|Charlaine Harris is that rare example of a novelist who owes a large portion of her fan base to television. Harris is a remarkably prolific writer who was first published in 1981, but her popularity increased exponentially in 2008 when HBO launched its series TRUE BLOOD, based on her series of mysteries starring a telepathic waitress named Sookie Stackhouse. Harris was born (in 1951) and raised in Tunica, Mississippi, a former cotton town which was later revitalized by casino river boats. She has lived in the south her whole life, in various states and cities, including attending Rhodes College in Memphis, where she saw several of her one-act plays produced. Following an unsuccessful first marriage, Harris was in a rut, bouncing between dead-end jobs, when she met the man who would become her second husband. As a wedding gift, he gave her an electric typewriter and told her to become a full-time writer, a magnanimous gesture which turned out to be a very fruitful decision. Harris had no problem getting her first novel published, and she has not looked back ever since, churning out an average of one book per year since 1981. She has helmed no less than three popular ongoing series--a set of classic whodunits starring a Georgia librarian named Aurora Teagarden; a series of darker mysteries taking place in Shakespeare, Arkansas, featuring a psychologically damaged cleaning lady named Lily Bard; and, of course, the enormously popular "Southern Vampire Mysteries," wherein Sookie Stackhouse negotiates a world inhabited by vampires, werewolves, changelings, and other creatures of the night. Harris lives in Arkansas with her husband and three children.
|George Richard Raymond Martin began writing very early, and says that he sold original monster stories to neighborhood kids for pennies--a price which apparently included dramatic readings of these tales. Martin graduated summa cum laude from Northwestern University with a B.S. in journalism. The next year he received a master's degree, also in journalism, and published his first stories, "Songs the Dead Man Sing" and "The Hero". A conscientious objector during the Vietnam War, Martin worked with the Cook County Legal Assistance Foundation as an alternate service. Throughout the 1970s he worked a number of jobs--including teaching journalism and directing chess tournaments--while continuing to write. Martin won his first Hugo in 1975 for "A Song for Lya". His first novel, DYING OF THE LIGHT, received a Hugo nomination in 1978. Ending the 1970s with a bang, he won two more Hugos, both in 1980, one for the story "Sandkings", which also garnered Martin his first Nebula Award. The early 1980s saw the release of two extraordinary novels, FEVRE DREAM and THE ARMAGEDDON RAG. The first of these, a brilliant novel of vampires stalking the Mississippi River towns of the 1800s, remains one of the greatest vampire novels ever written. The second is a searing indictment of America in the 1970s, couched in a strange tale of possession and power in the world of rock & roll. Both novels were nominated for the prestigious World Fantasy Award. Continuing to write award-winning short fiction, Martin began to work in television in the mid-1980s. He was a script editor on the revived TWILIGHT ZONE show, later moving to the enormously popular BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, for which he eventually became the executive producer. In 1987 he introduced an anthology series under the title Wild Cards, which he edited and occasionally contributed stories. This series proved remarkable successful and has expanded to over 30 books. Martin devoted much of the early 1990s to writing one novel, the massive A GAME OF THRONES. This epic fantasy work, the first of a projected series, was met with great acclaim, with many claiming it to be the best high-fantasy novel ever. Its sequel, A CLASH OF KINGS, cemented this theory for many fans, and, with this series, it looks like Martin will remain at the front of the field for a very long time.