It's all over for Sookie Stackhouse.
Just days before author Charlaine Harris stepped on a plane bound for a tour of New Zealand and Australia, she finished the last chapter in the tale of the telepathic Louisiana waitress.
She says she felt no sadness at saying goodbye to the heroine of the Southern Vampire Mysteries series, who propelled her to a permanent fixture on the bestseller charts.
"It's all good to me. Truly I feel like I've done my best by that world, I don't feel like I'll miss it now," she told us this morning at Wellington airport, en route to the Auckland leg of her Australasian author tour.
"I do look forward to doing something new."
Check out our live chat with Harris below:
Harris, who arrived in New Zealand yesterday, will be chatting with us live tomorrow from 12.30pm about her series, which inspired the TV show True Blood. (If you'd like to put a question to her, ask it here.)
The last book in the series, Dead Ever After, will be published in May next year. (True Blood will continue to have life on TV beyond that date, with HBO recently announcing a sixth season. The fifth season begins here on Prime next week.)
"I was delighted to finish the book and I look forward to my readers getting to tell me what they think about it," said Harris.
She revealed there will be a bit of life yet after Dead Ever After. Having struggled to wrap up the journeys of the many secondary characters in the 13 book series, she's keen to write "some kind of coda that lets my reader know what happened to all the characters".
Harris has been credited, along with Twilight author Stephenie Meyer and Kiwi paranormal romance author Nalini Singh, with igniting the current popularity of blockbuster supernatural fiction. But she thinks wider factors are at play.
"I think part of it is because of the worldwide economic situation. People traditionally turn to fantasy literature when economic times are hard."
Though she's signing off from Bon Temps, the fictional setting for the Sookie Stackhouse series, Harris has a new project on the go. It's a graphic novel trilogy called Cemetery Girl, in collaboration with dark fantasy writer Christopher Golden and illustrator Don Kramer.
The heroine is a teenage girl with amnesia who has grown up living alone in a cemetery. Harris says she's had the "bones" of the plot in her head for a couple of years. Look out for the first instalment next year.
We've just heard from Hachette, publishers of Harris's latest book Deadlocked, that her appearance at Newmarket's Rialto Cinemas tonight is sold out. Which leaves our live chat as your last chance to rub (virtual) shoulders with Harris before she flies out.By Bronwyn Sell Email Bronwyn