Seven (Groups of) Questions for JK Rowling

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I’ve been on a binge of watching any and all interviews with author JK – Jo – Rowling on YouTube. Why? Hard to say. Of all the writing projects I have in the works* it is the children’s story that engages my interest most at this time. Perhaps that’s why. I watched these interviews with JK Rowling and then I couldn’t stop – like eating popcorn. Or chocolate. A lovely milk chocolate, maybe the kind with crispy rice bits inside. Or dried raspberry. Yes, with dried raspberry.

It began on her birthday, celebrated in the media, and picked up on my me. I wrote to her on Twitter to wish her a happy birthday and to say a big thank you for keeping my kids distracted while I write. I ought also thank authors Rick Riordan and Dan Gutman while at it. I owe these authors a great deal of appreciation and if I ever meet them in person, I will thank them for the many hours of entertainment they’ve given my family.

Authors are amazing in their responsiveness. I like writing to and with authors, and find they often take the time to write back. Given her volume of mail and being the focus of world-wide attention, I would be unsurprised if JK Rowling were not to respond. I’m not dissuaded. I have my questions lined up and ready. As a writer, my questions are specific and targeted to my own interests, rather than for a general audience.

If I was given the chance to ask JK Rowling anything, this is what I would and will ask:

  1. I’ve heard your novels require very little editing. Is that true, and if so, what processes do you take in writing that lead to that? Would you say you self-edit? What does that look and feel like?
  2. What influence has being a teacher had on your work? What is your favorite anecdote from your teaching years?
  3. Are there some things that simply cannot be written – or that cannot be written well? That defy words or our own language? Would you try, and have you?
  4. Have you had any of your translated novels written back into English, to see the effect of translation? What do you think of the translation process? Are your translations true to your original work? Do authors have to let that go, much like with movie adaptations?
  5. To what degree do you daydream, and is it a daily preoccupation?What about night-dreams? Do you analyze dreams? Do you nap?
  6. Do you believe in archetypes? Collective consciousness, or unconscious connectedness? These elements seem to come through in your work. Where does that come from in your own work and process – do you map it out, or does it flow without preplanning?
  7. You articulate the rush of writing – the deliciousness of being 2/3 of the way through writing a novel, with a clear path ahead and a full day to write – as being the best feeling. Thank you for that. Do you think most writers or creatives feel that way? Are we wired to love that, to look for that feeling, or can it be learned?

Is the search for this feeling the essential passion that drives a writer, even more so than having a story to tell?

These are my questions. If you, readers, could ask JK Rowling any questions, what would you ask?

-Maia

www.maiakumarigilman.com

* That is to say, I have one novel being edited, one in research, and a children’s story loosely forming on a notepad. All touch on themes of environmentalism and how we live, how we interact with our surroundings, and what fires us up creatively. Although she does not present herself as an “environmental author,” I think JK Rowling is that. Atmospheric, to be sure.

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