Sunday, October 17, 2010

An Open Letter to JK Rowling

Dear Ms. Rowling,

Like many of your fans, I'm also a writer.  I've read or watched many of your interviews, including the most recent one on Oprah.  However, as a writer, I have lots of questions which I've never heard addressed.

If you chance upon this blog and have a free moment, :-), could you answer a question...or 50?

1) When you first started writing, who encouraged you the most?

2) What did you do to learn the craft? Did you read books on writing, join a writers group, attend conferences?

3) You seem to have maintained a high level of privacy with your work while writing Harry Potter, but aside from your agent and editors, have you ever used a critique partner?

4) How do you maintain your writing time with the amount of pressure you must receive to spend on the business and promotional end?

5) How much time do you put into research for your story?

6) Your novels seem so full of analogies to myths, alchemy, and classical stories.  As a generalization, did fans oversee what was there, or not catch it all?

7) I think I've read somewhere that you have a very detailed plan before you write.  Is this correct?

8) Have you ever spoken at a writers conference?

9) What is something you learned with time that you did not understand when you began writing?  I'm asking for something related to craft here.

10) In what areas do you believe you strengthened your writing through the series?

11) What aspect of the craft do you find to be the most difficult?  The easiest?

12) Who do you turn to when you need help, writing-wise?

13) What's the best piece of advice you were ever given in regard to your writing?

14) What would be your biggest piece of advice for writers, both new and not-so-new?

15) What do you do now to continue to improve your craft?

16) Do you ever read books on writing?

As a writer, I have learned the most from reading--reading other writers, judging contests, and critiquing manuscripts.  I've learned tremendous amounts from reading both the Harry Potter series as well as the speculation of fans regarding the books.

Thanks so much, Ms. Rowling, not only for the vast amounts of enjoyable time I've spent reading your delightful stories, but also for helping me to improve my own!


(Any other writers out there, please join in.  Post your questions in the comment trail, and I'll keep this letter revised and updated as we go along.)


  1. Hi! I've just discovered your blog and I find it utterly fascinating. I'm also a writer and lately I've been thinking quite a lot about my own list of writing-related questions that I'd like to ask Jo.

    I often host Q&A with fellow authors on my blog and one of my impossible dreams is to have the chance to interview my favourite author: "A Writer to Writer" kind of thing. I thought about sending her a letter, but chances that she'll ever see it are slim to none :( Perhaps, together we could do something about it?

    I'd love to interview you too! So if you see this post, could you e-mail me at

  2. Hi Farida, I'm so glad you like the blog! Interviewing JKR would be the interview of a lifetime! I'd love to talk with you and will send you and e-mail. :-)