PAGE 2
O, The Oprah Magazine: Why do you love The Woman Who Walked Into Doors?

J. K. Rowling: It is the most remarkable book. Roddy Doyle gets inside the head of his character so utterly, so completely. I don't think I've ever encountered such a believable, fully rounded female character from any other heterosexual male writer in any age. I should emphasize that I would feel the same way about the book if it had been written by a woman; I would still think it was the most remarkable achievement. But when I sit back and think, 'A man wrote this?'—phenomenal. He has created a woman who, you imagine, will go to the bathroom and defecate. He also leaves her with her dignity, even though what she's going through is a horrific thing. And he does it all in such a subtle way. I do think he's a genius. His dialogue is irreproachable. And your heart...you're totally drawn into his books. I'm very passionate about Roddy Doyle, and I've never met him, which is a frustration to me.

O: Well, maybe you could now...

JKR: My editor edits Roddy. And I'm always just missing him! But I might freeze, being in the same room.

O: You're saying it's difficult to write outside your gender, but you've chosen to create Harry Potter. Is that hard?

JKR: If I say no now, that's going to sound really arrogant. But I had been writing the first book for six months before I stopped and thought, 'Why's he a boy?' And the answer is, He's a boy because that's the way he came. If I had stopped at that point and changed him to Harriet, it would have felt very contrived. My feminist conscience is saved by Hermione, who's the brightest character. I love Hermione as a character. She's kind of a caricature of me when I was younger. I was obsessed with achieving academically, but underneath that I was insecure.

O: We love Hermione, too! We identify!

JKR: I think we have a very strong female character in her.

O: You have a young daughter. Do you read Harry Potter to her?

JKR: I kept thinking you've got to be 7 years old before you read Harry. And then I cracked because it was unfair to her, really, that all these kids at school were asking her about this stuff and she had no answers to give them. So I started reading Harry Potter to her when she was six. Now they are her favorite books, which makes my life an awful lot easier.

NEXT STORY

Comment

LONG FORM
ONE WORD