JK Rowling Dicusses Life-Changing Books, eBooks and More in New Interview

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Jun 03, 2011

Posted by John Admin

The June 2011 issue of the literary magazine Words with Jam recently published an exclusive interview with Harry Potter author JK Rowling.

Ms. Rowling talks about some of her favorite books to read as a child, the challenge of balancing a family and writing, her (messy!) work space, and her opinion on the eBook debate.

The interview is available to read for free online beginning on page 6.

Some excerpts from the interview:

What was your favourite childhood book, or books?

The Little White Horse, by Elizabeth Goudge. The tone is perfect; a seamless mix of the fairy-tale and the real. It also has a plain heroine, which delighted me beyond words as a child, because I was a very plain little girl and I hadn’t met many literary heroines who weren’t breathtakingly pretty. The opening paragraphs of The Little White Horse have stayed with me all my life. Goudge says that there are three kinds of people in this world: those who find consolation in food, those who find consolation in literature, and those who find consolation in personal adornment.

I know I read Little Women when I was eight, because we moved house shortly afterwards, when I was nine. Naturally, I whole-heartedly identified with Jo March, she of the burning literary ambition and short temper. My mother had everything Georgette Heyer ever wrote, so I whipped through those, too, when I was a pre-teen, and I FINALLY found a plain heroine there, too (Phoebe, in ˜Sylvester’, who also ’ hooray! – happened to be a writer).

Basically, I lived for books, and was sustained by literary characters with whom I could identify ’ I was your basic, common-or-garden bookworm, complete with freckles and National Health spectacles.

Ebooks – Nemesis or Genesis?

Genesis. There’s no point trying to hold back progress, but print will never die; there’s no substitute for the feel of an actual book. I adore physically turning pages, and being able to underline passages and not worrying about dropping them in the bath or running out of power. I also find print books objects of beauty, and I don’t speak as a precious, first-edition-mustn’t-crack-the-spine-type collector, but as somebody who loves a shiny new paperback, and the smell of second-hand books.

However, there are times when e-books are a Godsend. We forgot to pack my youngest a bedtime book when we were away last year, and I truly appreciated the magic of being able to download one in seconds! This summer will be the first time that I take away fifty e-books to read while we’re on holiday, rather than filling up my suitcase with print books.

Which word or phrase do you overuse ’ in writing or in life?

I’m not proud to say that it’s probably swearwords in every day life. Writing the Harry Potter books, I got sick to death of the words ˜passage’, ˜corridor’ and all others relating to my heroes’ endless movement around Hogwarts castle.





