Charlaine Harris is a creative novelist best identified with her Sookie Stackhouse/Southern Vampire series. The hit HBO series True Blood is based on her stories. Be warned however that the television program is so far distant from the stories it is nearly insulting. Harris was a published author for years before the Sookie Stackhouse series first appeared. She published two standalone novels in the early 1980s, followed by a pause for several years to raise children. She published her first hit whodunit series the Aurora Teagarden series, in 1990, and has mainly stuck to series Mysteries ever since.
While her series seem rather dissimilar, reaching from cozy to paranormal, there is a similar thread throughout in the inner strength of Harris’s female protagonists, most of whom live in small Southern towns. Each stays true to herself and her principles despite the demands of the external or supernatural world, and each tends to shock the sensibilities of her small-town parents, friends, or co-workers with her unconventional actions or abilities. While the series vary in nature, none is truly dark or distressing, so fans of one series can effortlessly move to and get pleasure from another.
Harris’s to some extent darker Harper Connelly series also weaves in things that are beyond our knowledge. It features one more of Harris’s strong female characters. Struck by lightning as a teenager, Harper finds that she can now find the dead. She and her stepbrother use her gift to earn a livelihood driving around the country to establish the cause of death in unsolved cases and detect cadavers that law enforcement people are unable to find.
Keri Arthur’s half vampire, half werewolf, Riley Jensen and her twin brother Rhoan work for the Directorate of Other Races. A Melbourne, Australia organization for policing supernatural beings. Her Riley Jensen, Guardian series, which is somewhat more sexually explicit and slightly darker than Southern Vampire. Harris readers will appreciate Riley’s inner strength, the many mysterious sub-plots, and her effort to figure out where she fits in in a world in which the supernatural is real.
Sandra Balzo’s novels highlighting ex- PR expert turned small-town coffee-maven Maggy Thorsen. This cozy series revolves around Maggy’s endeavors to solve various murders, starting with that of her own business partner. Like Aurora Teagarden, Maggy is somewhat eccentric for her small town, rather suspicious yet annoyingly attractive to local law enforcement, and able to resolve these murders using nothing but her own wits and doggedness.
Rachel Caine’s Weather Warden series will appeal to Harris fans on many levels from the addition of paranormal events and folks into daily life, to the romance relationship between a person (even one with special powers) and a supernatural being, to the strength of protagonist Joanne Baldwin.
Shirley Damsgaard’s Ophelia and Abby series unites aspects of the cozy and the paranormal. Ophelia wants to reject her own extrasensory abilities and settle into life as a librarian but events (and her grandmother Abby, a witch in her own right) won’t let her. Harris fans will appreciate Ophelia’s quest to come to terms with her own powers as well as the mix of mystery, small-town life, and supernatural elements.
MaryJanice Davidson’s Queen Betsy/Undead series, which features Betsy, a valley girl turned queen of the vampires. Like Sookie Stackhouse, Betsy possesses hidden depths even if perhaps, in her case, a bit more hidden! Fans can start with volume one in the series, in which Betsy gets hit by an truck, comes around undead, and finds the vampire world has announced her their foretold queen.