Thursday, July 25, 2013

JK Rowling tells story of alter ego Robert Galbraith

Harry Potter author explains how she gave her crime-writing alter ego Robert Galbraith his name, and why she went undercover for projected series of novels.  

JK Rowling
Pottering no more ... JK Rowling has revealed more about her pseudonymous detective novel. Photograph: Ian West/PA
JK Rowling chose her alter ego of Robert Galbraith by conflating the name of her political hero Robert F Kennedy and her childhood fantasy name "Ella Galbraith", the Harry Potter writer has explained on her alternative persona's official author website.

The author, who was outed last week as the writer of detective novel The Cuckoo's Calling, also confirmed that she has "just finished the sequel" – the first of a projected series featuring sleuth Cormoran Strike – which is to be published in 2014.

Amid the FAQs on the official Robert Galbraith author website, Rowling declared "I successfully channelled my inner bloke!" when editor David Shelley, who first read the novel without knowing who its true author was, said, "I never would have thought a woman wrote that."

The Cuckoo's Calling, shot to No 1 in the hardback fiction charts last week, selling 17,662 copies after Rowling was revealed to be its author, charting above Dan Brown's Inferno at number two, and Second Honeymoon by James Patterson at number three. In the overall UK book charts, it reached third place, behind paperbacks of John Grisham's The Racketeer at No 1, and Rowling's previous adult novel The Casual Vacancy, which also climbed rapidly following the news, at number two.

Writing on the Galbraith website, Rowling reaffirmed the line that the pseudonymous story "was not a leak or marketing ploy by me, my publisher or agent, both of whom have been completely supportive of my desire to fly under the radar. If sales were what mattered to me most, I would have written under my own name from the start, and with the greatest fanfare."

The decision to choose a male pseudonym was driven by a desire to "take my writing persona as far away as possible from me", Rowling said. By choosing as her hero a military man working in national security – taking a lead from former SAS solider and bestselling author Andy McNab – she created an "excuse not to make personal appearances or to provide a photograph

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