90 Responses to JK Rowling Dicusses Life-Changing Books, eBooks and More in New Interview

Avatar ImageAbbyWeasley says: Great interview. First comment!!Avatar ImageLemonFaerie says: Awesome to hear from Jo! Great interview. Avatar Imagehermione06 says: I love how "normal" she is, (even after all of her success she's still so easy to relate to) =) Avatar ImageWinkyxx says: ^ agreed. shes normal and down to earth.. i wonder what else she got sick of... probably the characters names itself!Avatar ImageGwynogs_rabbit says: :) LOVE that comment by Goudge.Avatar ImageMiss Twiddle says: Why is it, that the most important question hasn't been asked: is Jo currently working on another book? Avatar ImageMiss Twiddle says: Does anyone know if the Scottish Book aka Harry Potter encyclopaedia is still going to make an appearance?Avatar ImageJoRowlingRocks says: The pictures they've used for the interview are old aren't they? Anyway, nice to see an interview with actual new information, it's a rare occurence these days! (Even if they did start off with the predictable 'let's ask the world's most famous children's author what her favourite book was as a child') Miss Twiddle, I'm guessing they didn't ask because Jo doesn't want to talk about it, don't blame her... And I'm sure the Scottish Book is still on the cards, Jo wouldn't let us down!Avatar ImageFlo says: I hope this means we'll see ebook editions of the Harry Potter books sooner rather than later. I'd really love to have them on my Kindle.Avatar ImageMahin says: Great interview!Avatar ImageExpectoPatronum512 says: I love Jo! Great interview!Avatar ImageMariaKeis says: Fab .. (: But can someone tell me why it's so important to get "The first comment"? It relly bugs me when people do that ! xDAvatar Imagesgt_majorette says: JKR's mom loved Georgette Heyer?? We're soul sisters, I love Georgette Heyer!!Avatar ImageRubeusHagrid says: Thank you Ms. Rowling for this new and wonderful interview. Its so neat to hear from her again! She is such an inspiration and she does indeed seem so very NORMAL. Its so amazing! I'm a writer too--of course not published, I'm 13..not that i wouldn't want to be--but whenever I need inspiration i watch her Oprah or Year in the Life interview and when there are tears in my eyes, I return to work with such a passion that makes my writing better. She has given millions of people such a wonderful thing to read. Thanks Jo! :)Avatar ImageRubeusHagrid says: & I'm sort of shocker---New interview from the best author in the world, shouldn't there be more comments? ^_^Avatar ImageRubeusHagrid says: *shockedAvatar Imagekiwimci says: I wanna see Jo write with her toes. Nice interview. More Jo!Avatar Imagecamila_black08 says: great interview!! did anybody read ' litlle white horse' once in life? Avatar Imagebudb says: Oh, no, she definitely over used (and incorrectly used) "traipsed"! And let's face it, she had a few other favorites that caused moans by the time we were reading HBP! But, I agree, its nice to have a new interview from her, and perhaps someday we'll get the 'encyclopedia'! Cheers, one and allAvatar Imagejillians642 says: I love the tag-line of the magazine : making other magazines feel inadequate since 2009Avatar ImageOh Neville says: @KiwiMcl You and me both. What an idea for a fundraiser! LOL Nice interview, and good to hear from JKR. Avatar ImageGiant Squid says: Its always so nice to hear what Jo has to say!Avatar Imagevespasian68967 says: Very good & interesting interview. Glad to see her attitude towards ebooks & that she sees their usefulness. Now I just wish we could get Potter ebooks!Avatar Imagecloethebelatrixlover says: ah... great to hear. I also kinda am sorta ashamed to say that I love that she said that she overuses swear words. Mostly because, well, they're very useful sometimes, but also, they show yet again how normal she is despite all of her fame and fortune.Avatar Imageamericangirlemmie says: I can't wait for the e-Books!:)Avatar ImageCatherine says: Wow, long time no hear from!!!! its great to hear from Jo again! And even though we have heard very little of her in a while she is still the same very human, normal, laid back Jo we all love!!!!Avatar ImageLivi22 says: I always love to read interviews like this because she's so natural and normal and so like me!!Avatar Imagekbicprez says: Always great to hear from JKR! She's so talented, so rich, and so famous and still so very much down-to-earth. I LUV U JKR. Her comments about ebooks really hit home. I also love printed books. I love turning the pages and using bent corners as my bookmarks. But I admit, I'm planning to buy ebook reader. Technology rules!Avatar ImageFarahey Sama Kabir says: =)Avatar ImageWeenyOwl says: I just hope that she's right that real books made from paper will never go away. I don't WANT an e-reader, ever. What I find most comforting about this interview is the knowledge that JKR has an untidy workspace (not as messy as mine, though, I'll bet - it sounds like she only has ONE pile of papers). I just wish I also had her drive to write all day long, day after day. Most mystifying to me about this interview: Why cite Ford Prefect over Arthur Dent? Ford had better quips, I suppose, but Arthur was our befuddled Everyman.Avatar ImageTarana says: I love hearing from Jo. Very lovely interview. I didn't know this e-magazine, but I'd like to read more of it, some of the back issues, etc. Ah, so little time, so much to read ;o) @camila_black08: I have tried to read Little White Horse, but I couldn't get past the first few pages (but then I'm not a little girl anymore, and haven't been for quite some time). I might give the book a try some other time in the future.Avatar ImageFelipe_Q says: Gotta love Jo! She's such an inspiration! What a wonderful, talented and interesting individual! I never get tired of listening (or reading about) what she has to say :-)Avatar Image1HarryPotterFan123 says: Love you Jo!!!! Great interview, I'm so glad she's stayed normal (as everyone else is saying) despite her fan and fortune. Most stars turn bad in the first year or so, but Jo, who has created one of the biggest phenomenons of all time, has stayed perfectly normal after more than a decade!!!Avatar Image1HarryPotterFan123 says: Oops, forgot to add, Jo looks really different in the pic. Anyone else, or is it just me?Avatar Imagemencia says: it's always awesome to read new information about Jo, it was a great interview indeed. she has always inspired me since I read my first copy of philosopher's stone and I love that she has remained so grounded amidst it all :)Avatar ImageFresca says: Thank you, Jo, for the interview and for writing such great books. I agree with her comment that an e-book is handier when you travel, but nothing beats the smell and feel of a brand new book. I like to read and reread my books, and keep favorite books for a very long time. I can imagine how hard it would be to write about Hogwarts and try to find new and different ways to describe the corridors, classrooms, and locations. A good interview! Avatar ImageWON_TWO says: Ya gotta love Jo!Avatar ImageArlen says: hi please join my call of duty modern warfare 2 group! http://www.the-leaky-cauldron.org/myleaky/groups/10554 thanks:) Avatar ImageSaskiaM says: Oh sad, she likes e-books! Bother. I normally agree with her on most things. :( Well all right, I'd be okay with them if we were all ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN that the publishing industry would hold up and real books would continue to exist, but we aren't, so for now they are my personal nemesis. At least she seems to prefer real books.Avatar Imagerstadolnik says: Am I the only one that got sick of her describing Crookshanks as looking like a "furry ginger cushion"?? Couldn't he just once be a squashy orange hairball? Seriously, though, Jo, that's my only complaint. ; )Avatar Imagekyrstalkris says: I'm excited! Need to buy a kindle now. . . !Avatar ImageOldMrToad says: Have Kindle... Impatiently waiting for HP in it's entirety to be available so I can re-re-re-re-re-... (ad nauseum) -read them... And "The Scottish Book" too.. Please Jo, before I join Fred, Dumbledore, Tonks, Remus et al... OMTAvatar ImageMiss.Weasley says: I love her humor ;] especially; I’m not proud to say that it’s probably swearwords in every day life. Writing the Harry Potter books, I got sick to death of the words ‘passage’, ‘corridor’ and all others relating to my heroes’ endless movement around Hogwarts castle.Avatar Imagekyrstalkris says: Interesting! =]Avatar Imageazaadpotter says: Awesome interview

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