J.K. Rowling Once Suspected the BBC Outed Her as Robert Galbraith

It is well known that J.K. Rowling took on the pen name Robert Galbraith to publish the Cormoran Strike series and that this secret was later leaked, but Rowling has revealed that at one point, the BBC was on her list of suspects!

The BBC approached Galbraith and his team about potentially developing a TV series based on The Cuckoo’s Calling. As delighted as Rowling was to receive this interest, she was conflicted as to how to protect Galbraith’s true identity without tipping the BBC off that there was something to hide.

The BBC actually approached Robert [Galbraith] without knowing it was me, which put me in a real quandary. I had this bizarre meeting with my agent and editor and I said to them, ‘What do we do? This is an amazing thing that they’ve contacted us to try and adapt it for TV, but I obviously can’t take this meeting!’

Rowling had only published The Cuckoo’s Calling at the time of the leak but had hoped to have published at least three books before she was unmasked. At it was, the secret was known by only a few, so it was a shock when it became public knowledge.

I was a bit unlucky the way it happened. When it leaked initially, for about four horrible days, actually, we didn’t know how it had leaked because so few people knew the secret and I thought someone at the BBC has put two and two together here. Same publisher, same agent, and this guy won’t take a meeting, c’mon.

Rowling began writing as Galbraith as a way to return to the roots of being a writer and explore her interest in crime novels without the pressure and expectation of attaching her name to a post-Potter series.

I wanted not to be me. I really did want to go back. I’d always wanted to write crime and I wanted to do it without any fanfare, so I submitted the manuscript anonymously and it was all great. I even enjoyed getting rejection letters again. It was fantastic. It was just like it used to be.

Rowling further mentioned her ambitious hopes to create ten stories for the series. With four currently published, Rowling is already working on the next couple.

I know the plot of the next one and I think I know the plot of the one after that.

Rowling is proud of the success of the Strike TV series, but she admitted that the world on-screen has affected her mind’s vision of the world inside the novels.

It’s a sort of hybrid. So I had a really clear mental image of my Cormoran Strike as it were and Tom is far more attractive than that Cormoran Strike that I was seeing and now I see a sort of weird hybrid in my head because he is so brillaint in the role that I would say he definitely is visually in my head. [That said], he’s playing the character as the character is written, so I wouldn’t say he influences the personality.

One particular aspect of Lethal White Rowling enjoyed exploring was the effect of fame. In the novel, Strike tackles his new-found fame while still trying to carry out his duties as a private investigator, a topic that Rowling found incredibly “satisfying” to discuss through him.

Rowling also revealed that she identifies most closely with Strike himself!

Lethal White is available to buy now!

Which of the characters do you think you’re most like?