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1. Weekend Links: Exploring the Potterverse (Harry Potter events and links)

September first marks the “beginning” of many new things for different people, but for the fans and readers of the Harry Potter books series from J.K. Rowlings, September 1st exceptionally special.

You see, 9/1 is the day that all students go back to Hogwarts in Harry Potter’ World. That being said; this last Tuesday was a huge day all across the Internet and Twitter in honor of the #backtohogwarts celebration. There were huge giveaways , J.K. Rowling herself was interacting with Tweeters and I personally had a ball interacting, reading and tweeting all of the wonderful “Harry-related” stuff.

Here are some highlights of our very Harry Potter fulfilled day. First off, Kings Cross Train Station, the real actual one in London England had Hogwarts posted on their train schedule. The platform was wrong but what can we except from muggles?

KingsCrossing actual time board

One of my favorite tweets was from Professor Snape with a word of caution to students. Anyone remember when Ron Weasley missed the Hogwarts Express and took the car instead ? Bet he won’t do that again?

Professor Snape2

JK Rowling sent her greetings to Harry Potter’s son James Potter, wishing him good luck on his first day at Hogwarts.

James Potter


A little bit later she heard from one of this year’s newest students that she is near James on the Hogwarts Express. A funny little conversation ensued.

Say Hi and thanks

Later on in the day we learned that young James Potter, son of Harry, has now been sorted into Gryffindor. That was a no-brainer. Would this be an appropriate time to get on my knees and BEG for more Harry Potter books, or even James Potter books.


I miss this boy Harry Potter. I am filled with nostalgia at the thought of returning to Hogwarts. My eldest daughter Zaina and Harry are the very same age. Harry Potter is a huge part of my parenting memories as my sweet girl would sit on a lawn chair in the driveway waiting for the FedEx man to come with the NEXT newly-released Harry Potter book. Begging is not a crime, neither is pleading. I know you may have moved on JK Rowling but you must miss the wizarding world just a little. PLEASE……bring us another book.

OK, all begging aside, let me wave my magic wand and share some really incredible info with you.

JK Rowling  has this incredible site called Pottermore.


Pottermore is the official Harry Potter site created by JK Rowling along with Sony. A unique and free-to-use website which builds an exciting online experience around the reading of the Harry Potter books. We enter inside the wizarding world book by book via scenes that we unlock which correlates with the writing.


Also added perks is that JK Rowling herself shares exclusive new writing all the time because she owns this site. Besides being FREE here are a few good reasons to join,…. it’s so incredibly safe for kids, promotes literacy by interacting with her books and it’s the only place you can get the audio versions. Wonderful interactive items inside the books where you can earn badges, collect friends, and items for your trunk.  The most important thing is that everyone is magical and a wizard. It’s amazing. Yep I think it’s time to dive into the Potterverse. So you see I really didn’t need to beg, I was just being dramatic. Head on over to Pottermore and have a ball. You’ll see all the regulars there!

Looking for better guide for successful homeschooling? The Waldorf Homeschool Handbook is a simple step-by-step guide to creating and understanding a Waldorf inspired homeschool plan. Within the pages of this comprehensive homeschooling guide, parents will find information, lesson plans, curriculum, helpful hints, behind the scenes reasons why, rhythm, rituals, helping you fit homeschooling into your life. Discover how to educate your children in a nurturing and creative environment.
The Waldorf Homeschool Handbook is a simple step-by-step guide to creating and understanding a Waldorf inspired homeschool plan. Within the pages of this comprehensive homeschooling guide, parents will find information, lesson plans, curriculum, helpful hints, behind the scenes reasons why, rhythm, rituals, helping you fit homeschooling into your life. Discover The Waldorf Homeschool Handbook: The Simple Step-by-Step guide to creating a Waldorf-inspired homeschool.

Waldorf Homeschool Handbook

The post Weekend Links: Exploring the Potterverse (Harry Potter events and links) appeared first on Jump Into A Book.

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2. Harry Potter Day! A Celebration of JK Rowling's Influence on Writers

Happy Potter Day!

July 31. Since 1997, it is the day that many fans worldwide have celebrated the birthday of a very special character and story. JK Rowling's imagination has touched thousands of lives and inspired millions to read.

But she also inspired writers. And it seems appropriate to us at Adventures in YA Publishing to celebrate on this day, which is also JK Rowling's 50th birthday, the influence she had on so many to create their own characters and envision their own worlds. We've gathered stories from many authors sharing how Harry and Jo influenced them. We hope you will enjoy these treasured inspirations and share your own in the comments.

