"I started off like everyone else does, slogging but having a compulsion to put words on paper. I didn't write or read horror or fantasy, other than children's fantasy, until I was in my teens." -- Laurell K. Hamilton
Laurell Kaye Hamilton (born February 19, 1963) is an American fantasy and romance writer. She is the author of two series of stories. Hamilton is known for her New York Times-bestselling Anita Blake series, featuring a professional zombie raiser/supernatural consultant for the police as the protagonist in a world where vampires and werecreatures not only exist, but are citizens with recently protected, if nervously granted, civil rights in the US. The series has 19 novels, several short story collections, and other media tie-ins such as comic books. 6 million copies of Anita Blake novels are printed. Also notable is her Merry Gentry series, an urban fantasy in which the world of fairy interacts with the "real world".
"Everyone spends their lives trying to balance their world between good and evil.""Here's the secret to finishing that first book. Don't rewrite as you go.""I always treated writing as a profession, never as a hobby. If you don't believe in yourself, no one else will.""I am a very linear thinker, so I write beginning to end. I write hundreds of pages per book that never make it into print.""I am not a morning person.""I cannot say how strongly I object to people using other people's writing as research. Research is non-fiction, especially for horror, fantasy, science fiction. Do not take your research from other people's fiction. Just don't.""I feel that if you are blessed, or lucky enough, to be doing well, you should help others.""I like conventions. I like meeting and greeting. I'm perched on that edge where I'm getting more attention than I quite know what to do with, though.""I love animals, always have, and it seemed natural to help the ASPCA. Animals have no voice of their own, so we have to be that voice.""I think like a detective.""I think that my vampires in general were influenced by my being allowed to watch the Hammer vampire films. Vampire Circus, also shown as Circus of Fear, was one of those movies.""I try not to worry about rewriting books that worked well the first time. I'm too busy writing new books to worry about things that are already in print.""I want a kiss to be so believable it give the reader shivers.""I wasn't like most girls.""I'm more influenced by my own interests than anyone else's. Writers have to entertain themselves, or they can't entertain anyone else.""I'm not terribly fond of soapboxes.""I've lost track of the number of people who want to be writers but never actually write anything. Talking about writing, dreaming about writing, can be very fun, but it won't get a book written. You've got to write.""If I'd been easily discouraged, I could have been a one-hit wonder.""If people would write exactly what I wanted to read I wouldn't feel so compelled to write myself.""Most of the monsters... are based on some sort of mythology. Every culture and even some geographical areas have monsters and mythology that is their own.""My characters surprise me constantly. My characters are like my friends - I can give them advice, but they don't have to take it. If your characters are real, then they surprise you, just like real people.""My writing style is very sensual, as in sensory detail.""Never argue with your characters; they know themselves better than you do.""Now that I'm being very successful, publishers are trying to mainstream me, but I'm unabashedly genre. It's what I like to read, what I like to write.""One of my rules is never explain. A writer is a lot like a magician, if you explain how the trick works then a lot of the magic turns mundane.""Perfection is an unattainable goal. It isn't going to be perfect. Just get words down on paper, and when you stumble to what you think is the end of the book, you will have hundreds of pages of words that came out of your head. It may not be perfect, but it looks like a book.""Readers respond to every genre intensely, if it's a genre that appeals to them. Again, who can say why anyone enjoys horror and dark fantasy? If I can't answer the question for myself, I wouldn't dream of trying to answer it for others.""Some people just don't seem to understand the concept of fiction. It is fiction; it ain't true, folks.""The fey in this country keep to themselves, and are a separate nation, much like the American Indians, but with even more autonomy.""Two things I do well in books are sex and violence, but I don't want gratuitous sex or violence. The sex and violence are only as graphic as need be. And never included unless it furthers the plot or character development.""What we prefer to read is sort of like sexual preference, you like what you like. Most of the time you have no clue why.""When sex is necessary for the plot of a book, or a character development, then I don't shy away from it. Why should I?""You either mellow at 30, or your head explodes - take your choice.""You'd think a sociopath assassin wouldn't have a fan following but he does."
