It’s a sad thing that author Charlaine Harris has brought her Sookie Stackhouse series to an end. The final book, “Dead Ever After,” was published Tuesday, and there will be no more.
Some fans have taken the news very badly. Threats against the author have been muttered on message boards. One reader threatened to commit suicide if the ending wasn’t what she hoped. (Hyperbole, we have to hope).
“I’ll be happy to put this behind me and go back to doing what makes me happiest: writing the best books I can,” Harris wrote on her blog Wednesday. “This has been my pattern for 32 years, from way before the Sookie books, and I hope it’ll be my pattern for a few more.”
The first Sookie Stackhouse novel, “Dead Until Dark,” was published in 2001. The telepathic Louisiana waitress and her supernatural world proved to be a hit with readers, prompting Harris to write another dozen novels in the series.
In a cultural feedback loop, the books’ popularity led to an option and a television series, HBO’s “True Blood,” which in turn helped the books find a much wider audience.
The television series even contributed to the direction of Harris’ books. The Wall Street Journal reported that she had intended to kill off a major character just as “True Blood” got underway, but her editor convinced her to wound him seriously instead.
That was just the beginning of the influx of opinions Harris would get about what should happen in her Southern Vampire series.
“I’ve seen lots of ugliness, and even more kindness. I’ve seen lots of irrationality, and lots more sense. Some virulent hatred, and much more love," she wrote this week. “Being alone with a computer (or a typewriter, or a pad and pencil) can ill-equip a writer for the strong and widely-assorted reactions of readers. I think I’d written four books before I ever met anyone who’d read one of them! It astounded me. It still astounds me.”
Harris has written many other books, so devoted readers might follow her there. Or they can re-read the Sookie Stackhouse novels, or watch “True Blood” again and again.