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  JK interview Part 4 - questions and queries
Updated 23 October 2002, 15.02

There are lots of Latin names in the book and Roman names like Severus Snape - did you do Latin at school and enjoy it?
No I didn't do Latin at school, I did classics at university.

What was the original working title of Chamber of Secrets?
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. I quite liked that title, unfortunately the story bore no relation whatsoever to the title by the time I'd finished.

And if you were offered a post as a teacher at Hogwarts what subject would you most like to teach?
Oh I think definitely Charms - I see that as the most imaginative bit of magic because you're adding properties to an object.

You wouldn't fancy Defence against the Dark Arts?
No I'm too much of a coward. I'd have to be really in a corner before I come out fighting but then I don't generally.

People say that Firenze was based on a friend of yours - the centaur - but we've hardly seen anything of Firenze.
Well just keep your eyes open.

Does that mean? The centaur's prophecy at the end of Philosopher's Stone ...
He'll come back. Well enough said, not everyone's read book four.

And Gilderoy Lockhart, one of my favourite characters...
Gilderoy's left in, he's still in Saint Mungo's Hospital for Magical Ailments and Injuries because his memory's just gone but I'm making no promises about Gilderoy.

Was he good fun to write because he's the opposite of everything he wants to be?
I loved writing Gilderoy but I've got Rita now, you see I love writing Rita in the same way that I loved writing Gilderoy.

What advice would you give to young writers? That's from Holly Hewitt.
I would say firstly and most importantly read as much as you possibly can, you don't have to read Harry Potter books, I'm not trying to flog it but only by reading will you get a really good idea of what, in your opinion, makes good writing.

You'll learn to recognise what doesn't work and you'll expand your vocabulary - always useful. After you've done that write about things you know - your own feelings and experiences - which is always a good starting point.

Resign yourself to the fact that you will not write something good first time, you're going to waste a lot of trees before you hit your stride and you will imitate people you admire first and that's fine - everyone has to start somewhere. And most importantly persevere - keep persevering.

If you had an invisibility cloak what would you use it for?
What would I use it for? I don't think I can say it - it's a secret.

Does the whole merchandising, that's about to kick in, worry you slightly - are we actually going to see Gilderoy Lockhart haircare products?
I think that would be quite funny actually. Does it worry me? Yes it does, in all honestly yes it does worry me. It's going to happen because that's what happens with films - there will be merchandising. I have seen early examples of the film stuff they're doing, I have no objection to it at all. But yes it does make me jumpy, yes it does.

I see those hormones kick in in this book, are we going to see Harry becoming even more like Kevin the teenager, are we going to see him going - Oh Sirius I hate you, I wish you were back in Azkaban?
I think Ron's more like that isn't he - Ron's more Kevinish. Harry's got so many worries, he needs his friends, he can't afford to alienate them. He's more your sensitive hero isn't he. Yeah more of that stuff happens.

Are there any special wizarding powers in your world that depend on the wizard using their eyes to do something?
Why do you want to know this?

Well because everyone always go on about how Harry's got Lily Potter's eyes.
Aren't you smart - there is something, maybe coming about that, I'm going to say no more - very clever.

The significance of the place where Harry and his parents lived - the first name...
Godric Gryffindor. Very good, you're a bit good you are aren't you. I'm impressed.

You're not going to tell me but ....
My editor didn't, I said to her - Haven't you noticed the connection between where Harry's parents lived and one of the Hogwarts houses? And she said no, no - I'm not being rude about Emma, she's a brilliant editor, the best ever. But no she didn't pick that up either, you're a bit good you are.

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