February 25, 2014

JK Rowling’s publisher denies plans for a seven-part crime series


JK Rowling

JK Rowling

When JK Rowling was revealed to be the author of The Cuckoo’s Calling, using the pseudonym Robert Galbraith, it caused quite a controversy, with no shortage of scholarly debate on the subject — not to mention a huge boost in sales for the crime novel, which had been floundering before people knew that it was by the bestselling author of the Harry Potter series.

Now that the “secret” is out, it’s not surprising that Rowling is eager to extend the success of her Cormoran Strike character; to that end, the Sunday Times reported over the weekend that the author had plans for seven-book series featuring the private detective. Seven is, after all, not just a lucky number in general, but specifically for Rowling, who wrote seven Harry Potter books (although in that case, she was simply adhering to the rigid structure of following each year it takes to complete wizarding school).

It makes for a fun story, to think of Rowling as quirky enough that she can only write in sevens, but according to her publisher, Little, Brown, no such plan exists. There is a second Strike novel coming out this June, called The Silkworm, but Sarah Shaffi writes for The Bookseller that a spokesperson for the publisher said of the Sunday Times report, “Richard Brooks has written this without foundation and there aren’t seven books planned in the series.”

The Times also reported that Rowling has been writing a third book for the series (though it doesn’t seem like that’s been disputed), and that the television network ITV has been in talks with Rowling’s team about adapting the series for TV. The Blair Partnership (which manages the TV and film rights for the Strike books), though, has countered that it “has received a number of notes of interest in the film/TV rights for the Galbraith novels, but it is early days, and nothing has been confirmed yet.”

It seems that the Sunday Times jumped the gun with its report, but if the Rowling/Galbraith books keep selling like the first one, and the author decides she wants to write seven…there will probably be seven.



Nick Davies is a publicist at Melville House.