Monday, May 16, 2011

Book Signing For "Dead Reckoning"

On a cool, rainy Sunday afternoon in May people line up at Barnes & Noble in Indianapolis. The reason for this flock of over 250 people was the creator of one the best selling series and current Number One Best seller holder, Charlaine Harris. Ms. Harris is the renowned author of a multitude of mystery series, but is probably best known for her latest works, The Southern Vampire Mysteries, which are the inspiration for HBO’s hit show True Blood.
Barnes & Noble’s staff was ready like a well oiled machine for the event. At 10 a.m. they began to hand out wristbands with a character’s name on them. 25 people per group starting with Sookie. I arrived at 10:30 and was in group Jason. By the end of the day there would be 10 groups total, Sookie, Eric, Bill, Pam, Jason, Sam, Alcide, Quinn, Calvin, and Claude. At 2:15 p.m. we all began to line up for the signing at 3 p.m. Everything was calm and professional as each group was called and followed a bouncing red arrow to indicate where they should stand. The line eventually wrapped through aisles back to the Starbucks.

At 3 p.m. Ms. Harris was introduced. She appeared on a platform, so she was up off the ground, giving most everyone a good view of her as she spoke. Some what surprised at the number of people she talked about how she was lucky to have 10 people at a book signing before, then she decided to try a new mystery. One for the 10, then add vampires for the Sci-fi people, werewolves for the fantasy people, and a graphic sex scene to bring in everyone else. This got a laugh from the crowd.

For about 45 minutes after her brief talk, she took questions from the audience, unfortunately one questioner gave away a big plot point which upset several in the crowd who had not read the newest book “Dead Reckoning”. We did learn this:

In response to if Ms. Harris could guess as to how many books she thinks there will be in the Sookie series she replied: She didn't have to guess. There will be 2. She stated that Sookie takes up a lot of her time and she has several ideas about other stories that she would like to explore. She wishes to stretch herself more as a writer.

To a question about the twist in the book playing a role in the end of the series she said that it would. That it is too cool to not end up using it, but did not specify further.

One fan asked if she had any say as to casting on True Blood and if she did could she recommend Peter O’Toole for Niall. Ms. Harris said, You know who would be great as Niall, David Bowie. He would be amazing.

As far as regrets in the series, Ms. Harris says she has several, but the big one she would do over is killing Claudine. She was later told that she killed two pregnant women in that book which basically resulted in a face palm moment. She stated she was in a “clear the decks” mood when she wrote it, but if she could do it over, she would not have killed Claudine.

Lastly, a fan asked if she was Team Eric or Team Bill, her response was perfect. Stating that it doesn’t really apply to her because she IS Bill and Eric.

After the Q & A she sat for autographs and would take short questions when we approached her. The line moved nicely and we all chatted while waiting. People had come from all over, some local, some drove, one woman near me was married to a pilot for United and opted to use the employee option and fly down from Illinois. The crowd was as diverse as their hometowns. Young, old, male, female a large diverse group that resembled a cross section of Bon Temps itself.

As everyone inched closer a Barnes & Noble staff member put post-its on the items you would liked signed so that everything was spelled correctly and just showed how smooth they were determined to make this experience.

Finally my turn came. Ms. Harris couldn’t have been nicer. She was kind and funny. I didn’t feel rushed at all and felt that she was truly appreciative of all her fans. It was an amazing experience. I got my items signed and my pictures that the staff was kind enough to take for me. They didn’t just wait for the one either, they were sure to capture several of the whole time I was up there.

I said my thanks to Ms. Harris and departed the stage for the next person. Despite another signing in Michigan the next day, plus meetings, Ms. Harris was determined to stay until everyone who had come out to see her got their chance. Not only is she an amazing talent, she is an amazing person.

If you are interested in attending a book signing or just wish to learn more about Ms. Harris, visit her website at

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