Literary Wizard J.K. Rowling, or is that Robert Galbraith?

31 Jul

jkrowlingHello and join me in wishing a happy 48th birthday to Brit J.K. Rowling, the wizard behind the Harry Potter series, which just happens to be the best-selling book series in world history.

My publicist has read them all, out loud, we should add and, in between secretly wishing she was Hermione, enjoyed all 250 thousand pages. Speaking of wanting to be someone else, I’m sure you heard the latest. J.K., which stands for Joanne and made-up-middle-Initial, recently published “The Cuckoo’s Calling,” a suspenseful detective novel under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith.

Her reasoning? She wanted to start a new series free of the Harry Potter hype and she thought readers would take the book more seriously if they thought it was written by a man, especially as her protagonist is male.

harry potterUsing a man’s name is the same philosophy her publishers insisted upon in 1997 when she published the first of the Harry Potter series, “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.”

The book was going to be marketed to preteen boys so the publishers did not want a female author to deter sales. In real life, she uses the name “Jo,” to which we are partial. 🙂

Jo was just “outed,” so to speak, supposedly by a few linguists poking around with software that matches writing styles to authors, sort of like a literary fingerprint. But recent news declares a partner in the law firm she uses leaked the pseudonym to a friend who tweeted it. Who can you trust?

The birthday girl owned up to the nom de plume, and sales of “The Cuckoo’s Calling” bolted to the top of the NY Times Bestseller list, and Hollywood is on the phone. That is some powerful branding. Jo is generously donating her new legal reward and global net royalties for a spell to The Soldier’s Charity, a British organization that assists former service people and their families.

Jo’s story is pretty well known, but here are a few bullets:

  • Jo attended St. Michael’s Primary School, which was founded by abolitionist William Wilberforce. Mr. Wilberforce was a British politician who led the movement to abolish slavery, and the complete abolition of slavery from Britain. Abolitionists in the United States were heavily influenced by Mr. Wilberforce.william wilberforce

  • Despite living in poverty following the divorce of her first husband, Jo cranked out the best-selling book series in world history.

  • Jo does not have a middle name, nor initial, so the “K” is made up.

  • Jo was named the most influential woman in Britain

  • Jo is a renowned philanthropist, helping scores of charitable organizations

  • Since her marriage to Neil Murray in 2001, Jo goes by Jo Murray for personal correspondence

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4 Responses to “Literary Wizard J.K. Rowling, or is that Robert Galbraith?”

  1. Carol July 31, 2013 at 9:23 am #

    Loved all the Harry Potter Books, and sharing them with my children as they grew up…thanks for sharing Jo’s story, Ms. Alcatt!

    • louisamayalcatt August 5, 2013 at 7:53 am #

      Hi Carol, hope you’re feeling 110 Percent these days. You and my pub were probably reading out loud at bedtime at the same time. Some of her favorite memories, xo, LMA

  2. roughwighting August 4, 2013 at 6:34 pm #

    Fascinating! Thanks for all the info. I admire “Jo” for her tenacity and great creativity. I thought in some way you’d find a connection to this Jo, and the Jo in Little Women! (there is a Jo, isn’t there??)

    • louisamayalcatt August 5, 2013 at 7:49 am #

      Thanks Roughwighting! Yes, Jo Rowling Murray and Jo March are both incredibly strong gals. Jo March, of course, is my heroine and other alter-ego (I have a few of them, :)) in “Little Women.” Good catch, not sure how many got it. Thanks for stopping by again. It’s always a pleasure having you here. xo, LMA

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