It’s been a little over a week since Robert Galbraith, the critically lauded crime novelist, was revealed to be a pseudonym for J.K. Rowling, and while the “ex-military policeman’s” book, “The Cuckoo’s Calling,” shot to the top of the bestseller’s list, fans of the “Harry Potter” author still didn’t have many answers about the ruse until now.
Rowling recently updated to FAQs section of Robert Galbraith’s website with answers about the pseudonym and its public outing, as we learned last week was the result of a blabbing lawyer. The answers included explanations for Rowling’s choice in pseudonym and also addressed rumors that the reveal was orchestrated by Rowling and her publisher.
“I certainly wanted to take my writing persona as far away as possible from me, so a male pseudonym seemed a good idea,” Rowling wrote. “I am proud to say, though, that when I ’unmasked’ myself to my editor David Shelley who had read and enjoyed ’The Cuckoo’s Calling’ without realizing I wrote it, one of the first things he said was ’I never would have thought a woman wrote that.’ Apparently I had successfully channeled my inner bloke!”
The pseudonym “Robert Galbraith” came from Rowling’s love of the first name — she considers Robert Kennedy her hero — and her inexplicable desire as child to be called “Ella Galbraith.” “I’ve no idea why. I don’t even know how I knew that the surname existed, because I can’t remember ever meeting anyone with it,” she wrote. “Be that as it may, the name had a fascination for me. I actually considered calling myself L A Galbraith for the Strike series, but for fairly obvious reasons decided that initials were a bad idea.”
Rowling then went into detail about the writing process for the novel, which is London-set detective story about a veteran PI who investigates the suspicious suicide of a young starlet. The author spoke with former military police and did extensive research on below-knee amputation, since her hero, Cormoran Strike, lost his leg in the war.
A handful of signed copies of “The Cuckoo’s Calling” appeared on eBay shortly after Rowling was outed. (One is currently going for $2,251.25 with 48 bids.) The author confirmed that she had signed copies as Galbraith, but she could not speak to the authenticity of the eBay items. “I was asked by the publisher to sign a few copies of ’The Cuckoo’s Calling’ as Robert Galbraith that were made available for sale around publication,” she wrote. “While we can’t verify whether any particular book currently on eBay etc is genuine, any future books I sign in this way will be authenticated. My Robert Galbraith signature is distinctive and consistent; I spent a whole weekend practising it to make sure.”
The early consensus after a mysterious tweet revealed Rowling as Galbraith was that the leak was orchestrated by her publisher to increase sales, a claim she takes two issues with, as “Cuckoo’s Calling” sales figures “compare favourably with J.K. Rowling’s success over the equivalent period of her career!”
“If anyone had seen the labyrinthine plans I laid to conceal my identity (or indeed my expression when I realised that the game was up!) they would realise how little I wanted to be discovered,” she wrote. “This was not a leak or marketing ploy by me, my publisher or agent, both of whom have been completely supportive of my desire to fly under the radar. If sales were what mattered to me most, I would have written under my own name from the start, and with the greatest fanfare.”
Rowling also confirmed that she has finished the next Robert Galbraith novel and that it will hit shelves next year.