First of all, ARRGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!! That was frickin' amazingggggg!!! I honestly feel so unbelievably honoured to have had the chance to meet one of the biggest figures and influences of my childhood. Such a lovely, down to earth, honest woman! I don't even know where to start with this post and what to tell you guys, I'm still shaken by the event itself even though it was on Friday.
I think I'll start off with showing you guys the small amount of (not great quality) photos that I have :). We weren't allowed to take photographs during the actual interview itself but were allowed to snap a few before and after. I was disappointed but then again totally sympathetic. I can imagine it would get quite annoying after awhile. ANYWAY, photos:
(L to R: Introducing Jo Rowling, the signing, Me and the woman herself!, my signed book)
How awesome is that?! AArrghh. My only regrets are that 1. I missed the chance to snap a picture of my boyfriend getting his signed and 2. that I got so unbelievably tongue tied and could only force out a 'thank you!' in my awe haha. It would have been the perfect chance to be all 'oh yeah, doing my Ma dissertation on HP!' but damnit, chance missed!
Onto the actual interview. We all know how private Ms. Rowling is with regards to her family and personal life, but the interview held by James Runcie - a good friend of hers was very open and she revealed some amazing things. The chemistry between the pair was amazing, there was constant laughs and little quips to each other and they entirely embraced the whole 1,500 strong audience. Rowling was bubbly, relaxed, incredibly funny and revealing in the aspects that she was comfortable with.
The event itself was held to promote her newest book, The Casual Vacancy. She discussed in great detail the connection she felt with her characters, particularly Krystal. She mentioned how she would love to just hug them too her and expressed her bewilderment at various peoples claims that there are 'no likeable characters' in her book. She revealed that many have referred to the book as 'Mugglemarch', a friendly play on George Eliot's Middlemarch, as they delve into similar societal issues and prejudices. Despite this, she admits that she doesn't try to be like any other previous other her ideas spring to her. She did however openly admit that certain aspects (she wouldn't reveal which) of her adolescence inspired this story, and that she did indeed know of many people similar to the characters within the book. That they are unfortunately not over-exaggerated at all. She admitted that she wanted to write about adolescence as it is a very unstable stage in which teens are questioning themselves and are on a path to self-discovery.
She expanded on her method of writing as she admits that she's lucky enough to be able to write anywhere. She shared that she can even write in the car with her children sat in the back and her husband driving, that she can swap between reality and her fantasy world easily. Rowling jokingly added 'I can't do that if my husband isn't in the car... no-one would be driving!' Which was greeted with many laughs. Through discussing her writing she admits that she does love each and every one of her characters, but wouldn't want to spend time with many of them! That each and every character has given her something to write and that she has been lost in their moment at some time or other. It was truly enlightening - imagine being stuck with Crabbe or Goyle? Shuuuudder!
The talk inevitably switched to Harry Potter, how could it not? She admitted that she can count on one hand how many times that she has dreamt of her characters, but said that she has recently had a dream in which she is with her Harry and Ron (not Daniel and Rupert) having a conversation, which is responded with 'So, that makes you Hermione?' by Runcie to applause. Rowling admits that in Hermione she created a girl she would have loved to have been friends with, an extremely clever, plain girl. She wanted to avoid the common stereotypes, but Hermione develops in a beautiful young woman. This jokingly led to previous discussions on Rowling's first kiss where she exlaimed, 'James, I must have had something going for me!' (referring to having her first kiss at 12, at a school disco, with a boy a few years older than her).
Much of the Potter talk led to the inevitable fan questions such as, will there be any more Potter? She responded with her same answer of never say never, but that she will not be writing Prequels as generally they are not as good as the originals. I felt really happy knowing this as it's nice to see that she isn't all about the money, that it is still and always will be about the books. She briefly touched on the relationship between Dumbledore and Grindelwald, admitting that Grindelwald never loved Dumbledore. That he used and manipulated the love Dumbledore had for him for his own selfish means. Alongside the Potter talk, she admitted that her first encounter with the Harry Potter games was seeing her son running Ron over on the Lego games with a car! This was incredibly funny - it's something I have done many times myself!
J. K. Rowling was such a down to earth, amazing person. She openly admitted that the reasoning for her few appearances is to spend more time with her family, juggling between them and her writing. She said bravely, that we as fans have many other authors, but her kids only have one mother. Such an open statement and I think everyone in the room could entirely sympathise. I suppose we have to learn to share! Lol. She admitted that her kids once asked her, if she had to chose between her writing and her kids, she said 'I said you, but I would be very grumpy!' which was greeted with so much applause and laughter.
One of her biggest announcements of the night was that she is CURRENTLY WORKING ON ANOTHER CHILDREN'S BOOK!!!! :D:D:D How amazing is that?! She said that she is in the early stages of the book but thinks that it will be suited towards a younger audience - but that she is never sure of how to age her books. She estimates that it may also be shorted that HP. When asked if she would like to tell us any more about the book, she laughed and said 'nope!' true to her usual style :). Once asked about when the book would be ready, she exclaimed 'it will be ready when it's ready!' - reminding me so much of my Mam when I used to nag about tea time! Such a lovely woman.
One of the final things she discussed was that she has accepted an offer by the BBC to begin creating a TV series on The Casual Vacancy. It is in the very early stages but the project is in good hands :). One of the most enlightening things said by Jo was:
"From about 2000, I knew there would never be any topping Harry Potter. My publishers had got this train for the book launch which consisted of me leaving Kings Cross. I looked out at all the people screaming. It was like Beatlemania. I remember thinking 'you will never top this'. [Now], I can say 'oh, I will never top it' or I can see how lucky I am… I truly feel completely free." (Taken from Independent)
It was so refreshing to hear that she didn't expect to top it. She admitted that if five people buy and like her book she is happy. She admits how liberating it is and how lucky she is to not have to worry about paying the bills any more, and that that is one of the best bits of what has happened, that she can still remember what it used to be like.
J. K. Rowling was such a genuine person and I feel honestly privileged to have met her. My love for her work and her as an inspiration has definitely increased! If you guys have any questions I can try my best to answer them. I've left a lot of what happened out but have told you guys about the best and most important bits :). I hope you've enjoyed reading about it!