“Those who wish to sing always find a song.”
“Re-examine all you have been told. Dismiss what insults your soul.”
I’m full of admiration for JK Rowling — and not just because of her inspiring rags-to-riches story and her astonishing success in selling 450 million Harry Potter books in 73 languages. It’s also because of her enthusiastic drive to explore new facets of her abilities as a writer. I just came across a USA Today feature I clipped during the launch of her adult novel, The Casual Vacancy. While the original publication run of 2 million was modest by Potter standards, it was impressive mainly because of JK Rowling’s decision to strike out into the adult market.
While some people would have been happy to rest on their laurels and cultivate their loyal fans, Rowling is a writer and she wanted to keep writing after Harry Potter, pure and simple. While she’s certainly in the catbird seat career wise, I admire her independent spirit in assessing her post-Potter chances of winning a new audience. Here’s what she said in an interview about The Casual Vacancy and her foray into adult fiction:
“I don’t think that everyone will like the book, but I’m proud of this book. I like this book. It is what it’s meant to be. As an author, you really can’t say more than that, and I don’t mean this arrogantly, but if some people don’t like it, well, that’s how it should be, isn’t it? That’s art. It’s all subjective. And I can live with that….” “…as an author, I need to write what I need to write. And I needed to write this book.”
Reading this, I see Jk Rowling’s independent spirit shining through: As she describes it, her first obligation is to herself and her own development as a writer. How readers view her work is their choice, not hers. Let’s cultivate this same independence in our own work. Bravo, JK. Write on!