Sunday, July 14, 2013

J.K. Rowling / Robert Galbraith

So word is out:  J.K. Rowling published a crime novel as "debut" author Robert Galbraith.  That's super exciting!  The moment I heard, I immediately told everyone I know via text messages, Facebook, Twitter.  You know, grabbed my megaphone and shouted it from the rooftops.

And then I had a conversation with my mother.

Mom:  I feel badly for [J.K. Rowling] though.  I just finished a novel about a writer who published a famous book and was sick of all the attention so switched to writing sci-fi under a pen name so she would have privacy and then her cover got blown.  (Note:  It's Certain Girls, by Jennifer Weiner).

Me:  She can come up with a new pen name?

Mom:  But she may have really enjoyed what she was writing and now has to switch characters.

Me:  Yeah.  But she's J.K. Rowling.  Everyone in the world wants to be her.

Mom:  I'm just saying.  The author character in my book was very bummed.

Way to go, Mom.  Now I feel terrible.

But it got me thinking.  There's a reason J.K. Rowling wrote under a pen name:  to dodge hype, expectations, fans waiting in Barnes & Noble for the midnight release.  She wanted honest reviews, a book that people would read without comparing it to Harry Potter.  It must get pretty frustrating for her to hear all the time, "It's good, but--"

I mean, just take a look at the reviews for A Casual Vacancy.  It's hard to find one that doesn't mention Harry Potter.

Will I read The Cuckoo's Calling now that I know it's written by her?  You bet.  But I do feel bad for J.K. Rowling.  Now her words are back under a million magnifying glasses, each one looking for nargles and crumple-horned snorkacks.

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