Potter author steps into unknown with adult debut
By Mike Collett-White
LONDON (Reuters) - J.K. Rowling takes a step into the unknown on Thursday with the publication of her debut adult novel, five years after the seventh and final installment of the Harry Potter series became the fastest-selling book in history.
"The Casual Vacancy" is virtually guaranteed to top the bestseller lists in Britain, the United States and beyond, with Rowling's name enough to attract millions of buyers and give publishers and bookstores a much-needed boost.
Yet even that may feel something of an anti-climax for an author who has rewritten the rules of publishing and generated the kind of media hype and public hysteria normally reserved for Hollywood royalty.
As each Harry Potter installment hit the shelves, hundreds of thousands of fans dressed up as wizards and witches and queued outside bookstores from Toronto to Tokyo, and the sales figures were staggering - 450 million copies and counting.
The 47-year-old Briton said she was looking forward to a more subdued book launch this time around.
"As much as is possible I wanted this to be a normal book publication," she told USA Today in one of a handful of newspaper interviews she gave to promote the novel.
"Some of the furor that surrounded a Harry Potter publication was fun. I always loved meeting readers. I always loved doing events where I got to speak to readers, but some of it, candidly, wasn't fun at all.
"The thing took on a life of its own. Some of it was just sheer insanity, and I couldn't control it. I couldn't stop it. I couldn't rein it in. Incredible as it is to look back on it, I'm never going to be chasing that again." Continued...