But as it's Jo's birthday, let us also not forget the many charities she's sponsored. To give a present to a women who has given us so much would mean remembering Lumos (seeks to end institutionalized orphanages and place children in homes), or Gingerbread (provides help to one-parent families), or Book Aid International (works to provide libraries and books in Africa). Indeed, Jo gave so generously, that she was knocked off Forbes' billionaire list.

Happy Birthday Jo! May you have many more, and may we enjoy more fruits of your imagination.

How Harry Potter Influenced Me. A Birthday Celebration of JK Rowling's Influence on Writers!

-- Donna Hosie, author of The Devil's Intern, Website, Twitter
Like many authors, I started writing because of Harry Potter. During the years of release mania, I was lucky enough to be working on The Leaky Cauldron website, a fan site that J.K. Rowling actually named as her favourite. Warner Bros and EA Games asked me to be a fan consultant on some of their movie tie-in products and I would go along to the studios, interview the creative masterminds, see stills, props and conceptual artwork before anyone else, and generally geek out and yell "Expelliarmus" at unsuspecting Muggles!

I went from writing reports of my visits to writing fan fiction to writing my own time-travel novels. Eight years after 'The End', I'm an award-winning author. None of that would have happened without The Boy Who Lived. So Harry Potter literally changed my life.

And I'm still yelling "Expelliarmus"!

-- Claire M. Caterer, author of The Wand & The Sea, Website, Twitter

I can't say I've grown up with Harry Potter, because I was already grown when I started reading about him. But I will say my writing grew up--quite a lot. What I've taken from J.K. Rowling's example are two crucial points: complexity of character and complexity of plot.

Few things have moved me in literature more than the struggle of Severus Snape as the good and bad within him dueled for supremacy. When I sat down to write my first children's book, I knew I needed some characters who struggled within themselves the way Snape does, the way Harry does (forever wondering if he's somehow part Voldemort), the way Dumbledore does. "The world isn't split into good people and Death Eaters," as Sirius Black says.

And how could anyone not be awed and influenced by the intricacy of the Harry Potter plots? The gentle placement of symbols, especially those relating to alchemy and the elements, had a huge impact on me as I was planning THE KEY & THE FLAME series. JKR taught me to go back through the manuscript, deepen the work a little bit more, and then again, and yet again. I haven't mastered her methods yet, but I keep trying.

-- Lisa Gail Green, author of Soul Crossed, Website, Twitter

Harry Potter was so amazing that it actually delayed me from pursuing writing! I felt like nothing less was worthwhile, and that at the same time there was no way to reach that level of accomplishment. What cured me? I read Twilight. LOL!!! *ducks tomatoes*

Seriously though, HP is mastery at work. JK Rowling invited us into a world, as readers, that was as real as the one we live in, yet full of magic. Every detail, every character, a well-rounded masterpiece that fit together as a perfect puzzle. Not just that - but as a person she is an absolute inspiration. When I have trouble writing because of my toddler I think of her with the stroller in a cafe scribbling in a notebook and I have renewed determination.

 -- Gwynne Jackson, author of "Hans & the Best Day Ever" in Happily Ever Afterlife, Website, Twitter

Three points come to mind when I think of the influence JK Rowling and her Harry Potter books have had on my writing. The first is that being a visual writer is a very good thing. JKR has the ability to describe things just enough so that we can see them, but can still put our own spin on them. The most beautiful part of this is that she rarely overdoes it. Point #2 is in the way she buries clues deep inside her narrative. Sometimes these clues might not even be recognized as clues until four or five books later, but her consistency with them is outstanding. A name here, an attribute there, and three books later it's a major plot point. Some of these might have been planted in advance and others serendipitous, but in either case they're brilliant.

The biggest influence JKR's had on my writing is in the way she treats minor characters. I doubt there's a single character in any of the HP books where she doesn't know their story, their background, their motivations, their desires. This is what's fueled so much fanfiction based on her work: everyone loves a hero, but she makes the other characters so real and so multi-layered that as readers we can't help but want to make each of them the star. In real life we're all the center of our own universe. JK Rowling has created a world where that's also true for every one of her characters. It's my favorite thing about her writing, and something I always try to emulate.

-- Gwen Katz, represented by Thao Le, Website, Twitter

Hogwarts felt the size of a real school: Harry has a lot of acquaintances beyond his close friends, he isn't always in the same classes with his friends, and even in the later books, he sometimes runs into kids he doesn't know because they're in other houses and grades. Important roles like Quidditch team captain often fall to people outside the main characters, making them feel like real people with actual lives who don't cease to exist when Harry isn't around. Harry Potter encouraged me to set my books in large worlds where even minor characters feel like they are living real lives.


  -- Susan Sipal, author of A Writer's Guide to Harry Potter, Website, Twitter

I was already a writer when I first started reading Harry Potter to my son, but my writing took a turn after meeting The Boy Who Lived.  My son and I spent many hours together ferreting out JK Rowling's clues and trying to guess what would happen next. While he loved figuring out the meanings behind her mythical names, I got sucked into the many layers of subtext JKR wove into each adventure.

