J K Rowling has revealed she is writing another children's book which she "really loves".
The author was interviewed by Simon Mayo for the Radio Two Book Club yesterday evening (2nd November) and said "I have an idea for a children's book. Actually I have written part of a children's book that I really love so I'm definitely going to finish that. And I have other ideas for other adult books."
Asked how many other stories she has in her head at the moment, she said: "Loads...I sometimes worry I'll die before I've written them all out. That's my mid-life crisis!"
Rowling also spoke about the 'eighth story' in the Harry Potter franchise, set 19 years after Voldemort's demise, which will come to the West End next year in the form of a play called The Cursed Child. She told Mayo: "I always said I'd never say never. There were things I had in my head about what happened 19 years later. I personally had no desire to write it as a novel, for reasons that I think will become clear when people see the play. I'll just say that this play would never have happened if this particular team hadn't come to me. They're extraordinary and I think together we'll create a really fantastic experience for people."
It is well-publicised that Rowling knew and had plotted the eventual course of the Potter novels from day one. Whilst discussing her latest crime novel, Career of Evil (Sphere), authored under her pen name Robert Galbraith, Rowling discussed with Mayo a different writing process for adult crime fiction as Galbraith. "I'm not as prescriptive as I was with the Potter books," she said. "I could probably go to ten. Even beyond. I don't know. I have a certain number of plots.
"I think what will limit them, ultimately, is the relationship between Strike and Robin. That's clearly the through line; that's the thread on which all of these plots are hung. And I think at the point I don't enjoy writing about them anymore, that will be the time Robert stops writing this series. But I am certainly nowhere near that yet."
The germ of the idea for Galbraith's crime series featuring Cormoran Strike, about a veteran turned private detective, sprung from Rowling's interest in "what happens when someone leaves a military career", citing her oldest friend, also ex-forces, as one such source of inspiration.
Rowling described Career of Evil as simultaneously "the darkest in the series" and the most enjoyable book she's ever written.
"It's the only book I've ever written that has literally given me nightmares," she said. To inform passages written from the perspective of the serial killer, Rowling revealed how she had trawled real police reports and accounts from certain "notorious" serial killers. "I did a lot of research and it was that which disturbed me quite a lot," she said.
She continued: "It seems irreconcilable, [but] I don't think I have ever enjoyed writing a book so much. I set myself quite a difficult technical challenge with this book, which was quite conscious. The field of suspects is very limited and quite a difficult technical feat to pull off to maintain suspense. And I also wanted to go into the killer's head. And, obviously, without giving away who the killer was."
Alluding to the 'conjurer's trick' authors must master to become part of the crime "whodunit" genre, Rowling said: "I enjoyed that challenge. I just loved the crafting of it," adding, "not withstanding the grisly subject matter."
Asked if she would have liked to have stayed anonymous for longer, Rowling replied: "Yeah definitely. Looking back I think it probably was unrealistic. I had this idea if I could maybe have three books. The catch 22 was if the books were successful, the odds of me keeping the secret diminished accordingly because people were going to start asking 'why does this guy never give interviews'.
"I did know that. But it felt a little premature. I was disappointed."
Rowling added: "I'd like Robert's writing career to be less about the hype and the promotional stuff, because I'd done so much of that with Potter. I was so grateful for what happened with Potter, it was amazing; but the truth is that I'm the kind of writer who really does want to be alone in a room writing most of the time.
"This is fun but Robert gets to have a lower key existence normally, than I do. It just feels that with Robert it's more about the writing."
The Rowling inteview can be heard on Mayo's Drivetime show from 1:07:29 minutes in here.