Hello, dear! Anything for you...1. Do you have anything planned after 'Conspiracy' is done?
Well, first of all, I think I need to take a break for a little while. I've been trying really hard to stick to a schedule of posting a new chapter of CoB every 10 days or so, which mean that I have to crank out 500-700 words per day. It's grueling and I enjoy every minute of it, but there are some other aspects of my life and career that have suffered a bit.
I do have several ideas I'd like to pursue, albeit at a more leisurely pace. One of them is a Ron/Hermione story focused on finding her parents in Australia after the war. Another is a humorous one-shot set the night before Ginny and Harry's wedding. I was thinking of asking you for some help with that one, since you know how much I love
your funny stories.2. How many more chapters do you think you'll write for the story?
Funny you should ask. Weekend before last, I actually sat down and did chapter outlines through the end of the story. If nothing changes -- and it's highly possible that something will -- CoB will end with 40 chapters, including the prologue and an epilogue. Some of the later chapters are going to be considerably shorter, however, since they cover brief, very intense scenes that just feel to me like they belong in a chapter all by themselves.3. So, Mr. Gryffindor, why are you a Gryffindor? What qualities do you have that make you a Gryffindor?
Honestly, I picked Gryffindor because I identify with Harry and Ginny more than any of the other characters. I guess you'd say I'm brave, seeing as how I decided to write a novel-length, in-canon story and subject it to review by the most fanatical, intense, well-read HP fans on the internet. 4. Do you think the Harry Potter series is sexist?
That's a really interesting question, and I see arguments on both sides of it. The strongest counter-argument would be that one of the three main characters is a girl, and a very brilliant, brave, strong-willed one at that. When you expand the circle just a bit, Harry is surrounded by a lot of strong female characters, most notably Ginny, Luna, Tonks, Molly and McGonagall.
On the flip side, Hermione sometimes does fall into more of a support role while Harry faces the actual danger, but you can say the same thing about Ron. A lot of women would look at Molly and say, "she's just a housewife," but she also killed Bellatrix Lestrange, who's a notable female presence in her own right. Ginny spends a lot of time nursing a silly, schoolgirl crush on Harry, but, come on, she's 11. That's part of the realism that makes the story so easy to relate to. McGonagall was probably the only character for whom I liked her portrayal in the movies better than in the books. Part of that is due to Maggie Smith's fantastic acting, but her character was also made a lot stronger. The scene that culminates with the duel between her and Snape is my favorite in any of the movies.
If you see the series as sexist, I guess it comes down to what you would change in order to make it less so. Would the story still work if you replaced one of the Big 3 presences
(Harry, Dumbledore and Voldemort) with a female character? For me, it could have worked just as well with a female Harry. Dumbledore and Voldemort are harder to imagine; Dumbledore because of his age and Voldemort because it's so hard for me to imagine a female character with no concept of love.
Wow. That was longer than I planned...5. Have you ever read the books to your children? Do you plan to if you haven't?
My boys are still too young to understand, I think. When they're maybe 8 or 9, I think it would be a good time to start. I don't think I'd want them to read HBP or DH until they're in their late teens, though. It's not that I'm so worried about the violence, I just don't know that they'd be able to really appreciate what it means before that age.6. Did you have any predictions for the last book that you're disappointed because they never happened?
I believed that Dumbledore would come back in some way, so I wasn't completely disappointed, but I guess I was expecting something more than the scene in King's Cross.
I was disappointed that Lupin didn't make it. To me, it felt so cruel to strip Harry of every last living connection to his parents. In the great scheme of things, though, I can understand why JKR made the choice. When Harry entered the forest to die and summoned them with the Resurrection Stone, it felt like a circle was being completed.7. Did you see the movies and were you disappointed by them (I know I was)?
I have seen at least part of all 8 movies. The first three I've obviously seen many times, since they run on TV pretty often. GoF and OoTP I have only seen bits and pieces of. My family got me the 8-disc box set for Christmas and I've finally watched HBP all the way through. DH I and II were the only ones I actually saw in a theater.
I was not a big fan of the first three movies. I thought they were campy and the portrayal of "magic" was excessive to the point of being annoying. It wasn't until GoF that the screenwriters finally seemed to get the idea that witches and wizards are just human beings who happen to have a special ability that they use in moderation
. OotP was a turning point for the series. Parts of it were still over-done, but the ending was terrific. HBP could have been great, except that the actor who played Dumbledore seemed to miss a lot of the subtlety of the character and they didn't give the Battle of the Astronomy Tower nearly enough screen time. Both DH movies were fantastic. Again, there were some things I would have done differently -- like keeping the final duel between Harry and Voldemort completely true to the book -- but other aspects of the movies -- like the aforementioned scene in the great hall with Snape and McGonagall -- were actually better than the book.8. So, writing seems to be your hobby but do you have any other hobbies (exercising, reading, driving your wife crazy, hahaha)?
Between working, spending time with the kids and writing, I don't really have a lot of time left over. When I do, my other hobbies are woodworking, cycling and genealogy.9. Did/Do you enjoy the plays of William Shakespeare?
Most of the Shakespeare I've read was back in high school, where it seemed like more of a chore than something enjoyable. I've re-read a couple of them in more recent years, and there's a lot there that's hard to appreciate when you're 17.10. Besides dear Susan, who has been your favorite character to write so far for 'Conspiracy?'
Overall, my favorite character to write is still Harry. For me, it's just so easy to get inside his head and explore. My favorite supporting character -- aside from Susan, who I adore! -- is probably Scorpius. He sits in an interesting position in the story. He's close to both Harry and Draco, so he's uniquely positioned to explore the similarities and contrasts between them. Expect to see a lot more out of him as the story draws to a close.
Thanks so much for the questions. I hope I didn't bore you to tears with the answers. Looking forward to reading more of your writing!