Rowling knew how to deeply engage her reader. She always gave the reader more...more delightful characters, more fantastic world building, and more deeply hidden mysteries and secrets. This depth and reader engagement is why Harry Potter spawned fanfiction, fanart, Wizard Rock, movies, and even theme parks. Seeking to understand her secrets, I developed a workshop analyzing Rowling's techniques for writers, and have enjoyed presenting it to fans who love Rowling's creations as much as I do. She has inspired me to, in any genre I write, always write below the surface and to seek the reader's engagement like Harry seeking the Snitch.

The love of a very powerful story can influence writers in the stories they tell for years to come. We thank all the authors for sharing their own encounter with The Boy who Lived.

Please, everyone, feel free to add in the comments your experience of how Harry Potter or JK Rowling influenced your writing. We'd LOVE to hear more stories!

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3. Daily Mail Must Apologize to J.K. Rowling

A British court has ordered the publisher of the Daily Mail to apologize to J.K. Rowling for alleging that she made up a “sob story” from her days as a single mother.

The article, “How JK Rowling’s sob story about her single mother past surprised and confused the church members who cared for her”, was published by the Daily Mail in response to an article that she wrote an article for the single parent charity Gingerbread’s website about her experience. The Huffington Post UK has more about the defamatory article:

…the article alleged Rowling “had given a knowingly false account” and “falsely and inexcusably accused her fellow churchgoers of behaving in a bigoted, unchristian manner towards her, of stigmatising her and cruelly taunting her for being a single mother”.

The court found that article to be defamatory and ordered Associated Newspapers Ltd to pay damages to Rowling, which she plans to donate to charity.

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4. J.K. Rowling has written a new short story about Harry Potter–as an adult

Harry Potter fans get excited! J. K. Rowling has written a new 1500-word short story about Harry Potter in his thirties and his friends from the perspective of gossip columnist Rita Skeeter. This is the first time J K Rowling has written about her famous characters as adults since the end of the series. If you’re a Harry Potter fan, click on the link above and go read the story. :)

Thank you to The Bookseller for the information.

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5. Harry Potter Sequel

Did you know J.K. Rowling wrote a short prequel story to HP? Me either! I just found it and am passing along the link for anyone interested:

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6. The 20 nerdiest moments from the Olympics Opening Ceremony

Friday’s Olympic Opening Ceremony was perhaps the most deliriously audacious live spectacle of the Internet age. Devised by the Anglo-Irish Danny Boyle, it celebrated the uniquely English heritage of industrialization, socialized medicine, drug-inspired music trends, James Bond and fantasy literature. God, how did I even write that sentence? Anyway, it was a night of both triumph and tragedy for nerds—while the geek-friendly moments of the ceremony were copious and unashamed, there was still Twitter outrage over a rumored appearance by Doctor Who somehow being cut for time. As I tweeted at the time, this was somehow nerd privilege overrun. As some anxiously pointed out, there was a “Doctor Who Tardis sound” at the end of the pop music/social media segment, but that was not quite enough to drown out the other supremely nerd-centric moments that were viewed by a billion people worldwide:

2012 olympic nerd moments12 The 20 nerdiest moments from the Olympics Opening Ceremony
Glastonbury Tor is a place renowned in Christian and pagan mythology and figures prominently in both Celtic and Arthurian lore. Its central place in the Olympic festivities gives it an even more modern allusions. The sacred tree around which the national flags are planted goes back to pagan tree lore. Go read The White Goddess if you need any more explanation.

2012 olympic nerd moments10 The 20 nerdiest moments from the Olympics Opening Ceremony
The whole forging of the ring sequence — surrounded by belching smokestack towers — was overtly Tolkienian, even if it didn’t directly reference the professor. It echoes the “Scouring of Shire” chapter of Lord of the Rings—Tolkien’s own allegory of the destruction of agrarian Britain by the advent of industrialization— while the visuals seem to reference Peter Jackson’s take on Isengard. I would say there is also some Wagnerian/Norse Das Rheingold in there, but best not to bring up Germanic lore here.
2012 olympic nerd moments9 The 20 nerdiest moments from the Olympics Opening Ceremony
Kenneth Brannagh appeared as Isambard Kingdom Brunel, a cigar chomping engineer and architect, who designed railway grades and bridges. While he lived before the internet, Brunel seems the kind of guy who would today play D&D as an undergrad; he also designed the “train shed” where the Bristol Comic-Con is held.
2012 olympic nerd moments18 The 20 nerdiest moments from the Olympics Opening Ceremony

9 Comments on The 20 nerdiest moments from the Olympics Opening Ceremony, last added: 7/29/2012
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7. Opening the Chamber of Secrets… again

In May I wrote about reading Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone to my eldest daughter, Nykita, aged nine (see “Revisiting Harry”). She was so excited by the book that we immediately moved on to the next one, which we polished off rather quickly. It’s taken me a while, but I’ve finally gotten around to writing about the experience.

