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‘True Blood’ author turns to video games

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Dying for Daylight

It wouldn't be an exaggeration to call Charlaine Harris the new queen of multimedia. The author of the best-selling Southern Vampire Mysteries series has watched it smoothly
transition to television in HBO's "True Bood." Based on characters from those stories, it's been a big hit for the potent cable network.

Next up for Harris? Video games, naturally. Dying for Daylight,
an adventure game for the PC, opens a new avenue for the 59-year old author.

It wasn't a familiar world for her to explore, though. Harris notes she's not a particularly technical person and hadn't even played a video game prior to this.

"I would watch as my sons played multiplayer games with
friends," she told Y! Games. "I thought it was fascinating, but don't
think it could sustain me for more than 10 minutes - plus I have 10
thumbs."

The game's being published by I-play Entertainment, makers of
the Dream Day Wedding series. Like Harris' books, the company courts a largely female
audience across a wide age range. The story centers on Dahlia, a vampire who's
on the hunt for a legendary potion that can allow the undead to survive in
sunlight. Her search takes her to southern gothic locations such as New Orleans and Memphis.

"Of course, it would have been nice if we could have
developed a Sookie Stackhouse game, but HBO owns the development rights to
Sookie," says Harris. "Fortunately, I was able to think of a character
I've used in several short stories. ... She's very strong and very liberated,
very determined and self-willed, so I think she adapts well to a quest situation."

While Harris provided the spark of inspiration for the HBO
series, she isn't involved with the direction of the story. Even she admits to
be being surprised by some of the places the show has gone over its
three-season run (Season 4 premieres on June 12), but says she counts herself a
fan.

For Dying for Daylight, she was a bit more involved with
developers -- though given her non-digital roots, she stuck mainly to assisting
with character development. She also took pains to give the game makers room to
change things as they saw fit.

"I was more involved with the development of the game -
on things like the character, appearance, behavior and general attitude - than
I was with the HBO series," she says. "There, I just let the books
speak for me. I feel like once my characters are being created for a different
medium, I don't have control over them, and that's the way it should be."

While the chance to explore a new medium was an exciting one
for Harris, she admits that there are some self-indulgent reasons to adding
video games to her transmedia universe. Though there's some crossover between
her readers and the gaming world, it's not a particularly wide swath. If Dying
for Daylight can attract a substantial audience, she theorizes, it could help
boost book sales.

"The product has to be an excellent product and the
game has to be fun or no matter what's in it, people aren't going to buy
it," she says. "This game looks great, it is fun and I think it will bring people to games who
consider it an experiment because they've read my works - and I hope it brings
gamers to the books."

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