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Ask J.K. Rowling a Question About The Casual Vacancy

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message 1: by Patrick (last edited Jul 25, 2013 12:18AM) (new)

Patrick Brown If you could ask J.K. Rowling one question about The Casual Vacancy, what would it be? In celebration of the paperback release, J.K. Rowling will answer one winning question about the book from Goodreads members. Ask your question below, and you may see the superstar, best-selling author answer it on Goodreads. We will be accepting questions from now until Sunday, July 7, at which point, we'll choose our five favorite questions and make a poll. The Goodreads community will vote for their favorite question, and J.K. Rowling will answer it.

UPDATE: Thank you to everyone who participated - you submitted so many thought-provoking questions! This thread is now closed to further submissions, and we've selected a top five:

Vote here to pick your favorite question!

UPDATE: Ms. Rowling has sent us her answer to the winning question. Here it is:

message 2: by Kressel (new)

Kressel Housman At the end of the book, Tessa blames herself, both as a mother and as a teacher. How much do you agree with her self-assessment?

message 3: by Keith (last edited Jul 03, 2013 05:03AM) (new)

Keith The Casual Vacancy is a very serious look at Britain's mental health/social services institutions and the problems they face. It obviously hits close to home. Can you say what prompted, inspired you to write the book.

message 4: by Gretchen (new)

Gretchen How do you think American politics compare with that of British and how do you think the main political issues in England as portrayed in this small town council translate to the American political system?

message 5: by Amin (new)

Amin Yassin Desperate Krystal feels by the end of the book that she wants to have a child in order to raise, protect and love... to give him all the things she didn't get from her mother. Ironically, her situation was so bad and extreme and yet she felt that taking care of another person's life (a new baby in this case) would be the thing that would save her.

How do you explain this weird (and yet so true in my opinion) need? And how do you, as a writer who began her writing career while raising a child and was in dire straits, relate to this idea, if at all? Would you say that raising your first child made you more responsible and committed to writing and finishing Harry Potter Book 1? Were you as desperate as Krystal back then?

message 6: by Natalia (new)

Natalia Fajardo I think J.K. Rowling achieved such a beautiful description of the characters, even though she may have never experienced going through certain experiences described in the book. I would like to know how she could achieve that of talking from the heart of the characters and depict such vivid stories.

message 7: by Dominik (last edited Jun 26, 2013 02:21AM) (new)

Dominik Łowicki Was there any connotation between Harry Potter series and The Casual Vacancy? When Barry Fairbrother have died, I had an idea that "Barry" sounds almost like "Harry" and his death is kind of saying good bye to Harry. I'm right?

And whole Poland loves You!

message 8: by Jeffrey (new)

Jeffrey Hillen Was it hard to write something completely different then Harry Potter? or anyway to come with something new?

message 9: by Jacqueline (new)

Jacqueline Ouellet I am a huge fan of Harry Potter, obsessed really and I loved Casual Vacancy. I am wondering how you felt with the critism from HP fans and others because of the language and story line?

message 10: by Laura (new)

Laura M To what degree do you believe Stuart "Fats" Wall is responsible for the final outcome of the novel? Does he deserve redemption?

message 11: by Kaio (last edited Jun 26, 2013 05:18AM) (new)

Kaio Souza People say this book has nothing to do with Harry Potter, but in my opinion I think it has. The plot is completely different, of course. But as Harry this book starts with a death that schock a comunity in general (Hello, Vold) and there is also all this original, natural way of humor that only J. K. knows how to do (laughed so much while reading about Samanta ha ha). The book also has all this connotation involving death and how it changes people's life...
Did you notice this while/after you wrote The Casual Vacancy?
Oh, I would like to play Andrew. I just saw myself in the character (leave cigarretes) would you appoint me? Ha ha
Thank you so much for do what you do.
Maybe you are tired of listen to it, but it changes lives.

message 12: by Farida (new)

Farida Mestek Why Barry and Pagford? What is the significance of these names, if any? How long did it take you to come up with them? Were there alternative names and name changes before you decided on them? Thank you very much!

message 13: by Trishé (new)

