Leaky Live Coverage: J. K. Rowling Interview on Oprah Winfrey ShowJ.K. Rowling
++++Today, the nationally syndicated Oprah Winfrey Show is set to broadcast an interview with Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling. This interview is being broadcast now in Chicago, and Leaky will live updates, quotes, and information from the interview as it airs. Leaky's Twitter will also be live tweeting throughout the broadcast! Stay close to Leaky for the very latest info, full transcripts, and video throughout the day!
- Interview taking place at the Balmoral Hotel in Scotland, the place where the final Harry Potter book was finished. "Stunning," says Jo.About hotel: "Well, it turned out to be simulating, as I was finishing Deathly Hallows, the window cleaner came, the kids were at home, the dogs were barking, and I could not work. And this light bulb came on above my head I thought 'I can throw money at this problem. I can now solve this problem."
- Final words of the book: "It was a bereavement. It was huge. I think one way, although I knew it was coming... we all know the people we love were mortal, we all know we're mortal. You know it's going to end."
- Initially I was elated, then I cried... like I had never cried before. And only twice in my life have I cried like that... when my mother died."
- "I had to mourn Harry."
- "They're all in my head still. I could definitely write an eighth, a ninth book." Will you write another book? "I'm not going to say I won't."
- "I feel I am done, but you never know."
- The press pressures: "It was, I can say that now, because I'm free of it. At the time I felt a need to deny how great the pressure was becaue that was my way of coping. It happended so fast for me, and it shouldn't have happened. It was a childrens book, a childrens book which I was repeatedly told wasn't very commercial. Because I had been turned down a lot. It was like being a Beatle. But there were four Beatles, so they could turn to each other and say "My god, This is crazy!" I couldn't turn to anyone."
- The pressures, "At that point I kept saying to people 'I'm coping, I'm coping.'
- One day every child in the world will know is name, did you know it would be true in the real world? "I remember once, a flash of clairvoyance. I was writing Philosopher's Stone and I had this moment where is suddenly thought, 'The difficult thing will be getting published. If it gets published it will be huge."
- "I was something without self-belief in myself, but there was this one thing that I could do."
- "I never really found the right thing [to write] before Harry Potter."
- "I love a kooky word."
- "I am very frustrated by fear of imagination, I don't think that's healthy."
- "I'm not pushing any belief system here, although there is a lot of Christian imagery in the books, that's undeniable. And certanily in Hallows...that's an illusion to a belief system in which I was raised. But to answer the question about being critized in that way [by religious groups]... If they're talking about the dark and scary stuff, I think it is perfectly legitiment for a parent to say that's a little old for my child, or we're going to discuss that together, read that together... that's great. In fact, that's perfect! On the 'You must not discuss witchcraft, you must not have witches or magic in the book,' I find that nonsensical."
- What having money can do: "It's having that moment where you are looking at two things and you think 'I can, actually, have both."
- "I dress better. But, that's not just about having money because you meet dress atrociously!"
- "I can't accept that I will ever know that I'll always be rich... I dont want to get complacient, I don't want to take things for granted... Well, you know, I am talking absolute rubbish... I would really have to be very stupid [to not be wealthy forever], but, yeah, I do still worry. Not all the time, most of the time I think things are great."
- About what money has done for her : "It frees you... that's why it's like a superpower. The luxury of being able to sit down and say 'Where shall we go for our holiday?' and not be in any way limited..."
- "No, I don't drive. Cars terrify me... Lately, I have had a driver."
- Do you take the bus: "Occasionally. Within the past year I've taken the bus."
- Did you ever picture your life the way it is now? "No. Never. And I really, really never. It overshot the mark so ridiculously. I was so unprepared for it, and this was the thing that I think I really never spoken about: I was a writer. I had no one near me, either professionally or personally, who could in any way help me when I had questions, like, 'What do you do when the press is searching through our trash?' The really crazy stuff that happens...
- If you're an actress you expect that, "Of course," says Jo. "You know if I'm wildly successful that stuff will happen... But if I'm a writer, you never think of that."
- Have you made peace with your relationship with God, and do you call it 'God? "Yes, I do." "[Love] is a concept that runs through all the major religions, without execption. This is probably true of all writers, but I believe what I belive because of what I have written. Ultimately, before I wrote it, what did I believe? I probably couldn't have told you."
- "Love wins. When someone dies, love doesn't get turned off like a tap."
- What did your first marriage tell you about yourself? "Well, I think that first and most important thing to say would be that I would do it again, step for step to have Jessica, who is incredibale. Don't regret a thing. I think I repeated pattens from my family, as we often do, in my selection of my first husband. I think that it taught me I'm proud that it taught me how... that I had a strong survival instinct. Beacsue when I knew it was time to go I left."
- I can't pretned that I walked straight out of that marrigae feeling enlightend in any way, I felt shell shocked. I had a very tiny baby and I walked straight into povery and depression. In a strange way, yes, that was enormously illuminating. But I did a lof of thinking after that marriage ended, primiarly about me."
- And it was seven years before I met the right man, and it needed to be seven years. But, I was really ready."
- The strange thing is, a week before I met Neil-- and I hope this gives hope to all single women out there-- I remember speaking to a very good friend and she said what would you like in a man? And I said I would need to be with someone intelligent, because I just value it. I would really like for him to have his own carrer... I really thought these were basic things. Integrity as very important and kindness, and a strong sense of who he was... These were things that were all very important. And she looked at me and was like 'That's not going to happen!"
