SPIEGEL Interview with J.K. Rowling 'I've Really Exhausted the Magical'

J.K. Rowling's first novel for adults, "The Casual Vacancy," was published on Thursday. In a SPIEGEL interview, the best-selling author talks about life after Harry Potter, describes her paranoia about losing everything she had gained and dispenses a few parenting tips.


They are nothing more than ordinary photocopies, a stack about 3 centimeters (1.2 inches) high, but a great deal of secrecy has been made about them. At night, the pages have been sitting in a safe at the Ullstein Verlag in Berlin.

When SPIEGEL requested an interview with J.K. Rowling on the occasion of her first novel after Harry Potter, it wasn't clear if the author would let journalists read the book before it was published on Sept. 27. But there sit the 576 pages of "The Casual Vacancy" (which is being published in German as "Ein Plötzlicher Todesfall") in a sun-drenched conference room at the Ullstein offices.

Rowling's first novel for adults begins with the character of Barry Fairbrother, who goes out to eat with his wife to celebrate their wedding anniversary. But Fairbrother isn't actually the hero -- he dies from an aneurysm on the third page. He lived with his family in Pagford, a seemingly idyllic town in the west of England. He was a social climber, who grew up in a neighboring public housing estate, The Fields, and before his death fought to make sure it should continue to belong to Pagford.

Rowling shows the social panorama of a small English town. She describes a successful family of Indian doctors; a father who beats his wife and kids in private; a political spokesman who is as powerful as he is fat; and four teenagers who rebel against the stuffiness of the self-satisfied middle-class world.

Today, Rowling, 47, is one of the richest women in Britain. The seven volumes in her Harry Potter series have been translated into 72 languages and have sold approximately 450 million copies worldwide. Her fortune is estimate