I am pleased to report that Nykita loved Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secret as much as, if not more than, the first book. She found the ghost of Moaning Myrtle, and her tendency to dive into toilets, particularly amusing. But she also found this book to be a little scarier than the first — especially the encounter with Aragog and the giant spiders in the Forbidden Forest. She also seemed a little distressed that his fellow students were so quick to turn on Harry and believe him to be the Heir of Slytherin.

As with the previous book, we followed it up by watching the film. Again, Nykita liked the film but preferred the book, although she thought the spider scene was more frightening in the film.

With book two done and dusted, you’d think that we would move straight on to book three. Not so. Nykita seemed rather torn — on the one hand she was eager for more Harry Potter; but on the other hand, she was worried that Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban might be even scarier, and she thought that The Chamber of Secrets was scary enough. In the end, we decided that we would wait a while and read book three over the Christmas holidays, when she would be a little older and more capable of handling a scarier book. :-)

And my opinion? What do I think now, after all these years, revisiting both book and film in close proximity?

I think Chamber of Secrets is a better book than The Philosopher’s Stone. It has all the charm and wit of the first book, but not as many lapses in logic. The only one that really stands out is the basilisk using the Hogwarts plumbing to make its way around the school. All I can say is that, given the enormity of the basilisk, Hogwarts must have some pretty bloody BIG pipes running through its walls. As for the actual plot, it is more intriguing than the first — the idea that Voldemort preserved a teenage version of himself (then called Tom Riddle) in his school diary. It’s a clever way of having a different villain, who is also the same villain. And, of course, it’s all followed through in later books when the diary is revealed as one of the seven Horcruxes into which Voldemort placed his split-apart soul.

As for the film, I think it’s better than the first. The young actors have all settled into their roles and the story flows along much better — it feels more cohesive than the first. It’s interesting to note the changes that the filmmakers have made from the book. Nothing too big. Most of those changes have been to condense the plot or to make things more vi

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8. Plotting My Summer

Happy summer vacation to those of you who have already begun!  My college students have finished their semester, but my husband and kids have two weeks to slog through. We are currently in major countdown mode, and my little bookworm has piles of library books all over the house in earnest preparation for lots of reading time. 

I tried to sucker Kate into writing a "guest post" today to give some insight into the mind of an 8-year-old who loves to read (and write), but she was not so inclined. She did tell me, after much consideration, that she reads to "find out what happens next."  While she talks to us primarily about snippets of scenes or dialogue or characters (Allie Finkle's BFF has come up often recently in real-life analogy), it's the plot that gets her to turn the pages.  She added that the chapter titles often entice her to keep reading.  I was somewhat surprised to hear this tidbit, but then I remembered her methodology for writing stories of her own.  She scrawls out chapter titles and then writes content to bear them out in fulfillment of a nebulous plan that she somehow manages to bring to fruition. I suppose this is her personal method of outlining.  [Kate also says that she likes to write stories because "you can write whatever you want instead of having to write what your teacher tells you."]

The topic of outlining reminds me of a graphic I've seen floating around on facebook recently, showing handwritten outlines of famous authors' works:

(I'm sure many of you have seen this, yes?)

I outline in narrative form (akin to a screenplay treatment), so I was intrigued by the depth and complexity of this spreadsheet format.  I was particularly interested in JK Rowling's outline, and google helped me find this analysis:


Wow!  She not only relates each main even to each subplot, but she knows the day on the week that it happened.  As well she should.  As well I should!  It seems I have a lot of work cut out for me and, thank goodness, finally some time to do it.

Wishing a happy, relaxing, and productive summer to all!  I am about to dive into a friend's WIP and give myself a major dose of inspiration.  And, in the spirit of "reading is writing," don't forget to enter our latest giveaway contest to win a copy of This Journal Belongs to Ratchet by Nancy J. Cavanaugh. I can't wait to read this one, myself. :)  -- Jeanne Marie

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9. 4 Classic School Visit Questions, by Piers Torday

I believe that children, especially primary school age children, are the most restlessly creative and imaginative human beings alive. Dragons who hate going to the dentist, parrots who have learned to fly underwater, and pandas who turn pineapples into hats are just a few of the recent inspiring creations from some of my creative writing workshops in schools.

