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J.K. Rowling as Robert Galbraith in Harrogate

The 11th Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate featured a very special guest. In an exclusive appearance, J.K. Rowling took to the stage as Robert Galbraith, in a lively and informal discussion with fellow crime writer Val McDermid. Mutual fans of each others works, the conversation flowed easily with enthusiasm for the genre as a whole being very evident.

When asked why she chose to publish under a pseudonym Rowling simply stated ‘I wanted to get a book published on the merits of the book.’

‘I love crime fiction, I’ve always loved it. I think the Harry Potter books are who dunnits in disguise… it was a no brainer.’

Wearing an elegant grey suit and pink tie, Rowling discussed her love for the golden age of detective fiction, naming Christie and Allingham as her favourite authors; ‘my very favourite was Margery Allingham’s The Tiger in the Smoke.

Fans were treated with an interesting insight into how the author writes her novels, the process for the Harry Potter series being a complete mapped out story arc whereas the Cormoran Strike books are allowed to be more open-ended without having a definite end point but still being meticulously researched and having plotted character developments. Rowling stated that Robin, Cormoran’s efficient PA, was one of her favourite characters to write as she was a truly good person, a characteristic not evident in her previous characters.

Speaking about her current project in the Harry Potter universe – the screenplay for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (due 2016), Rowling said she began by just sending in notes to the production company, then writing a bit more, then a bit more until she had written the entire thing!

Fantastic news for fans of Cuckoo’s calling and The Silkworm, PI Cormoran Strike will be returning for a further two novels with the series continuing indefinitely (‘I’m halfway through the third and I’ve already started plotting the fourth.’) The third book will deal with the subject matter of serviceman leaving the military.

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