On May 5th, the wait is over for Sookie Stackhouse fans when Dead and Gone, the ninth entry in Charlaine Harris’ incrredible series hits bookstores.

As if that wasn’t enough to get your buzz on, season two of True Blood, the ultra-cool HBO show based on the ultra-cool books debuts on June 14th.

We’ll all have to wait until June to catch the latest TV adventures of Sookie, Bill, Eric, and Sam, but one lucky reader is about to get…well, very lucky because, courtesy of Ace Books, I’ve got an early copy of Dead and Gone ready to ship out Thursday.  Details on how to enter for your chance to win are at the end of this post.

In the meantime, ready for a tease (or two)?  Charlaine Harris herself was kind enough to take the time to answer a few of my burning (really) questions about Sookie, Dead and Gone, and, of course, True Blood.

I read Dead and Gone and loved it, Charlaine. But I’m finding that it’s quite a challenge to come up with book-related questions because this is one that I know Sookie readers don’t want spoiled (even if they think they do). So, what’s your “elevator speech” about the book and what readers can expect?

I really appreciate your reluctance to give out spoilers. This book is full of shockers, I think, and it’s considerably darker than the other Sookie books. The Weres come out of the closet, and the war in the fae world spills out into the human world.

One of the central themes of the series is Sookie’s man – well, supe, anyway – challenges. Do you see Sookie’s final choice of Her Very Own Supe as an end point to the series or do you think that the story might continue with the adventures of Sookie and her mate?

I hadn’t envisioned the series continuing beyond Sookie’s final choice, but it very well could. I’ve read some excellent books that took place after the heroine or hero bonded with the love of his/her life. I’m certainly thinking about it.

Let’s seque here a bit into True Blood, the HBO series based on your books. As a long time Sookie reader who’d already mentally “cast” all the characters long ago, I had a different reading experience this time out as I found myself picturing the actors from the show as I read the book. The series is so incredibly well cast – honestly, I don’t see how they could have done a better job – that I’m wondering if they also managed to creep into your head as you were writing. (The story in Dead and Gone seemed…well, a bit inspired, if you know what I mean by a certain devastatingly sexy actor.)

Ha! I’ve met them, and I think they’re all devastatingly sexy. No, the plot line of Dead and Gone was established in my head before I saw all the episodes of the show. Sookie’s story makes a logical progression from the last book. As far as I can tell, my only reaction to the show is to give Sheriff Dearborn more to do, because I’ve been such a fan of William Sanderson for so long!

I hope you’ll forgive a moment of gushing here: How cool is that your wonderful series merited such a cool adaptation from a cool network – especially from a showrunner who so obviously just gets it. But, even saying all that, there’s been much discussion online and in my real life about the substantive ways the series has veered away from the book. I’ve also read that you’re okay with it. Given that storytelling for television is very different than that of books, do you feel that the series remains true to your characters and your themes?

I feel totally cool, and I have succeeded in impressing my children and their friends, which is no small accomplishment. The storytelling in the show is different, which Alan had told me to expect. I think the series remains true to the theme of the books, and true to the spirit – that combination of humor, horror, and sex which characterizes the Sookie books.

Personally, if I had a complaint about the series it was what seemed to me to be excessive emphasis on Jason on the show – a complaint I heard more than a few times from others, as well. Do you know if he’ll remain a more prominent character in the series than he is in the books as the show moves into season two?

I have no idea.

The buzz is that season two will basically follow the plot of Living Dead in Dallas, the second book in the series. What can you tell us without giving away too much?

I am less in the loop this year than I was last year. I really don’t know what’s going to happen, which is actually a lot of fun. That having been said, I do hope I get to see the first episodes a little before the rest of the world.

To wrap things up, let’s get back to the book. Sookie’s great grandfather makes an ambiguous – and potentially very important – observation to Sookie at the end of Dead and Gone. Would you care to give AAR readers a super small, maybe equally ambiguous clue as to what he meant?

No. Sorry!

 

Well, fellow readers, I tried.

This contest is going to be a quick one so I can get the book out to the winner via Priority Mail on Thursday.  To enter for your chance to win this super rare early copy of Dead and Gone, just comment to this post by 11:59 p.m. eastern time on Wednesday, April 22nd.  A few caveats:  This contest is open only to U.S. residents and if you review or write for another review site or blog, please don’t enter.  We can’t fully police this, so use the honor system, please.

So, get commenting!  And thanks to Charlaine Harris and Ace Books for their time and generosity.

-Sandy AAR