Laurell Kaye Hamilton was born in Heber Springs, Arkansas but grew up in Sims, Indiana with her grandmother Laura Gentry. Her education includes degrees in English and biology from Marion (now Indiana Wesleyan University), a private Evangelical Christian liberal arts college in Marion, Indiana that is affiliated with the Wesleyan Church denomination.
Hamilton is involved with a number of animal charities, particularly supporting dog rescue efforts and wolf preservation.
Hamilton lives in St. Louis County, Missouri with husband Jonathon Green and daughter Trinity.
Laurell K. Hamilton is the author of two series of stories:
Vampire Hunter is about a female necromancer and her relationships with vampires and wereanimals. The series runs to 19 novels as of February 2010, and a number of short story collections and other tie-in media such as comic books. More than 6 million copies of Anita Blake novels have been printed and it became a New York Times bestseller.
Merry Gentry is an urban fantasy in which fairies live in the USA. Hamilton published the first book in 2000.
Both series focus in part on St. Louis, Missouri. The city is the home base for Anita Blake. In the Merry Gentry series, the home base for the fairies' Dark Court is at Cahokia Mounds, across the Mississippi River from St. Louis.
In Narcissus in Chains (book 10), the character Anita Blake becomes infected with the ardeur, a supernatural hunger making the victim feed it (via direct or vicarious sexual energy) and added metaphysical powers. The ardeur is essentially cited as being an unconvincing deus ex machina device, and even a metaphysical date rape drug, used to force Anita Blake and her partners into increasingly gratuitous sexual encounters as well as magically solve all problems through sex or lust. However it was seen in book 14, The Harlequin, that Anita can solve problems using love. Some readers contend that these situations occur without the development of character or plot, and also force sex and dependency on a formerly independent female character. Others have commented upon the exploitation of sexual abuse, incest, and rape through its casual use in later books.
Reviewers have also commented on the amount of sex in later books. A March 26, 2006 review in the Boston Globe of Micah was largely negative: "...we were not impressed. Hamilton no doubt appeals to romance and erotica lovers, but it does not take long for the clichés and the constant droning about sex to become tiresome."Robert Folsom of the Kansas City Star wrote a critical review, stating:" After 13 erotically charged books, boredom has reared its ugly head for the 14th novel in Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake series, as eroticism becomes mere description..."
Publishers Weekly described the 2008 16th book, Blood Noir, as "florid" but credits Hamilton with giving Anita "a case to solve between wild orgies with wereanimals." The review ends with a comment on the direction the series is taking: "Hamilton chronicles Anita's escapades with a growing air of ennui, which longtime readers can't help sharing as sex increasingly takes the place of plot and character development". Blood Noir debuted at the #1 spot on the New York Times bestseller list; by early July, it was at number 25.
In contrast, a Denver Post review of Danse Macabre took a more positive view of the eroticism in Hamilton's work. Although it noted that "[t]hose looking for mystery and mayhem on this Anita adventure are out of luck" it also stated that "the main attraction of the Anita Blake novels in the past five years has been their erotic novelty," and "[f]ew, if any, mainstream novels delve so deeply into pure, unadulterated erotica."
In a December 2006 post in her blog, apparently aimed at an ever-increasing number of participants on the Laurell K. Hamilton forums, Hamilton acknowledged readers who, disappointed in recent Anita Blake novels, have chosen to stop reading her work altogether. She added that "life is too short to read books you don't like," and acknowledged that the books are "not comfortable." She suggested that these readers would prefer to read "books that don't make you think that hard." Hamilton then asserted that, aside from this group, there exists a number of "negative fans" who, claiming to have made this decision, continue to discuss later books in detail; she suggests that these individuals are either "closet readers" or comment based on others' opinions. The appellation "fan" refers to her perception that "only a fan would spend this much time and energy on anything." However, Hamilton suggested that sales figures establish the increasing popularity of the series. She concluded by rewarding "positive people," as she describes those who are continuing to read the Anita Blake series, with information about her upcoming book.