While fans await the return of Pretty Little Liars‘ second season on ABC Family, they have another PLL book to keep them occupied before the Jan. 2 premiere. Ruthless, book 10 in author Sara Shepard’s best-selling series, hit shelves last week. Shepard called EW to talk about the new book, and give some spoilers on her 2012 releases. The one burning question Shepard can’t answer? She doesn’t know who “A” in the TV series either, but she has her theories. Read on for more with Shepard. We promise “A” isn’t watching.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What kind of response have you gotten for Ruthless? It’s book 10 in the series, so are people still excited?
SARA SHEPARD: Everyone is really excited. Ezra, the character who’s Aria’s teacher-boyfriend comes back in this book. A lot of girls are excited, but at the same time devastated because something kind of horrible happens. But they’re staying up all night reading! So I’m getting great responses so far.
I know Ruthless just came out, but Stunning is next up on the list. What can you tell us about that one?
In this new group of Pretty Little Liars novels, each book focuses on an individual secret that the girls have. Twisted was a group secret. Ruthless was about Spencer’s secret. Stunning is about Emily’s secret. [Spoiler alert!] It’s revealed in Stunning that Emily has a baby she gives her up for adoption. It’s just hinted at in Twisted and Ruthless, but we don’t go very deep into it. We don’t know what happens to the baby. Her parents don’t know, and the father doesn’t know. It’s very much about that. Emily has wronged somebody in the process of giving up this baby, and that is the suspect for “A.” Somebody obviously wants revenge.
So does that mean even more books?
Yes. There will be a Hanna secret and an Aria secret as well. These poor girls! If anyone had lives like these girls… And on the TV show too. Terrible things happen to them. But they have beautiful clothes! [Laughs]
You have not one but two popular TV series on ABC Family, Pretty Little Liars and The Lying Game. How does that feel?
It’s definitely surreal. Pretty Little Liars being on TV was crazy enough. But both of them? It’s a little unbelievable, honestly. I don’t really know how to explain it better than that. I’m still kind of amazed that it’s happening.
Are you a fan of both shows?
Yes! I watch both of the shows. I don’t see them early. I watch them with everybody else.
So you don’t know who “A” is?
I don’t know who their “A” is, and I kind of like that I don’t know. It could go either way. I think a lot of people are thinking, “Well, I’m dying to know who “A” is, so I’m just going to read the books!” But in the series, there are three different “As.”
Do you have any theories on who their “A” is?
There’s part of me that wonders if it could be the same “A” that I have. But then part of me thinks they’re too smart for that and would actually make it someone else to really confuse readers. I’m sure they plot [the series] the same way I plot the books. They know exactly who it is, and they have seeded all these little clues that will seem really obvious once “A” is revealed. Then, we’ll have to go back and watch all the episodes all over again.
Your books are obviously the inspiration for the shows, but are you involved in any other way?
With Pretty Little Liars I saw the pilot really early. I knew that Marlene King had read the all of the books by then. I thought [the pilot] was so accurate to what the first book was about that I didn’t—I don’t even know if I could have gotten involved anyway—but I didn’t get involved. It was like, “You guys are doing a really good job.” I still think they’re doing a really good job.
Anything else you want to add about the series?
There’s a special bonus book, Pretty Little Secrets, coming out in January. It’s just four separate secrets told a little bit differently than the main books. It’s right around the Christmas season, and it’s this lost chunk of time between book four and book five in the series. It’s narrated by the second “A.” I won’t tell you who it is, but some readers will know. And we don’t say who it is. It’s a fun extra book, and it has crazy, crazy stories. It was a lot of fun to write, so I think readers will really like it.