I've always found J.K. Rowling to be a fascinating woman, particularly after hearing her Harvard commencement speech in 2008. On the eve of the release of her first book for adults, The Casual Vacancy, and the first book after the Harry Potter series, Ian Parker writes a revealing in-depth profile of Rowling for The New Yorker.
I asked her if publishing the new book made her feel exposed. “I thought I’d feel frightened at this point,” she said. “Not just because it’s been five years, and anything I wrote after Potter—anything—was going to receive a certain degree of attention that is not entirely welcome, if I’m honest. It’s not the place I’m happiest or most comfortable, shall we say. So, for the first few years of writing ‘The Casual Vacancy,’ I kept saying to myself, ‘You’re very lucky. You can pay your bills, you don’t have to publish it.’ And that was a very freeing thought, even though I knew bloody well, in my heart of hearts, that I was going to publish it. I knew that a writer generally writes to be read, unless you’re Salinger.” After all the fretting—“Christ, you’re going to have to go out there again”—she discovered that she was calm. “I think I’ve spent so long with the book—it is what I want it to be,” she said. “You think, Well, I did the best I could where I was with what I had.” She laughed. “Which is a terrible paraphrase of a Theodore Roosevelt quote.”
It seems Rowling is very shy and despite the success of the Potter series still has to confront the fears of creating work and putting it out into the world.
The profile is worth the long read. In it you'll learn the through-line between Potter and Vacancy ("Mortality and morality",) where the title of the new novel comes from and above all that Rowling is very much a writer who is going to continue writing other books, for adults and children, of which the Potter series was simply the beginning.