AOL, which tells me whatever news it feels like whenever I go to check my email, reported the other day that J.K. Rowling has been seen in the cafes of Edinburgh (according to Ian Rankin, quoted in the article) working on a crime novel. I'm a nice Jewish girl from New York, and one of the shaggy dog stories my father used to tell (always with the punch line in Yiddish, which the children didn't understand) ended with the most unlikely little man in the back (Japanese, if I remember correctly) standing up and saying--in Yiddish--"But is it good for the Jews?" So now I want to know whether y'all think the fact that the creator of Harry Potter is writing in our genre is a good thing for the rest of us. I think Rowling is a fine writer and will probably write a grand story, whether thriller or whodunit. I also think that she has one whale of a platform and would sell millions of copies even if her new book were terrible. She will enter the lists at the top. Will she draw positive attention to the genre or crowd midlist authors out? Are you interested, or do you see her as just another writer? Whaddaya think? Liz

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permit me some jaded resentment: I hope we aren't going to get mad moggles is it? serial killer wizards--truthfully, i did think about writing a sinister Harry Potter. different name of course. All about a boy who sleeps under the stairs and plots against a world of happy wizards, charming little kiddies and Disney world. THIS boy, this sinister other half -- actually turns out to be a demon sent up from hell... ! the mind boggles. there, now I feel better. by the way, I bet she has no problem getting it published!
Crimes solved by owls, perhaps? Although as Carole so rightly says, there will be no problems getting it published, whatever it might turn out to be.
I guess you can't get much different than wizards than going to a crime novel.

If this is true, I'll probably pick it up because it's Rowling. But I would think that would be exceptionally daunting as a writer to switch genres that completely.
Why? A good story is a good story.
yes, but not everyone can switch genres like that. and besides if they do--probably not in Rowling's case, they write under a different name. she's not going to do that, i'm quite certain. she's already courting publicity.
I don't think she'll have too much trouble switching to the crime genre, given most of the Harry Potter's have had a mystery plot at their heart. Changing the scenery from something fantastic to the more mundane shouldn't be the stretch that going from action-packed thriller to introspective literary novel might be (and it should be easier if anything, fantasy requires laborious world-building in a way that contemporary fiction does not). While I think the attention her effort might bring to the genre would be good for crime, I think she's going to have to do an immense job for the critics not to bite back after Harry Potter's success.
at first i thought we're all fucked. but then i thought maybe not. i've been combining crime fiction with a supernatural element and being told there's no real audience for such a thing. but if Rowling writes crime fiction with a supernatural element it could open things up for the rest of us. i know john connolly has been doing this, but when i point him out to editors they say yes, but that's the UK. Completely different audience in the US they tell me. not that i believe it. i think it's all about marketing. they know and want to market that kind of book in the UK. not so much in the US.
i feel better, but with a certain amount of trepidation.
Sigh! If in doubt, everybody turns to crime fiction.
I don't think it's going to have much effect on the genre or on writers, bestselling or otherwise.

What I find fascinating is the creative mind. Rowlings doesn't have to publish one more word. She's set for life. She's actually taking an extreme risk by trying something new. But here she is, back writing at a cafe table. Whether we achieve great success or not (maybe especially not), it takes great courage to return to that writing table.
Here here. Personally, having not read any Harry Potter, it means little to me. I actually think that crime fiction fans will rake her over the coals, perhaps with even more relish than they do everyone else. You guys know what I'm talking about. A lot of crime fiction fans know more about the legal/forensic/investigative stuff than the authors do. Kids were the driving force behind HP's success, and the reason she made as much money as she did had more to do with movie rights and selling action figures. No matter how poised to sell a publisher thinks her work may be, if it's crime fiction for adults it can't come close to matching HP.

But good for her for continuing on. Confirms to me my own philosophy - real writers write. For now, that's all it is. Until there's a book and a publishing contract, who knows how the world will respond?

And Anne, I've always had the impression the US market was more for the woo-woo stuff than the UK.
Yeah, there will probably be a lot of bitterness once J.K. Rowling's book comes out and sells well (which of course it will, at least at first). Already there's been the "oh no, she's in my genre" response.

But then, that's assuming that the "news" stories are true, and who knows? The story I read on Yahoo sounded more like hearsay and conjecture than real news.

Anyway, I don't see how Rowling going to crime fiction can hurt the genre. Crime fiction already dominates the bestseller lists, usually, so I don't see any reason for concern.


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