JK Rowling has said she plans to pen many more crime thrillers, and to create a series that will run for even longer than her seven hugely successful Harry Potter books, which over a decade have proved to be one of the bestselling book series in history.
The novelist, who has written two whodunnits under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith, says she loves writing in the crime genre because of its open-ended nature, with the detective having to tackle a constant sucession of cases rather than being tied to a single storyline.
Her comments came after her second crime novel featuring detective Cormoran Strike, The Silkworm, topped the Sunday Times bestseller list after it was published in June. The first book in the series, The Cuckoo's Calling, was published in 2013. The title initially met with modest sales, but after its true authorship was revealed, it went on to become the top-selling novel on Amazon.
Speaking at the Theakstons Old Peculier crime writing festival in Harrogate, North Yorkshire on Friday, the multi-millionaire author said she hoped to write more than seven books about the detective. "It's pretty open ended. I really love writing, so I don't know that I've got an end point in mind.
"One of the things I love about this genre is unlike Harry Potter, where there was a through line, where there was an overarching story, a beginning and end, you are talking about discreet stories. So while a detective lives, you can keep giving him cases."
The bestselling author, who has been widely credited with helping to get a new generation of children reading with her Harry Potter series, said she decided to use a pseudonym for her latest series so that the books' reception would be based on its own worth rather than her reputation. "I wanted to prove to myself that I could get a book published on the merits of the book. A friend of mine said, 'why did you need validation?', and I think possibly you need to be a writer to understand why.
"I had known for a long time that I had this character in my mind, and that I wanted to write a detective series and part of me hoped that I might be able to keep it long enough, kept the story going long enough to establish a series."
Rowling said she had always enjoyed crime fiction, and drew inspiration from the genre for her Harry Potter series. "I love crime. I've always loved it. I read a lot of it … and I think the Harry Potter books in many ways are whodunnits in disguise. "I enjoy the golden age (crime) book. That's very much what I was trying to do with these books – to take that finite number of suspects – the genuine whodunnit style, but make it very contemporary, make it up to date and make sure this is a credible person and a credible back story."