True Blood is set in your native Louisiana, and it really uses vampirism as a metaphor for outsiders, including the gay community. What are your thoughts on using vampirism as a metaphor for the disenfranchised?
It’s a given! The vampire is an outsider. He’s the perfect metaphor for those things. He’s someone who looks human and sounds human, but is not human, so he’s always on the margins. When I write and assume the point of view of the vampire, I understand the agony of being a public outcast—someone who doesn’t belong anywhere, yet longs to be part of something and gravitates to other outcasts of his own kind. I remember the year Interview With the Vampire was published, a young man came to me at Berkeley and told me he thought Interview With the Vampire was “the longest sustained gay allegory in the English language.” I was kind of amazed and honored that he was unpacking that from it, but it wasn’t a conscious thing.
Back to True Blood, how do you feel about the show’s depiction of vampires as these uninhibited, primal, sexual beings?
I’m a fan of the show. I see it as a logical part of it all. [Harris] has expanded the sexuality that’s inherent in that idea. I didn’t think of that, but as my books went on, I involved my vampires in more sexuality. But I couldn’t go as far as Charlaine Harris did, because I had said that my vampires can’t have sex; that the act of drinking blood is orgasmic for them. She’s doing it a different way. She’s saying that this blood drinker must also be dynamite in bed. Makes sense!