The famously shy Harry Potter author had to ask for a glass of water to regain her composure when asked to describe what her seven-book series meant to her.
“I really don’t want to cry because I’m British. It means setting aside my children and everything,” she said.
“These characters meant so much to me – and continue to mean so much to me – over such a long period of time. It’s very difficult for someone who is not a writer to understand. The closest I can come is to say to someone: ‘How do you feel about your child?’
“These books, they saved me – not just in a material way, though they did do that,” she said. “I would have to say there were times when they saved my sanity.”
Rowling set aside her latest writing project and flew across the Atlantic to battle the planned release of a 400-page “The Harry Potter Lexicon,” an A-Z guide derived from a fan web-site.
She said the book would interfere with her plan to publish her own Harry Potter encyclopaedia and donate the proceeds to charity, as she has already done with her two smaller guides – “Quidditch Through the Ages” and “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”.
Rowling had withering words for Steve Vander Ark, the librarian who set up the www.hp-lexicon.com web-site as a hobby in 1999 and assembled the projected Lexicon book after reading the Harry Potter series almost 50 times. “I do feel a degree of betrayal,” she said.
Comparing almost identical passages of Mr Vander Ark’s Lexicon with her own work, she denounced his “constant pilfering” and “utter laziness”.
“I believe this book constitutes wholesale theft of 17 years of my hard work,” she said. “If adds little if anything by way of commentary; that the quality of that commentary is derisory; and it debases what I worked so hard to create.”