine Harris for her new novel, The Serpent in Heaven, the fourth book in her current Gunnie Rose series. Charlaine is probably most known for The Southern Vampire Mysteries, the series of books that inspired the insanely popular True Blood television show. To discuss the release of the book, we chatted about her decision to switch narrators, her creative process, what authors inspire her, and more!

PopHorror: Hi Charlaine! I’m a huge fan so I’m super excited to speak with you today.

Charlaine Harris: Thank you!

PopHorror: The Serpent in Heaven, what inspired the story, and what made you want to switch narrators?

Charlaine Harris: I wanted to change. I loved writing Gunnie, but I felt that Felicia had a story to tell too, and it was time for her to move forward in her own story.

PopHorror: What inspired that story?

Charlaine Harris: I was just thinking about her and how many hardships she had growing up. The things she had seen, and I realized she would be a really tough tough girl inside. I wanted to watch that develop and to really find out more about her because she doesn’t even know herself, a lot of her origin story. So that is what I wanted to tell in this book.

PopHorror: For our readers who are not familiar with the series, what can they expect from it?

Charlaine Harris: Well, they can expect a fractured America that divided in the early 30s, and it’s now later in the decade. A lot has changed gradually in the 10 or 15 years since America split up. There are different economies, there are different levels of law enforcement. Everything is different within the five countries that comprise the United States. So I’m just building on that world that I established with the first Gunnie Rose book.

PopHorror: What is your creative process when you’re starting a new series or book? I know you write more series than standalone books. Do you plan that ahead of time?

Charlaine Harris: Not really. I do like to write series because I like to grow the characters as the series progresses. You don’t have to invent the wheel every time. You’ve got people there; you just have to set them to work.

An Easy Death, the first book in the Gunnie Rose series.

PopHorror: I like series. I don’t like having to wait for the next book though.

Charlaine Harris: Me neither!

PopHorror: I want all of them at once because once I get into it, I hate when I have to wait and then I need a recap. I’m impatient and I want to finish it all at once.

Charlaine Harris: I have the same problem!

PopHorror: What is your creative process when you’re starting a new book?

Charlaine Harris: Oh man. I just know it’s time to start a new book, and that I better get working if I want to finish it on time. I pick a starting point and decide what I want to say in the book, the goal I want to reach. Then I type “Page One, Chapter One,” and see what happens. It’s very off the cuff.

PopHorror: What made you want to be a writer?

Charlaine Harris: I love to read. I always have since the time I was taught to read. I thought you couldn’t be anything greater than a writer. To actually put stuff down and have people read it. That just seemed so cool to me, and it still does.

PopHorror: That’s so amazing! Who are some of the authors that inspire you?

Charlaine Harris: Oh, very early there were a lot of mystery writers I read. Of course, Margery Allingham, Agatha Christie, E.X. Ferrars, Rae Foley, Dell Shannon. A lot of people that really are forgotten now, but I read them all. I read all the classics. I read everything I could lay my hands on. I read a lot of science fiction too, but more mysteries.

PopHorror: I like mysteries too. What are you reading right now?

Charlaine Harris: Well, I just finished Daniel O’Malley’s Blitz. Daniel O’Malley cannot write a bad book. His books are all good.

PopHorror: I’ll have to look him up.

Charlaine Harris: Oh, he’s great! Don’t miss him. And I just read Louise Penny’s The Long Way Home, which was also very good. Also, Two Nights in Lisbon by Chris Pavone.

PopHorror: I haven’t heard of any of those, but I am intrigued. I love discovering new authors. What is up next for you?

Charlaine Harris: The book that just came out yesterday is the fourth book in the Gunnie Rose series. I’ve turned in the fifth one. As soon as I get the editorial changes done on the fifth one, I’ll start the sixth one.

PopHorror: Oh wow! That’s exciting! So back-to-back like that.

Charlaine Harris: Yes, it takes me a while to write. Covid did a job on my head, and I just write way slower than I used to.

PopHorror: You know how people feel about series. We want the next one.

Charlaine Harris: Me too! That’s all I can say. Me too!

PopHorror: I have one last question for you today. What is your favorite scary movie?

Charlaine Harris: My favorite scary movie… You know, I don’t watch scary movies that much so it’s hard to say my favorite, but I have to say the movie that scared me most was The Blair Witch Project. That scared the tar out of me.

Thank you so much to Charlaine for taking the time to speak with us. The Serpent in Heaven is out now!

About Tiffany Blem

Horror lover, dog mommy, book worm, EIC of PopHorror.

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