This writer just finished reading The Cuckoo’s Calling, and now what’s on my mind is: “What’s J.K. Rowling’s next new book?”
To get to that answer, let’s examine where she’s been and what she’s hinted at.
Rowling’s career so far
Following the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in 2007, Rowling deserved a break from writing for as long as she wanted. The author had come off a whirlwind 10 years penning the Potter series. Following Deathly Hallows, she had – for the first time in a long time – the freedom to do whatever she pleased without a publisher breathing down her back.
Her first book after Harry took five years. The Casual Vacancy was published in September 2012 and looked at small town politics following the death of parish council member Barry Fairbrother. Though it had mixed reviews, it’s fair to say that many people enjoyed her first post-Potter writing.
Along the way to The Casual Vacancy, she conceived and launched Pottermore, a gift to Harry Potter fans and a way for the author to unveil material about the books she had never before shared. While fans enjoyed it, its popularity has waned due to the lack of reasons for users to regularly return to it.
Rowling’s next big reveal was one we hadn’t seen coming. In fact, we missed it completely. Under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith, Rowling published The Cuckoo’s Calling in April 2013. The book had only 8,500 copies across all platforms until someone who learned of Rowling’s secret revealed it to a British journalist, thus setting off an investigation into whether or the book was really written by Rowling. The author confirmed the news in mid-July.
We know of one thing for sure: A second book by “Robert Galbraith” will be published next year. In a FAQ section on Galbraith’s website, Rowling says that she recently finished a second book in the Cormoran Strike series and expects it to be released in 2014. This’ll come as good news to those who enjoyed The Cuckoo’s Calling.
But what about a book with Rowling’s name on the cover? Her next move is uncertain, but since the second Cormoran Strike book is already finished, we expect Rowling is already at work on her next book.
Over the past five years, Rowling has said on numerous occasions that she plans to continue writing for children, and that one of her future books is a children’s “political fairytale.” This idea has been in development since at least 2007, which means the book could arrive at any time.
The elephant in the room
Harry Potter fans want an encyclopedia. Simple as that.
Rowling may very well be working on one and has said over the years that it’s a possibility, but it came closest to fruition just last year.
After redesigning her website in April 2012, for a brief period of time Rowling actually confirmed she was working on the Harry Potter encyclopedia. “For a long time I have been promising an encyclopaedia of Harry’s world, and I have started work on this now,” she wrote. “Some of it forms the new content in Pottermore. It is likely to be a time-consuming job, but when finished I shall donate all royalties to charity.”
Once fans caught sight of this information, it made the press rounds. Then, the blurb on her site was mysteriously changed to read: “I have been enjoying sharing information about Harry’s world on Pottermore for free, and don’t have any firm plans to publish it in book form.”
Why the change in comments? One theory is that Sony and other Pottermore partners didn’t want fans to lose focus on Pottermore being the sole place for new information, so they asked Rowling to change what was written on the site. We fear that Pottermore may continue to delay the Encyclopedia, because they’ll want to finish releasing all of the chapters on the site before an all-encompasing book gets published.
Rowling seems to be back in the saddle in terms of regular book releases. We can forsee a new release for the author on a yearly basis (every two years max), and while we don’t expect her to return to Harry Potter soon (we’ve come to accept Harry Potter Book #8 will never happen), we would love to see a new fantasy young adult series out of the author.