Dana Fradon (New Yorker, 1953)

But they are also children, which means they are not always either aware of this huge imaginative potential, or equipped to access it on demand or under pressure. And of course, as children, they lack the emotional maturity, craft or life experience to do much with it - but that doesn't invalidate the strength of the imagination.

Left to their own devices, an arm curved round a piece of paper and a pen in their hand, endless improvised drawings and visualisations tumble forth with an unselfconscious energy that most adults - whether they are engaged in a creative industry or not - would envy. Every school visit for me proves Baudelaire right - "Genius is no more than childhood recaptured at will."

Baudelaire looking at his most unchild friendly

However in school visits, this genius (quite understandably) often deserts children, when after forty minutes or so of authorial prancing round, they are asked to function like dull grown ups at a literary festival and "ask me a question".

Too often, this places the discourse no longer in the world of castle in the clouds world of make-believe and stories, but in the constant over-the-shoulder looking world of careers, worry, tested expectation and obsessive productivity that our current cultural system irrevocably steers most human beings towards. And so, they try to function accordingly, and I'm sure many of you will have heard the questions below.

I always answer them as truthfully and as honestly as I can, because it is impossible on such brief acquaintance to separate the earnest and authentic enquiry by the next J K Rowling from the unthinking auto-response nervously asked on rote. But here are some more alternative replies I dream of on the bus back.

1) How long did it take you to write your book?

I wrote this book in forty seconds while my demon wrapped a girdle around the world 


I have been labouring on this tome since the dawn of time, when beings as yet unknown to man appeared in the sacred flame, whispering the collective knowledge of the last great civilization, and bid me decode them for your permanent improvement.

2) Do you know any celebrities?

I wouldn't say I know that many celebrities, but put it this way - Harry Styles is my chauffeur.

Harry Styles
Harry Styles has recently abandoned a successful pop career to drive children's authors to school visits.

3) How much do you get paid?

Every week, the Aka Khan, the world's richest man no-one has heard of, sends me a private jet laden with jewels and treasure beyond your imagining from his vaults, such is the value he places on children's literature.

4) Are you going to write any more books?

I will write as the muse dictates. Whether it be a book a week, or a book every quarter of century, the volume is irrelevant - what counts is the power of the story and love for life, the world and all she has to offer contained within its pages.

But of course - every fifth question can be a gem. What's the most unexpected thing you've been asked on a school visit, and what did you reply?

I think my favourite is still the boy who said "Could you make your next book a bit shorter?"

Piers Torday

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10. JK Rowling Talks About New Book on Twitter

Author JK Rowling took to Twitter this week to talk about her new book The Silkworm, her second book under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith.

In a tweet she shared a photo of Galbraith’s autograph.

It took Robert a whole weekend to perfect that signature. (I let him practise at my kitchen table.) pic.twitter.com/Nlnran2wzy

— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) June 18, 2014

She also thanked her fans and tweeted back at those that sent her questions. (Via Buzzfeed.com).

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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11. ‘The Silkworm’ Debuts on iBooks Bestsellers List

The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith aka JK Rowling has debuted on Apple’s Top Paid iBooks in the U.S. this week at No. 2.

Apple has released its top selling books list for paid books from iBooks in the U.S. for week ending 6/23/14. Top Secret Twenty-One by Janet Evanovich and All Fall Down by Jennifer Weiner also made the list this week.

We’ve included Apple’s entire list after the jump. (more…)

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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12. ‘Blood Feud’ Debuts on iBooks Bestsellers List

Blood Feud by Edward Klein has debuted on Apple’s Top Paid iBooks in the U.S. this week at No. 18.

Apple has released its top selling books list for paid books from iBooks in the U.S. for week ending 6/30/14. Invisible by David Ellis & James Patterson and The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith aka JK Rowling also made the list this week.

We’ve included Apple’s entire list after the jump. (more…)

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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13. Johnny Mackintosh and Harry Potter down under

When you’re a writer you have a clear idea of your story in your own mind, but inevitably you wonder how much of that your readers will actually “get”. I’ve been so lucky with the Johnny Mackintosh: Star Blaze reviews so far, because everyone who’s looked at it seems to have picked out different elements that delighted me.

The latest is Danielle Mulholland, whose written a detailed and thoughtful piece for the Australian website Media-Culture Reviews. The way she summarizes the story at the beginning of her article shows how perfectly she’s grasped it, before going on to say:

“This is a well written book with wonderful descriptions, exciting new concepts for the young adult mind and set in a futuristic world where space travel and various gadgets are common place for Johnny Mackintosh, the protagonist and albeit unrecognised and unknown saviour of the world.”

