This week I am so thrilled to share with my readers an exciting interview with New York Times bestselling author Charlaine Harris! Charlaine is most recognized by her fans as the author of “The Southern Vampire Mysteries,” also known as “The Sookie Stackhouse Novels.” Charlaine’s popular series ( one of my all-time favorites) is also the basis for the blockbuster HBO show “True Blood.”
Charlaine has been writing poems, plays and novels for over thirty years. The award-winning author is also a very experienced busy mom! Harris is a wife, mother of three and grandmother of two.
In the interview with Dashing Elements, Charlaine talks about writing, what she likes to do when she is not working, and gives us some of her best tips for busy moms!
Dashing Elements: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Charlaine Harris: When I could form words with a pencil. I always loved to read, and I thought being a writer would be so wonderful!
DE: How long does it take you to write a book?
CH: Generally between eight and ten months.
DE: What is your favorite book you have written?
CH: I don’t have a particular favorite overall. There are pieces of each book I’ve written that I can point to with pride and say, “I did what I set out to do, there.”
DE: What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
CH: I have tried all different schedules, but right now, I set a goal of writing six pages a day. It’s working for me. Of course, that’s in addition to editing what I wrote the day before. I work all morning and usually part of the afternoon.
DE: What is your best advice to someone who is thinking about becoming a writer?
CH: Please don’t. More competition! Seriously, you have to love your own company, and be able to work by yourself for long stretches of time. You also have to be a self-starter. These are not common traits. Starting six books does not mean you are a writer; finishing one book means you might be.
DE: What do you think makes a good story?
CH: Lively characters, conflict, and a believable resolution.
DE: How has being a parent influenced your writing?
CH: That’s hard to define, but I’ve learned a lot about people just from watching my children grow up. I think I’m calmer, too. You simply have to be when you’re responsible for three children. Now I have grandchildren, and to my surprise, having them is like getting a booster, creatively.
DE: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
CH: I read. I watch television. I play with my grandchildren and talk to my children. Usual stuff.
DE: What is the best “mom advice” you were ever given?
CH: Pick your battles.
DE: What would be your best timesaving tip for busy moms?
CH: If you can afford it at all, hire someone to clean your house every two weeks. That will take the worst of the pressure off. At the very least, split the housework with your partner, and take no excuses. You can’t have it all: it’s impossible to give your best to your work, listen to your children as you ought, and keep a clean house with good homemade meals and clean clothes provided. Something has to give.
DE: Do you like to cook or bake? What is your favorite go-to recipe when you are in a pinch for time?
CH: In the winter, I’ll make a big batch of chili and we’ll eat it for several meals. I make cornbread to go with it. Sometimes I make what we call “supper dip,” a recipe I put in the MWA cookbook. It’s pretty much spiced-up hamburger meat and beans, and you dip it out with tortilla chips. Pretty basic!
If you would like to learn more about Charlaine Harris and her exciting works, please visit her website at www.charlaineharris.com.