- Her father, "[Being estranged from him] is never a thing to do in the public eye."
- Do you think you'll ever make peace? "No, I dont. I think that it's such a huge thing to be estranged form a parent that you'd have to have very big reasons to do that."
- Do you have your reasons? "I have my reasons. It wasn't a good relationship, from my point of view, for a very long time. But, I had a need to please and I kept that going for a long time. But then there came a point at which I pulled up and said 'I can't do this anymore."
- Do you regret that he can't be part of this success? "Well, the estrangement happended post-success, so I felt he was there for a while. If I am totally honest with you, I regret much more that my mother never saw any of it. That's a bit of a killer. She would have adored it."
- Her mother and the books. "I would have told her about it, I would have done. And I know she would have really like it it. I think it was six months before she died I started writing and I never shared it with her."
- Do you regret that? "Yeah, The odd thing is-- this is life isn't it-- the books wouldn't be what they are if she hadn't died. I mean, her death is literally on every other page in the Harry Potter books. At least half of Harry's journey is to deal with death, what it does to the lving, what it means to die, what survives death."
- "If she hadan't died, I don't think it is too strong to say there wouldn't be Harry Potter. The books are what they are because she died."
- Dementors came from her depression. "Clinical depression is a terrible place to be. I think I had tendencies to depression quite young. It became really acute when I was 25-28; it was a dark time. It is that absence of feeling, that absence of hope. You don't know you can feel better. It is so difficult to describe to someone who hasn't been there, because it isn't sadness. Sadness is not a bad thing, to cry to feel. And it was because of my daughter that I went and got help."
- Harvard speech: "That was easilsy the most frigetening thing I've ever done in my life. It felt very exposing because this wans't me reading out words that had already been approved. I used to be borderline phobic about public speaking. So I've come a long way... there are things like giving a speech on TV that still can't do that very easily."
- Rock bottom became her foundation, how to use failure. "It doesn't get spoken about enough. I do not know anyone... who are terrified, who are in a straight jacked of their own making, because tehy are terrified of failing, and they won't try for fear of failing.
- "[Rock bottom] was liberating. What did I have to lose?"
- The Harry Potter universe. "I could be so much worse. Michael Jackson wanted to do the muscial and I said no."
- Do you control all of it? "No, I have a say. For me, I love the films, I love the books, and there are elements that are really fun around it. Now, the theme park, when they came to us, they came to us with a really extraordinary proposal: which was state of the art and they could back it up. And I thought 'Yeah, this could be amazing.' But I only wanted to do it if it was going to be incredible. And it truly is. If I had been a reader, I would have love to go to the parks."
- What do you know for sure? "This is going to be tricky. I know that love is the most powerful thing of all. And I remember thinking that, God, I'm about to make myself cry, but I remember thinking that when 9/11 happened, because those last phone calls were all about, the last thing that I'm going to say on this earth is that 'I love you.' What's more powerful than that? What's better proof than that? It's not fear, beyond death. Complete quote:
Oprah: In my magazine I do a column called What Do You Know for Sure? And every month when I write it, I'm like "I don't know a thing! I don't know a thing!"
Jo: (laughs) I'm really glad you said that because if I thought you were going to ask me what I know for sure, this is going to be tricky. Okay. Okay.
Oprah: I'm prefacing it by saying, it is difficult to know what's for sure.
Jo: Yeah, it is.
Oprah: But, what do you know for sure?
Jo: Um, well I definitely know that love is the most powerful thing of all. And I remember thinking that... God, I'm about to make myself cry, but... I remember thinking that when 9/11 happened, because those last phone calls were all about-- the last thing that I knowingly am going to say on this earth is "I love you." What's more powerful than that? What's more proof than that? Beyond fear, beyond death.
Oprah: It's so interesting you mention 9/11 because I think about them all the time.
Jo: It is such a huge... it is a defining moment in our lives.
- "It's a defining moment in our lives. I remember thinking "They've come down?" and turning on the TV and saw it. And I paniced, because I have friends in New York, and I emailed two of my best friends in New York, one of whom is my editor Arthur Levine, and bizarrely he was able to virtually immediately email me back, and the last line of his email was 'And they say that we shouldn't teach children about evil.'"
- What is your dream of happiness? "Well in the first Harry Potter book Dumbledore says to Harry 'The happiest man alive would be able to look into the mirror and see himself exactly as he is.' So I'd have to say I'm pretty close."
- Will you be writing more? "Oh definitely, I literally can't stop. Well, you could tie my hands to my sides, I suppose, but I have to write for my own mental health. I need to write. I love it."
- Chasing the phenomenon: "I'm proud that I did it, but this is a new phase."
- Final question: Is there a part of you that feels I have got to top Harry "No, and I get asked that... interestingly, people tell me that. They say 'Well, you know, you must just think how are you going to top that?' And I really truly don't think that. It was amazing,a nd it was insane at times. It was fun at time, I am so greatful that it happened. I love the people that read the books, I dedicated the last book to the people who ware dearest to my heart, and the seventh part of that is the reader."
- "There was a girl who came up to me on the street the other day, she bloomed out of the pavement... and she must have been in her early twenties, and she said to me 'You are my childhood.' About the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me."