Danielle stresses that anyone reading a book series should start with the first one, and of course that’s absolutely right. I worked very hard to make Star Blaze work as a standalone book and some reviewers have picked up on that, but it’s absolutely the case that someone’s enjoyment will be deeper if they follow the story from the beginning. A paragraph follows that:

“Having been compared to J K Rowling, Mansfield has certainly used her tried and true double life technique to justify his main character’s peculiarities. In his ‘normal’ life, Johnny has Mr Wilkins to give him grief like Harry Potter had the Dursleys making his life miserable. In his alternative life, Johnny confronts other enemies, similar to the Potter versus Voldemort saga.”

There are plenty who’d claim to be Jo Rowling’s biggest fan, but I’d put myself forward as a contender for the label, and may at least be her number one author fan. It was a great honour to be able to write the Sunday Telegraph’s Harry Potter quiz a couple of years back. Until I read the Potter books I’d only written for adults, but I fell in love with her story and knew I could be passionate about writing for a similar audience, in a way that wasn’t reflected so well in my more grown up scribblings.

I think to really love a book you’ve got to be able to empathize with its characters. That’s why I didn’t write Johnny Mackintosh as “A long time ago in a galaxy far away”. I’m delighted Danielle’s review has picked up on Johnny’s double life, and the problems he has at his children’s home, of course compounded by goings on at school. That’s because I want my younger readers to be able to put themselves in his shoes (or maybe trainers) so they can relate to half his life, while wishing the other half is something that may just happen to them. Personally, I never found myself longing to be a wizard, but as a child I always dreamt of being whisked off into space by aliens.

It goes without saying that any review of Johnny that also mentions the Harry Potter books is going number among my favourites. As a writer, the most impressive thing about Rowling is the architecture of her story, over all seven volumes. If you re-read her books (and I’m a great re-reader) you’ll be amazed at the clues planted in the first couple that point the reader all the way through to the end of the story, without giving too muc

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14. Young Adult Books on the Big Screen

Note this blog entry contains spoilers about the final two Harry Potter books

It’s a truism that cinematic adaptations often pale besides their literary counterparts. An obvious counterexample is Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner but, off the top of my head, I can’t think of more. For those who’ve only seen the film, it’s well worth reading the Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? to see just how different it is, but to explain some elements of the screen version you’d have to gloss over otherwise.

Read the book to discover why the Blade Runner owl is artificial

A wonderful thing about a book is that everyone’s idea of it is unique. The reader converts the printed word from the page into a world of their own imagination. How I see the Imperial Palace on Melania in my head, is different from any readers of the Johnny Mackintosh books. Perhaps that’s why film adaptations so often disappoint, as the Director is competing with thousands of movies that have already run within a reader’s head.

There’s no film I can remember that’s disappointed me more that Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, directed by David Yates with a screenplay by Steve Kloves. As someone who loves the stories so deeply, it horrifies me that this pairing were also asked to make the double film of the final book. While I think the quality of film-making in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince isn’t terrible (though it is weak), what I can’t fathom were the drastic, totally unnecessary changes to the plot that were introduced, diverting from Rowling’s marvellous story architecture and characterization.

[spoiler alert]

Yates and Kloves think they know better than JK Rowling

With a long book, why introduce a mad scene where Bellatrix Lestrange destroys The Burrow? Where will they hold the wedding in the next film, or has that been scrapped too?

A more important example was the death of Dumbledore. In the book, Harry is powerless to act, hidden under the invisibility cloak with Dumbledore’s body-bind curse on him. He would do anything to fight to save his pseudo-grandfather figure, and knows all too well the Hogwarts Headmaster is dead when the curse lifts. If the film, Harry is hiding in the background, and chooses simply to watch and not act, perhaps due to some bizarre element of cowardice that Yates and Kloves wanted to introduce into Harry’s character. There are numerous other examples and a lot concerning Dumbledore’s relationship with Harry: in the books, our hero is kept in the dark and has o puzzle things out for himself; according to this film, Harry is Dumbledore’s confidant.

When I write the Johnny Mackintosh books, I confess I sometimes have a secret nod to possible future film adaptations. I know a fair amount about film theory and structure, and sometimes I’ll be particularly proud of a passage because I know how well it would translate onto the big screen. I see the same in Jo Rowling’s writing at times, where she’s gone a little out of her way to write a beautiful, cinematic scene for her directors, knowing how much it would enhance the film. Yates completely ignored this. There ar

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15. On Radio Five Live in Support of Harry Potter

Last night, I plucked up the courage to ring Dotun Adebayo’s Virtual Bookshelf. Readers of this blog will know I’m a fan. Normally nowadays I can’t listen live, as the phone-in takes place between 2am and 3.30 (not great when you have to out the house for 6.30 to get to work). However, I’ve taken time off to write Johnny Mackintosh’s third adventure (provisionally Battle for Earth) so I, like Dotun, can afford to be up all night.

