Out writer-director Alan Ball continues to win over the hearts of LGBT audiences, first with his Academy Award–winning screenplay for American Beauty, then with HBO's critically acclaimed and Emmy-winning drama Six Feet Under. Now, with two seasons of his intoxicating vampire drama True Blood under his belt, the writer and executive producer of the HBO fanger, based on Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse novels, paused ahead of the October 28 Paley Center for Media writers roundtable to discuss staying true to the source material, why gay audiences love their vampires, and the slate of gay characters set to join the drama's third season next year. What initially attracted you to the Sookie Stackhouse novels?
Alan Ball: It was an impulse purchase and it was just so much fun. The minute I finished the first book, I wanted the second one; it was like crack. I got addicted. I guess it was somewhere around the third or fourth book where I thought, This just really holds up, I think this could be a great TV show.

Were the gay metaphors something you envisioned immediately as you read the books?
All that is in the books. Also, there are a lot of gay characters in the books as you get further and further into them. We'll be introducing some of those gay characters this new season.

What other gay characters will be introduced in season 3?
We'll be meeting the vampire king of Mississippi and his long, long-term companion -- and by long-term I mean really long-term -- Talbot. I think Lafayette may meet a love interest, and certainly Pam, who works with Eric, she's certainly got a lesbian vibe -- I don't know that that's all she is, but she certainly does seem to appreciate the women.

Tags: television