Trishé How was the experience of writing The Casual Vacancy, an adult novel, different from writing Harry Potter? Is there an age group or genre that you prefer after tackling these two very distinct works?

message 14: by Anabela (new)

Anabela Maria The characters are very complex and extremely realistic. As you get inspired to create them?

message 15: by Anabela (new)

Anabela Maria Are frequent comparisons about The Casual Vacancy and Harry Potter, even if the books are not alike. How do you feel about it?

message 16: by Anabela (new)

Anabela Maria I read a review in a magazine that said that people could not to like any character. Its true they are complex characters with secrets and yet realistic. Each character in the book can be our neighbor or ourselves. What I mean is, do you think that people tend to flee and not to like of yourself or something like that with you, if this thing is bad? (Ps love you J.K.!)

message 17: by [deleted user] (new)

How do you feel about so many young people reading the novel following the success of Harry Potter?

message 18: by Leticia (last edited Jun 26, 2013 08:30AM) (new)

Leticia Fiuza

What was your deepest fear when writing The Casual Vacancy?

Rebecca In your writing there don't seem to be many positive father figures; following the deaths of all Harry's father figures in HP, in The Casual Vacancy the only truly good father dies at the start of the book. Was this trend intentional, and what (if anything) do you think is the reason for it?

Also, I wouldn't want this to be the only question asked but if there's time for a bonus question I really want to know what colour Krystal's hair is!

message 20: by Emma (last edited Jun 26, 2013 11:25AM) (new)

Emma Whilst you were writing the Harry Potter series you must have had lots of other ideas for stories. What was it about The Casual Vacancy that made you decide to tell that one first?

message 21: by Patricio (last edited Jun 26, 2013 11:49AM) (new)

Patricio A few questions :)

1. Considering you inherited, from Harry Potter, a lot of young-adults readers, how do you feel about sharing with them a vision about politics and social justice? They are now the ones who votes and take decisions. Do you think you influenced them? And how would you feel about that?

2. The transition from writing about a magical world where you put the laws to something so realistic as politics in a small town may be hard because you lose some freedom. Did you have to do research about some things, for example, SQL Injections (Andrew used it to hack into The Pagford Parish Council website) ?

3. The Casual Vacancy will become a BBC TV drama series. Will you be involved on that, and how?

message 22: by Gabriel (new)

Gabriel In The Casual Vacancy, among many situations and characters that helped built up the little world where it was developed, we had the figure of "The Ghost of Barry Fairbrother", which despise being real people posting online using that nickname, added a sense of mistery to the story, and personally, it made the book a lot more exciting for me. After more than a decade reading Harry Potter, when I first read about the "ghost" and I understood what it was being used for, it kind of reminded me of the "Heir of Slytherin" in The Chamber of Secrets, and a thought struck me: "this is classic Rowling writting". My question is: did you, at any point, had to struggle not to put Harry Potter elements into The Casual Vacancy, or did those little elements of mystery flow out of your pen naturally, without feeling that urge?

message 23: by Alfonso (new)

Alfonso What aspects of your life can we see reflected in The Casual Vacancy?

message 24: by Daniella (new)

Daniella Ferreira Dear J. K. Rowling, I want to know which one of all the messages you wanted to pass to the readers through ''The Casual Vacancy'' was the most important one and why. Thank you.

message 25: by Erin (new)

Erin Who do you root for in this book?

message 26: by Teddy (new)

Teddy I listened to the audio version of The Casual Vacancy. I loved the reader. I despised every adult in the story...and most of the children.
Can you tell me why?

message 27: by Karin (new)

Karin I was wondering if you have any influence on the translations of the Casual Vacancy? For example the book is translated in Dutch and the title is 'Een goede raad', which can be translated as 'A Good Advice'. Of course 'raad' can be translated as 'counsil' too, but in this case it's very hard to ignore 'a good advise/ een goede raad, because it's such a prominent phrase in Dutch.

message 28: by Don (new)

Don Although not a fantasy a la "Harry Potter," "The Casual Vacancy" has magical moments. Which are your favorites?

message 29: by Lee (new)

Lee By the end of The Casual Vacancy which character do you empathise with most even after they each so at least one questionable act?

