On Friday night I was lucky enough to see J.K. Rowling speak at the Bath Lit Festival. Seeing Jo live and actually getting the chance to meet her fulfilled one of my dreams. Jo is one of my heroes and biggest inspirations, and her words have been a huge comfort to me over the years. Harry Potter has helped me through some difficult times and has always been there for me to reread.
So, the talk itself was fascinating and brilliant. It was so wonderful to hear her speak, particularly as she so rarely makes public appearances. She talked about everything from The Casual Vacancy to Harry Potter to growing up to being a writer. I noted some things down because I didn't want to forget them, particularly some of the things she said about writing.
One of the first things she was asked to talk about was the adolescent characters in The Casual Vacancy, which if you've read it, are the characters that she is clearly drawn towards writing. She agreed with this and said that she was so fed up of seeing what her kids were watching and seeing a 'romancised adolsence' on TV. She wants to portray the pain and loneliness that teenagers feel, and not sugarcoat it. She also said something along the lines that being a teenager is a lonely time, and even the most extroverted teenagers are lonely and thinking inwardly about themselves as they try to figure out who they are.
When asked about whether the enforced loneliness of writing was difficult for her, she replied that 'I crave it'. I know this feeling so well that I was delighted to hear her say it! She also said that having to balance children and a family life, she is particularly good at switching her writing brain on and off, and scribbling things down when she needs to. I find my writing is often a bit like that, and so it was interesting to learn how she works! I love finding out how other writers work. She was asked several other questions about writing and advice for young writers.
About The Casual Vacancy she said that she had never set out to write a book 'like that', but the idea was one that had grabbed her and she knew she had to write it.
As for what she's working on now, she said that she's working on another children's novel (squeeeeeee!), which is probably for younger children.
And finally, about Potter and the potential of another book, she said well, probably not (she was asked about the possibilities of a Maurder prequel, and after a loud cheer for it, laughed a bit and said she didnt' like prequels much).
An amazing night, which is already a blur to me but I feel very privileged to have met one of my heroes and that she has signed my book! I can't remember much of that interaction, except I managed to blurt something out to her and that was it. An amazing moment. I have so much to thank Jo for. A totally inspirational evening.
Still hasn't really sunk in. I mean I met JK ROWLING! EEEEEEEEEEK!