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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This isn't the first time I've seen speculation on her writing crime fiction. And I have also seen reports that she's working on an extension to Harry Potter. Hard to explain (not a continuation of the series) but you could probably get it in the archives at The Scotsman.
It could be the mooted Harry Potter Encyclopaedia, with the speculation being that it'd be a charity project in line with the titles done for Comic Relief: Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, and Quidditch Through The Ages.
As Gilda Radner would say, "Never mind." Seems like the European press is hanging onto anything Mr. Rankin says these days! Tabloid journalism finally hits crime writers.
The greatest fallout from Rowling's HP books, as mention before here, was getting a whole generation off their Cyber-keisters and reading again. That was an amazing thing for a single writer to do and that by it's self was a tour de force. The books were very good and I will be curious to see what Rowlings can do in another genre. That she has chosen Crime could be a good thing. People who have never tried the genre before would probably do so and that could start a heightened interest in Crime reading. And there ain't nothin' bad about a bunch of new readers eyeballing our genre. I could see it being a benefit to all of us.

As for Rowlings, more power to her. I do admire her stubborness at keeping her vision to the number of novels she planned, not bowing to tremendous pressure to do more. With more money that God and the ability to relax and go on a permanent vacation, she is willing to stick her neck out and try something new and invite a real raking over the coals. She is either insane or a true writer!

She may be shocked too. The Crime community is usually very supportive, unlike other genres. A welcome from those involved could be a pleasant thing for her.
Turns out it was only a joke. Found this on GalleyCat:

Rowling's 'crime novel' is a red herring

Certainly stirred up some interesting discussion, though.

Yes, we can all stop quaking in our boots now, lol!
Ha! Love the owl, by the way.
I like Rowling. I think Madeline L'Engle is a better writer within the same genre (and roughly the same theme), but Rowling is a formidable world creator. Plus, she earned my undying loyalty by insisting that Latin and Attic Greek translations be published--thus underscoring the pertinence of classical languages in a world sadly bereft of the subjunctive mood (OK, that's the classicist talking).

If she is indeed doing this, I'd be a bit surprised ...given her long break between HP 4 and 5, the amount of emotional energy she's invested in the saga, and the rampant rumors that swirl around the lady like a Kansas tornado. If the story is true, then jolly good for JK. It doesn't affect me. Writers write what's in them to write. Regardless of a supposed genre glut, regardless of unproven success or wishy-washy test marketing.

Chandler once said, "Good writers write what they want and make the reader like it."

I couldn't agree more.
Big sellers like Rowling seem to work in their own sphere of sales, almost a genre in themselves, but that sphere does have a spill-off influence. There's definitely been an increased interest in YA and fantasy fiction since, although it's difficult to tell how much of that has to do with Rowling. So I'm hoping for a positive effect. I don't think she'll push out any more midlist authors than are already being pushed.

Also, as others have noted, the Harry Potter series has a strong mystery element to it, so I assume she'll do well with that. I can't imagine her having not read a decent amount of crime fiction already. She's a hard worker and knows what she's doing. Personally, I hope she steers away from mystery per se, and more towards crime and criminals.

Actually, I think Ray Banks is ghostwriting her next novel as we speak.

Take that, you search engines!
I've just posted a separate discussion with a screamer head to the Forum to make sure everybody knows the story about Rowling writing a crime novel was just a joke that Ian Rankin made onstage gone haywire. And this one wasn't spread as just Internet gossip--both AOL and Yahoo picked the story up from the Associated Press. It generated a great discussion, though, didn't it? I relieved that Rowling is taking a break, just like an ordinary human who's just earned a billion dollars. ;)


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