USEDITFMay 4th is a big day for Sookie Stackhouse fans when Dead in the Family, the tenth book in the series is finally released.  And, to keep the good news coming, we’re also just a little more than a month away from the season three premiere of True Blood, the HBO series based on the books.  

In celebration of the coming Sookie-fest, Charlaine Harris was kind enough to take the time to answer a few of my questions about the book and the show.  We’ve also got five copies of the just released paperback edition of Dead and Gone, the 9th book in the series, to give away to lucky readers.  To enter for your chance to win, just comment to this post by 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, May 5th.

Would you tell our readers a bit about Dead in the Family?

As the title implies, the book is about family ties: not just blood ties, but emotional ties. Eric’s family, Sookie’s family, the werewolf pack . . . And of course, this being the Sookieverse, nothing runs smoothly.

Charlaine, Dead in the Family is the tenth in your Sookie Stackhouse series.  How many more books do you think you’ll do before wrapping things up?

I have a contract that runs up through book 13. We’ll see, definitely before I start 13, if I think I have more to say about Sookie.

I know you’ve said many times that you have an end point for the series in mind as to where Sookie will be – and whom she will be with.  Has that altered at all or is your vision still what it was when you began?

Sort of to my surprise, my vision remains steady.

When I interviewed you last year, I asked if you thought that the series might not end with Sookie’s choice of mate, but instead might continue on after she’s successfully bonded. Your answer was that you were considering it.  What’s your thinking today?

Ah . . . I’m considering it.

Let’s move on to True Blood for a moment.  Season three kicks off on June 13th and I’m just one of the millions who are excited to see the series return.  Do you know anything about where they’re going this year?  I’ve seen some casting spoilers and learned that Franklin Mott, Calvin Norris (a favorite character of mine), Crystal, and Alcide are on board this year.

This is the year the werewolves enter the picture, and of course I’m excited about that. Other than that, I’m pretty much in the dark, though I expect I’ll find out pretty soon what directions the story will take.

Are you happy with the creative departures from the books?  Personally, I’ve felt that some (Jason and the Fellowship of the Sun and Jessica’s virginity problem) were more successful than others (the long Maryann plotline, for example).  Given that storytelling for TV has its own challenges and opportunities, are you pleased?

Oh, I’m more than pleased. Naturally, some plot threads are going to be more striking than others . . . just like some books in my series are better than others. I knew beforehand that there would be many departures from the book storyline, since the books are in the first person, and the series can’t be filmed that way.

As True Blood fans know, Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer, the actors who play Sookie and Bill, are engaged in real life.   Has that romance (and they seem so cute together) affected in any way your thinking about where you’re taking Sookie’s character?  (Hey, just asking!)

No. Not only am I many books ahead of the TV show, but real life is quite separate from fiction!

What’s next for you, Charlaine?

My U.S. tour, and then a scramble to finish the next book (Sookie 11). In September, I go to Australia, which is going to be great fun.

Thanks, Charlaine!

To enter to win one of five copies of Dead and Gone, the 9th book in the series, just comment to this post by 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, May 5th.  The usual caveats apply:  This contest is only open to readers in the U.S. and Canada and, if you review for another Web site or blog, please don’t enter. Winners will be notified by email on May 6th and names will also be posted here.  Good luck, everyone!

– Sandy AAR