These are just some of the responses given over the years by J.K. Rowling to the many questions she gets asked.
"Every one of my publishers, my agent, my friends, my relatives and my neighbours are constantly approached by people who want me to sign their books. The sad truth is I couldn't sign all of these books even if I gave up writing, eating or sleeping. These days the only books I sign are for charities or in very special circumstances. Please, please, please do not send me your books for signature. I no longer get to see the books that are being sent, which are returned unsigned to the sender."
Due to the very high demand for signed books by J.K. Rowling, these are now limited to selected charities and special circumstances. Unfortunately there are unscrupulous people out there, who are only too ready to step into the breach and exploit Harry Potter fans, so we would like to add a note of caution.
As there has been an unfortunate increase in the number of forged signatures over the last few years, books genuinely signed by J.K. Rowling since the publication of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in 2007, including her new novel The Casual Vacancy, now carry a hologram of authenticity.
Any other item claiming authenticity, such as certificates, accompanying a signed book is not genuine or valid.
If you are planning on purchasing a signed book which was published prior to 2007, please be careful, as there is no guarantee the signature is genuine.
We are unable to verify signatures, but if you would like to have a signature checked we recommend contacting the following Antiquarian Bookseller, who is a respected authority on J.K. Rowling signatures:
Jon Gilbert of Adrian Harrington Books.
Address: Adrian Harrington Books, 54 Kensington Church Street, Kensington, London W8 4DB
Tel: 0207 937 1465; Fax: 0207 368 0912
"No, I believe in hard work and luck, and that the first often leads to the second."
"Gryffindor, I hope. I value courage beyond almost anything."
"When I was a child, I would read absolutely anything. My favourite books for younger people would be I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith, which I really love, The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge, all the classic children’s books. I love E Nesbit—I think she is great and I identify with the way that she writes. Her children are very real children and she was quite a groundbreaker in her day."
"My publishers will forward letters. I’m afraid, however, that due to the enormous size of my weekly postbag, I’m not able to answer individual questions or comment on your stories or ideas, nor am I able to sign autographs or photographs (see ‘giving up writing, eating or sleeping’ above). Sorry!"
"I cannot possibly reveal the full horror of my most embarrassing moment, but it took place in a pub in Exeter (which is a town in the south coast of England, where I went to university) in 1984 and involved a joke made by me that backfired spectacularly. The whole debacle was witnessed by my friend Pauline (I have to keep her happy in case she TELLS)."
"Firstly, you need to write something that a publisher would want to publish (it only takes one, but it might take a while to find them. If you are turned down by every single publisher in existence, you will have to consider the possibility that what you have written is not publishable). Next, you need to approach the publisher, either directly, or (which is advisable if you can manage it) by securing an agent who will act on your behalf. The best way to find agents' and publishers' addresses is to consult 'The Writer's and Artist's Yearbook', which is updated every year (Double-check that you are writing to the right person/people; don't, for example, send science fiction to a publisher of medical textbooks). Wait. Pray. This is the way Harry Potter got published."
"I have picked up a few penpals over the last few years (though I'm sometimes a bit unreliable when I'm working hard!!) but to be very honest, I don't think I have room for any more. My children have to come first: the rest of you have millions of penpals to choose from, but they can't choose an alternative mother, so they really do need my time most."
"Always... as soon as I knew what writers were, I wanted to be one. I've got the perfect temperament for a writer; perfectly happy alone in a room, making things up."
My favourite material thing is our house in the north of Scotland, where it is very peaceful and we have a lot of fun with family and friends. Probably the very best thing my earnings have given me, though, is absence of worry. I have not forgotten what it feels like to worry whether you'll have enough money to pay the bills. Not to have to think about that any more is the biggest luxury in the world.
Updated May 2012
"I have been enjoying sharing information about Harry’s world on Pottermore for free, and don’t have any firm plans to publish it in book form."
"I have always refused to say ‘never’ to this question, because I think it would be foolish to rule out something I might want to do in a few years’ time. However, I have no immediate plans to write another Harry Potter novel, and I do think that I have rounded off Harry’s story in the seven published books."