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Thursday, 27 May 2010

Character Connection: Harper Connelly

Character Connection is a weekly meme hosted by Jen @ The Introverted Reader.

This is our chance to tell the world about a character that we love in whichever way we want. More information about this meme can be found on Jen's blog.

The book: Grave Sight
The author: Charlaine Harris
The character: Harper Connelly
Harper Connelly is one of my favourite heroines from an adult book. I love that she uses her ability in such a proactive way. She makes a living from being a lightning strike survivor. When she was 15, Harper was struck by lightning. She survived and now she can sense and locate dead bodies. She is often hired by families of missing people to find their dead loved ones. Harper treats her works very professionally. She also never pities herself which is a quality I love in people.

I decided I would do a tiny bit of research into lightning strike survivors for this post. I have never really looked further into a character's experience in this way (unless they are my own work in progress characters).

So far this year in America, 27 people has been struck by lightning. 2 died. 25 survived. (Source: http://www.struckbylightning.org/)

According to www.struckbylightning.org, lightning strike survivors often experience symptoms that doctors cannot verify. This must be so demoralising for someone who is experiencing pain.

These symptoms can include: muscle pains, tingling sensations, dizziness, nausea, headaches and disorientation. They may also suffer from loss or alteration of senses. (Source: http://wvlightning.com/survivor.shtml#true) I guess this is what has happened to Harper. She has an extra sensory perception. When she is near a dead body, she feels a vibration in her mind.

This stuff is really fascinating. I think Charlaine Harris must have spent ages researching the experiences of lightning strike survivors. The next time I read a Harper Connelly book I am going to be looking out for all these details.

Considering the fact that I don't really "do" adult books, I really do love this series.


Christina/Book Addict said...

I love Charlaine Harris so I need to read this series. I will have to pick it up this summer. It definitely sounds like something I'd enjoy. The character of Harper also sounds interesting and unique. Thanks for sharing this. I will have to move this book up higher on my TBR list!

The Book Bug said...

I admit to having never read a Charlaine Harris book. I also do do adult. BUt great post. All that stuff about lightning is fascinating.

Enbrethiliel said...


That's interesting trivia about lightning survivors. Why do you suppose Harris made that part of Harper's background instead of finding some other explanation for her ability to find dead bodies? Is lightning significant as a symbol in the rest of the novel?

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

O lightening survivors fascinate me.

Especially since I think Florida may be the lightning capital of the world.

I am SO adding this to my TBR list.

Sullivan McPig said...

nice choice: I've read Grave Surprise and really liked it.

Jen G. said...

I haven't read any of this series, but Harper certainly sounds interesting! I just watched The Box over the weekend and there's a lightning strike survivor in there. That was one crazy movie though. Alice Hoffman also published a book several years ago about a lightning strike survivor called The Ice Queen. I wasn't crazy about it and I don't think you would be either, but you never know, right?

Lauren said...

This is fascinating, Becky. I love book related research. (Yes, I am a geek). Your posts on this series definitely tempt me to try a grown up book for a change.

brizmus said...

I never got into her vampire books, but you make this sound so interesting. I am now super intrigued by lightening strike survivors. To the point in which I might want to check out this book and give Charlaine Harris again.

Daria Hlazatova said...

great post - i never really thought about people struck by lightnings, i guess this is true that they have some special powers afterwards

Whitney said...

This was a very interesting post, I enjoyed the statistics/facts on persons struck by lightning. The only book I've read by Charlaine Harris is the first in the Sookie Stackhouse series but Harper Connelly sounds just as cool if not cooler.

Sarah said...

Meg Cabot had an entire 5 book series with this exact premise in the early 2000s, with the last book published in the last couple of years. The series was called 1-800-Where-R-You and was even made into a television series called "Missing" on the Lifetime Channel. The books were great--very humorous, had ethical dilemmas, great characterization and a protagonist who had plenty of spirit and her own distinct voice.