Saturday, May 7, 2011

Charlaine Harris Q&A and book signing at the Tivoli Theatre, 5/5/11

Author Charlaine Harris appeared at an Anderson's Bookshop event at the Tivoli Theatre Thursday night in Downers Grove. She took questions from the audience for about 25 minutes and then signed copies of her newest book in the Sookie Stackhouse series, Dead Reckoning. Fans were called in groups of 20 to go out into the lobby to meet her and have their books signed. While everyone in the theatre waited for our numbers to be called, we watched season 1 episodes of True Blood. I was #150 and the waiting didn't feel long at all. Watching True Blood with a large audience made the episodes even more entertaining, especially episode 4, where Jason suffers the side effects from drinking an entire vial of vampire blood.

For the most part Harris talked about the Sookie Stackhouse series but she did briefly touch on her other book series (Aurora Teagarden, Lily Bard, and Harper Connelly) when a fan asked which series she should try next. During the Q&A many fans asked about the TV series True Blood, and Harris had nothing but good things to say about show creator Alan Ball's casting choices and vision of the Sookie universe, including the detours he makes from her novels. 
Other things I learned from the Q&A:
  • Harris picked the name Sookie because that was the name of her grandmother's best friend; the name Bill was chosen because she thought it would be a funny name for a vampire
  • She has always known how the Sookie series would end-- the final scene was written before any of the ten books. Her assistant is the only other person who knows the ending.
  • Harris confirmed that after Dead Reckoning she will write only two more books in the series.
  • Bravery and loyalty are her favorite qualities about Sookie.
  • At one point she placed both index fingers on the side of her head and shared, "That's where Bill and Eric live, by the way."
  • One audience member questioned Harris about how she got the idea to use "Dead" in each of the book titles in the series (Dead and Gone, Dead in the Family, Dead as a Doornail...). Harris shared that her publishers came up with that idea as a way to brand the series. She "got tired of it very quickly" and wishes they hadn't started that.
  • Her favorite Sookie book to write was All Together Dead, where Sookie attends a vampire summit, because of the research involved and how fun it was to write.
  • Some of the authors she's reading (or re-reading) include Laurell K. Hamilton, Lee Child, and Robert Crais. She reads four books a week! Find out what's she reading each week on her blog.
  • Whenever she receives questions about who's her favorite Sookie suitor she said it's difficult to choose, as if being asked, "Which baby is prettiest?" No matter what her answer is, someone will be unhappy with her choice.
  • Near the end of the Q&A, Harris mentioned that the next season of True Blood will start on June 26, which will include "amnesia Eric." At this point the crowd roared and broke out into applause. I might add I pumped my fist a couple times in excitement before joining in with the clapping. The plotline where Eric has amnesia is from book four, Dead to the World.
Included in the price of the event was a copy of Dead Reckoning, and Anderson's had plenty of other Sookie books available to purchase. Each person was allowed two books to personalize the first time through in line. Even though many people attended the book signing, Harris was very nice and took the time to talk to each person, even posing for photographs.
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