message 30: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Why did you decide to write such a violent and adult book?

message 31: by Micaela (new)

Micaela What made you want to write a book that is so different from Harry Potter?

message 32: by Melissa (new)

Melissa In the Harry Potter series you created many loveable characters while in The Casual Vacancy the reader is hard pressed to find any characters with likeable qualities. Was this a deliberate choice for shock value and to "get away" from the fantasy/magic genre or did the characters have to be that way in the book for the story to work for you?

message 33: by Faith (new)

Faith The song "Umbrella" by Jay Z and Rhianna is featured heavily in your book. Can you explain the symbolism of that song and how you picked it for the Casual Vacancy?

message 34: by Mandy (new)

Mandy Was Krystal inspired by someone in your real life or did she just come up from different stories of children with rough lives?

message 35: by Domenico (new)

Domenico Venezia In Harry Potter and in The Casual Vacancy you've created characters that are in the process of discovering who they are. As an adult would you say that you've found who you really are or will you always be discovering yourself? And as an author have you ever think of doing a police/suspense novel?

message 36: by Emily (new)

Emily I was wondering when you got the idea to write The Casual Vacancy. Did the idea come to you after finishing Harry Potter, or had it been in the back of your mind for a long time before finally writing it?

I also just wanted to say how much I look up to you as a person and say how magical you've made my life! Not a day goes by when I don't think about your books.

message 37: by Alice (last edited Jun 27, 2013 06:16PM) (new)

Alice In my opinion, the Harry Potter books is the best fantasy series ever written. It demonstrates how gifted, creative, and imaginative you are as a writer. I feel this is where your talent soars.
Do you plan on creating a new fantasy series at some point in your writing career?

message 38: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Did you consciously want to write something completely and utterly different from Harry Potter or was this a story that you would've written regardless?

message 39: by Nancy (new)

Nancy Rubin Will there be a sequel to A Casual Vacancy? I do hope so.

message 40: by Natasha GJ (new)

Natasha GJ Nanny Nakia Will you write more sagas for young audiences?

message 41: by Doni (new)

Doni Molony Leticia wrote: "

What was your deepest fear when writing The Casual Vacancy?"


message 42: by Paula (new)

Paula Great book, and real, flawed characters, as is life, same as here in Australia. Do you envisage Fats tracking down his birth mother?

message 43: by Charlie (new)

Charlie Is this the first of many books for Adults? (Not that I didn't enjoy the Harry Potter Books!)

message 44: by Anastasia (new)

Anastasia Which character did you dislike the most in The Casual Vacancy and why?

message 45: by [deleted user] (new)

Where and how did you come up with the plot for the Casual Vacancy?

message 46: by Michèle (new)

Michèle How much did Anthony Trollope consciously influence you. I love the humour in "The Casual Vacancy" and the tone of the narration is somehow reminiscent of the Barsetshire Chronicles. A brilliant, updated, twisted, non-ecclesiastical retelling of the sagas of a small village/town (!) Thank you!

message 47: by Ilana (new)

Ilana Reading "The Casual Vacancy", I was struck by how you retained a distinct narrative voice that was similar to the one that characterized your previous work. The narrative voice is distanced, but always somewhat ironic or sardonic, very clearly more aware of the goings-on than either the characters or the readers are. It's a fantastic voice, and it's uniquely yours.

Was it a struggle, trying to find this voice again after writing the Harry Potters and beginning to write "The Casual Vacancy", or is this narrative style something that comes naturally to you? How much do you need to work on it during your editing process?

message 48: by Dottie (new)

Dottie JR Rowling, I was so impressed w/ your interview last fall, that I needed to read The Casual Vacancy. Your character development was outstanding, as expected.

message 49: by Pranshu (new)

Pranshu Did you ever feel like you were giving up on Harry Potter by writing this? I've read some of The Casual Vacancy" and loved it, but did it ever feel different weird not writing about Harry?

message 50: by Heba (new)

Heba Do you plan on writing any more books, adult or otherwise?

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The Casual Vacancy (other topics)
The Casual Vacancy (other topics)
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J.K. Rowling (other topics)