I telephoned to nominate Harry Potter – the entire series – for a place in the list. Dotun, lovely man that he is, allowed this, which did rather set the cat amongst the pigeons. Do the rules of the Virtual Bookshelf allow a boxed set? Everyone hates listening to their own voice but, for the next few days only, that shouldn’t stop you hearing my praise of the boy who lived and his magnificent creator on the bbc i-player: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/console/b00vc2dl/Up_All_Night_18_10_2010

I’m between 1:21:25 and 1:29:30 (a whole 8 minutes).

The nomination caused much heated debate, with many voices against (and every vote against cancels one for), but at the end of the phone-in Harry won the day and made it on as Book 60. However, Harry Potter still needs your help. Next week, Dotun and his literary reviewer (last night it was Hephzibah Anderson) invite listeners to remove one from the most recent ten titles on the list. Harry creates strong feelings in people and Dotun suggested he was in danger of being removed after only one week.

Don’t let that happen. I propose the AA Road Atlas of Britain (currently in place 51) should go as it doesn’t really compare with Rowling’s great work – I would be more lost without Harry than I would without a map. So next Sunday night/Monday morning, I say the atlas has to go.

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16. Harry Potter Freak

HP, Circa 2001.

My name is Sara Dobie … and I’m a Harry Potter addict. It started sophomore year in college, when I first discovered the books. For years, I would be one of the only college kids in line at midnight outside Barnes and Noble, waiting for the newest release. Kudos to JK Rowling—a modern day rags-to-riches story; the kind of story that keeps writers like me writing—who created a world so easy to sink into and long to be a part of.

My literary addiction transferred to the movies, which is why I’m writing this blog entry: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1, comes out Friday. I’ll get into all the hype about the newest flick later. For now, I’d like to take a look back at Harry Potters past. It’s jarring to watch all the movies in one week (which is exactly what I’m doing). It’s easy to forget certain details of each film, which dwindles the Harry Potter 7 experience. And I would hate to do that. So here we go …

2001. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.
This film introduces the world of Hogwarts to an unlikely, lonely kid named Harry Potter. Everything is new and shiny—for Harry and for the viewer. Voldemort is trying to come back from “the dead,” after an infant Harry seemingly sent him there. Hidden deep within Hogwarts castle is the sorcerer’s stone—exactly what Voldemort needs to come back. Harry and his new friends, Ron and Hermione, have to stop this from happening. The special effects were mind-blowing. Everything looked just as I’d pictured in the books, including the Hogwarts sport, Quidditch. (Damn, that was thrilling.) The kids couldn’t really act in this one. Yet, they each looked the part, and so my fondness for Daniel Radcliffe began …

2002. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
Holy crap, the boys hit puberty. All of a sudden, they had deep voices. Weird. Anyway, in this one, Dobby (not to be confused with “Dobie”), a house elf, appears to Harry and tells him not to go back to school. Harry doesn’t listen, of course, and soon, students at Hogwarts end up petrified by some monster from the so-called “Chamber of Secrets.” Harry realizes he can speak parseltongue—or speak to snakes, just like Voldemort. AND Kenneth Branagh makes an excellent cameo as Gilderoy Lockhart. At this point, the Harry Potter movies still have happy endings. Not so for much longer.

Sirius Black.

2004. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
I love Gary Oldman! I love Sirius Black!! (I get really excited about these movies.) So Sirius Black (Oldman) has escaped from Azkaban prison, and everyone thinks he’s coming after Harry. Dementors are looking for Sirius, protecting the boundaries of Hogwarts. Harry can’t handle the Dementors. The character of Lupin (a werewolf) is introduced as Harry’s mentor, who helps him form a “Patronus” to protect himself from them. Harry learns Sirius Black isn’t quite what he seems. Note: They start switching directors from this one, forward, and the change is pleasant in each. For instance, this film is darker than the first two, and rightly so.

2005. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
My favorite book. Yessir. Darn good m

2 Comments on Harry Potter Freak, last added: 11/18/2010
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17. YAB Review: Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 1

Ed. Note: This report from the midnight screening of "Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows" comes slightly overdue, but on the heels of a very successful Thanksgiving weekend at the box office, the insights on a magical draw over Gen  Y remain just... Read the rest of this post

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18. The End of Harry Potter. The End of Magic? I Think NOT!

I came across this trailer recently and surprised myself at how emotional I became. It's not like I cry at all movie trailers. And in fact, I wasn't crying because of the trailer; I was crying because it is the absolute end of the Harry Potter reign. While Rowlings' books will live forever (and the movies) and probably become classics for my grandchildren, there will be no new adventures--no more Harry Potter and gang acting brave and foolhardy. Continue reading

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19. Madonna To Star in Comic Book

Madonna has had a pretty colorful life, and pretty soon you’ll be able to see it in full color. Independent publisher Bluewater Productions has a new comic book coming out in August based on the star’s life.

