Masterpost from my talk with J.K Rowling, 8th March 2013.
- Her first kiss was age twelve, at a youth club, with a boy named Charles. She said it tasted like cheese and onion.
- Fats (Casual Vacancy) & Dumbledore are her two favourite characters out of her published novels.
-Despite the fact Dumbledore loved Grindewald, Grindewald did not return the affection - he was very much using him.
- She is currently working on a children’s book, and will reveal nothing about its content or when it will be complete - she did however say it is likely to be shorter than Casual Vacancy.
- She relates very much to Hermione, and wanted to make it so she was a plain girl, who was clever - and show that it was okay to do so.
- When announcing Dumbledore was gay at a talk much like this, at the end a boy told her it had given him the push to come out to his six friends. Jo had said Dumbledore was gay, and this boy had literally turned to his friends and said “So am I!” Jo said it was one of her proudest moments.
- Krystal from Casual Vacancy is the character that formed best in her mind, appearance wise - usually, it is personality alone that shapes her character.
- When asked if she missed writing Harry, she said that a few nights ago she had a dream where she was talking to Harry & Ron (who did not look like Dan and Rupert, but the characters as she imagined them) as herself, which is very rare.
- When asked if she would consider writing the Marauder’s Era with the Snape/Lily/James triangle, despite the screams of support from the fans, she said that it isn’t something she’d considered doing as persojally she isn’t a fan of prequels.
- However, she said that she is not saying ‘never’ to carrying on the HP universe - she is simply saying 'right now.’ HP will never be over, for her or the fans.
- Casual Vacancy is going to be turned into a BBC television series. It is in very early days, they have just agreed it is definitely going ahead and plans for casting and such will slowly get underway.
- When asked for advice on how to write, she simply said “if you’re born to do it, you already will be.” It is not something that can be manifested out of thin air. You have it,or you don’t. She believes very much that there is no rhyme nor ritual to writing; in fiction, you enter a new world and writing does that for you. She did say that reading back on work and feeling it is awful, starting again and repeating several times is all part of learning and to help you grow as a writer.
- When writing Philosopher’s Stone, she would get to a point, read it over and think it was awful. She would put it away for months at a time, write something else and then eventually take it out again and continue to work. It’s a good job she did!
- Jo says she has been writing since she could hold a pen, & honestly wouldn’t know how to live without it.
- She has a reoccuring dream in which she decides she wants a normal lifestyle, and goes to an office job. Half way through, she hates it and spends the dream looking for a way to leave the job. She finds this ironic; spends her waking hours lost in the world of dragons and magic, but her dreams in a boring desk job.
- The moment she knew that Harry Potter was a phenomenan like no other and was never going anywhere was in 2000 at a launch, when part of it was getting on a train at Kings Cross Station and waving at fans. There was a sea of manic, screaming fans and she just knew this was like nothing else.
- She was asked her 'starting point’ for Casual Vacancy, and if it was intended to make it as different as possible to HP. She simply replied that she told the story that wanted to be told; the only kind a book should be. Yes, she wanted to move to something new from HP but swearing & sexual references etc. weren’t included for that purpose; it was just part of the story she wanted to tell.
- Jo said no matter how much she adored HP, it feels so liberating now. She will never have to worry about bills, and now can write entirely new books with no deadlines, no guidelines. There is so much freedom, and Harry Potter has supplied her with a world she’d never expected; an ideal situation for her to write, while maintaining family life.
- She seemed to be a very down to earth, funny and…well, ordinary woman. Because the talk was 16+, we got a chance to see a side of Jo many interviews don’t show. Herself and the interviewer made many sexual jokes, mostly without meaning to. The interviewer would say something like 'things were popping up’ and she replied, laughing 'yes, they really were in this story.’
- When asked if it was hard to keep track of characters - there are 200+ mentioned in HP plus many more from backstories, and Casual Vacancy has many too - Jo said no, because the characters come alive to her and write themselves.
- However, Jo did admit that a fan pointed out the Charms classroom was in several different places over the books. She had of course made an error, but had responded to the fan with 'it’s magic!’ However, she couldn’t have that excuse with CV so had to be more organized.
- She has deep, almost pointless back story on many characters from Casual Vacancy - Shirley, for example, could have her own novel.
When I went to get my book signed, I was trembling all over. This woman had changed my life totally. It seemed only fitting, then, that I thanked her for mine and other peoples’ childhoods. She 'awwed’, teared up and told me not to start her off crying. I was crying too as I walked off the stage.
Many people say meeting your hero often lets you down. That they aren’t as good as you expect. Jo has always been a very private person, so although from the general impression she seemed amazing, there was little way to tell. I was definitely not let down. If anything, I now admire her even more. Such a clever, inspirational woman. I honestly cannot describe my love for her, which has grown even more now I have watched her answer questions & met her myself.
JK Rowling, our Queen of everything.