Exclusive: Sookie Stackhouse Creator Charlaine Harris on Her Graphic Novel 'Cemetery Girl'


Fans of Charlaine Harris's Sookie Stackhouse novels (a.k.a. The Southern Vampire Mysteries) were no doubt saddened to hear the news that Harris will finally bring the series to a close with its 13th book. But they may be heartened to know that the next project to which Harris will be bring her signature blend of the mysterious and the macabre is Cemetery Girl, an upcoming graphic novel which Harris is co-writing with fellow genre author Christopher Golden. After the jump, find out what Harris had  to tell me about this project, her first foray into comic book writing.

Is it safe to say that a lot of your future work will be within the same genre as the Stackhouse books?

Yes, most likely. Chris Golden and I are collaborating on a graphic novel, Cemetery Girl.

This will be its own thing, and not set in any of your established universes?

Right. It's completely new material. It's about a young woman who is abandoned in a cemetery, pushed out of a car. And when she comes to she has no idea who she is or where she came from. She just knows she's in terrible danger and that someone tried to kill her. She starts living in the cemetery, which of course we would all do naturally. [Laughs.] And she opens a crypt and starts living in the crypt and gradually gets to know the neighborhood around the cemetery. She's not mute but she really doesn't talk much.

Is it safe to call the story a mystery?

There's a touch of the supernatural in it. But it's really more like a mystery.

Is this one of the projects you've had on the back burner that you felt would be most suitable for a graphic novel, or is this something that you and Chris developed together?

I'd been thinking about it as a book, and I'd come up with the character's name, where she was living, why she was there. And who put her there. It was developed in my mind, but somehow I was thinking of it as a novel, and I kept thinking, "You know, it would have to be a single novel. It couldn't be a series. I don't know. Something just seems wrong about it." So I was talking to Chris, and it's very unusual for me to discuss future projects with anybody, but Chris was saying, "Well, what do you have that you haven't done yet?" I was telling him about it, and he said, "Well, it sounds pretty good." So after about three months he emailed me and said, "Have you done anything with that?" I said, "Nooo, I haven't." He said, "It really sounds like a great graphic novel." Then all of the sudden, it was just a light bulb moment, I said, "That's exactly right! It's a graphic novel. That's what it is!" So he said, "Well, great." I said, "You know about graphic novels and I don't Chris, would you mind of we collaborated on this?" He said, "No, that would be great." He's collaborated with lots of people, lots and lots of people. So I figured I wouldn't be too awful. And so far, so good. 

Was it the visual aspect of the story that made him think this should be a graphic novel, as opposed to some of the other stories you were thinking of doing when you finish the Stackhouse novels?

I believe so. To me a cemetery is a very visual experience, especially an old one. And the idea of her crouching on top of the crypt, that just seemed very visual. And I'm very excited with the way the story's going. We're making great progress with it. It should be out next year. We've got the artist, Don Kramer, and we're real excited about that. It's already sold here and to England, and there have been other interests. I hope that it turns out the way we envision it turning out.

Chris is a good guy.

He's so nice. I've never collaborated before, so I thought, "Well, it would sure be better if it was somebody I got along with real well, like Chris." Then I'll be starting another book. I'm very excited. It's just kind of taken shape in my head right now. I do a lot of the head work before I sit down and write.