Female Force: Madonna is the illustrated story of the star’s life as written by CW Cooke and drawn by Michael Johnson. The book tells the story of how a struggling dancer in New York became one of the biggest pop stars in history. The book also highlights Madonna’s influence on other artists. “Most pop stars owe everything to this woman. It’s amazing all of the things that she’s done in her lifetime, and I have a feeling that this is still only the beginning,” stated Cooke.

Bluewater’s Female Force series featured other prominent women, including: Hillary Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, JK Rowling, Ellen Degeneres and Sarah Palin.

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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20. Pottermore defends selling e-books directly

Written By: 
Charlotte Williams
Publication Date: 
Mon, 27/06/2011 - 08:53

Pottermore has responded to retailers' frustrations over being unable to sell the Harry Potter e-books, saying the idea was to "ensure ease of availability across all reading devices".

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21. Willy the Wizard claimant loses court appeal

Written By: 
Lisa Campbell
Publication Date: 
Fri, 15/07/2011 - 08:55

A claim that J K Rowling's fourth Harry Potter book plagiarised a work by author Adrian Jacobs may be thrown out of court by the end of today.

Paul Allen, trustee of the estate of Adrian Jacobs who died in 1997, has accused Rowling and her publisher Bloomsbury of plagiarising Jacob's book Willy The Wizard when she wrote Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. He has been attempting to sue Rowling for £5m.

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22. Harry Potter, JK Rowling, and the refusal to let go of your vision

Last weekend I, like many of you, saturated myself with all things Harry Potter.  Even after seeing the amazing, wonderful,…

2 Comments on Harry Potter, JK Rowling, and the refusal to let go of your vision, last added: 7/19/2011
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23. EIBF denies link with Publish America

Written By: 
Charlotte Williams
Publication Date: 
Tue, 16/08/2011 - 08:45

The Edinburgh International Book Festival has said it has no relationship with print-on-demand publisher Publish America, after the US firm sent letters to its mailing list of authors promising their books will be presented to "the festival".

On Twitter last night, EIBF said: "We have no relationship with @publishamerica. We have asked them to cease and desist making promises involving us."

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24. Influences on Johnny Mackintosh: Harry Potter

Most of the entries in this series of things that have impacted on the Johnny Mackintosh books have been either science fiction or science based. I have though saved the biggest influence until last and it comes from another world, but one which many readers will know well: Jo Rowling’s spectacular creation, Harry Potter.

Some people might have heard the story of how I came to begin reading about the boy wizard from Godric’s Hollow, but for those who haven’t here goes. Of course as a publisher I’d heard about Harry and his creator JK Rowling, but I figured he was for kids and I had no interest whatsoever in books about witches and wizards and magic and broomsticks, even though the buzz about this remarkable creation wouldn’t go away.

I was working for a company called Addison-Wesley who were based in Boston, Massachusetts, so had been spending time over there. At the end of the week everyone from the office was out a party in a club (I think the House of Blues) and I would be heading back to the UK the next day. I was approached be someone looking a little sheepish who said she had something to tell me – that everyone in the office thought I was Harry Potter.

In hindsight it’s obvious. At the time, as you can see, I wore ridiculous round battered glasses, had black messed up hair, spoke with an English accent and (though I normally cover it under mounds of foundation) I do actually have a lightning-shaped scar on my forehead. Then there are all the mad things that seem to happen when I get angry, but that’s another story…

The next day I found and bought Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone at Logan International Airport and read it on the flight home. Curiously, although I may have read all the Harry Potter books 20-40 times, I’ve still never read the Philosopher’s Stone version of book one where it all began. At that time Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets was also published so I bought that at Heathrow Airport on the way home, and Prisoner of Azkaban soon followed. I loved this world that the woman who was to become my writing idol had created. It’s a tribute to her that she could even make things like magic and dragons and Quidditch sound interesting. But most of all it was what we call the voice of the books, and the cleverness of telling everything from Harry’s point of view, even when he got the wrong end of the stick.

It had never occurred to me to write the sort of books that children might want to read (as well as adults). I’d been trying to pen the ultimate cutting edge modern novel, a kind of cross between Iain Banks, Paul Auster, Tibor Fisher and Irvine Welsh (there’s a thought!) when one day, walking back from the

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25. Ypulse Essentials: Millennials & Luxury Brands, Lessons From Harry Potter, Togetherville Splits

While not all luxury brands tap into the Millennial market, others make this a priority since they know Millennials’ opinions (and purchasing decisions matter. Whole Foods for example has effectively won over Gen Y with the brand’s welcoming and... Read the rest of this post

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