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Friday, July 29, 2005

Who's Next?

I’m sure not that many people feel sorry for J. K Rowling. (I’m also pretty sure that most people reading this know exactly who J. K. Rowling is without me having to mention she’s the author of the “Harry Potter” books)

But I sometimes worry about J. K. Rowling. I wonder if she might have these great ideas that she’s dying to write, to just get out, but the public demand more "Potter" from her. Perhaps her desire is to write something completely different, a different genre, a different audience (although her audience is pretty darned wide right now), but along come these people with truckloads of money to her doorstep and all she has to do is write “one more” Harry Potter book and the load is hers. Hard to say no.

I feel sorry for her, because, as a writer, I know it would be sweet to see such success, but wonder if it might ever get to be too much (I know, it sounds like a celebrity whining about all the hard work they do, meanwhile pulling in several million dollars for a 6 month film shoot. Tough for folks like us to imagine their pain). I’ve been thinking a lot about this type of thing, though because the novel I’m writing has my character as a successful mystery author who is tired of writing the same series. I’m trying hard to get into his head, imagine what it might be like.

Thus, I’ve started worrying about actual authors who I feel might be in the same boat. Reminds you of the character Paul Sheldon in King’s Misery, doesn’t it? A successful romance author just wants to write something else -- only, in his case, his biggest fan ends up keeping him locked away, forcing him to write one more book just for her. Man, that King guy was brilliant.

Although, while King didn’t have a single successful series with the same recurring character (sure, he’s got the Gunslinger, but that’s just one of a huge number of successful stand-alone novels), he was living with the label “horror author” -- so he exercised his anxiety over this in two ways -- writing Misery and then sneaking some books out under the name Richard Backman.

This line of thought makes me wonder if Rowling has already pulled a Stephen King and released a book or two under a pseudonym just to try to write something different and also to see if she still “has” it (ie, and the books don’t sell just because her name is on them). I’m sure with her cash and influence, she could make it happen.

Now, since King was apparently listening to Bachman Turner Overdrive when his agent asked what fake name he wanted to use, I wonder what music Rowling might have on when asked to come up with her own name.

I’m thinking maybe a Robbie Williams CD in the background, so perhaps she’s writing adult erotica under the name Patricia Williams, or maybe she was reminiscing to a Spice Girls CD and decided on the name Joan Beckham to write her hard boiled noir novels. There’s also the chance that she might have C.S.I. on in the background (they get that show across the pond, don’t they?), with The Who theme song, and pens her historical romance novels under Nina Townsend.

The possibilities, of course, go on and on.

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