Spartz, Emerson. "Emerson's Scotland Report: Part Two," Mugglenet, 20 July 2005

I turned the last page at 1pm - 12 hours after I first laid eyes on the precioussss. I didn't read straight through - took frequent breaks to stay awake (and sane), but I still think I read half the lines in the book twice due to lack of focus.

I was expecting Harry to be more powerful of a wizard by now, but overall Half-Blood Prince was a big improvement over Order of the Phoenix and probably her best yet, but I have evolved too much as Harry Potter fan to objectively say it was or it wasn't. Harry/Hermione shippers can expect me to be even more arrogant and cocky thanks to my recent vindication (see interview or just the last four books). "...Anvil-sized hints..."

The two hours before the interview were spent frantically thinking up last minute questions and arguing over what shirt I should wear (commence eye-rolling).

The phone rang. The car was here for us.


Jo's PA (Personal Assistant) Fiddy gave us a tour of her office while we nervously waited for the queen herself. The room is covered - and I mean covered - in Harry Potter paraphernalia from the books, movies and video games. She even has copies of every book in every language.

Jo walked in five minutes later, followed by Neil and little Mackenzie, the cutest little chub you've ever seen. We hugged and I was caught momentarily speechless, which, I assure you, is very unlike me. We gave her the gifts we'd brought for her - shirts, Dunkin' Donuts coffee, keys to cities, etc. - and she said she had gifts for us, but didn't want us to open them until she'd left in case we didn't like them (as if!).

We discussed non-HP things for a few minutes before we got down to business. Melissa and I were happy to hear she's a huge West Wing fan, because we can't get enough of that show either. She kept asking us questions about our sites and we were happy to answer, but we needed to get the interview going because we only were supposed to have an hour with her and, well, she's the interesting one - not us!

I was very surprised at how easy it was to talk with her - she's so personable and friendly it seemed ridiculous that I had ever been nervous about meeting her. At first, I kept thinking to myself, "I can't possibly be in this room talking to this woman right now," but it only took a few minutes before I became totally engrossed in the conversation and forgot about everything else.

It didn't even feel like an interview, it was more like a chat with friends. Her sense of humor manifests itself well in the books, but she's even funnier in person. The two hours flew by in what seemed like thirty minutes. I was very disappointed when I heard Fiddy knocking on the door, letting us know our car was here. Jo immediately said, "He hasn't been waiting that long. Give us 10 more minutes." Melissa and I each had about a dozen "last questions" and Jo didn't end up leaving for about a half hour later. This is probably wishful thinking, but it seemed like she wanted to keep on going. Melissa chimed in several times, "We should do this again." And every time, Jo laughed and said "It's a possibility." We should only be so lucky!

Far too soon, it was time to say goodbye. She signed our books, we took some photos together, hugged, and just like that, she was gone. Off to raise kids and the best-selling novels of the decade.

We opened her gifts on the way back to the hotel. She gave Melissa a neat-looking ring with a snake on it ("but that doesn't mean you belong in Slytherin!" the note said). Melissa cried some more and for once, I didn't mock her. She's been wearing it since.

Her gift to me was a beautiful silver cup with ornate handles on either side. Her handwritten letter explained that it was a "Quaich", a word she assures me she didn't make up but is actually Gaelic and means "friendship cup". My breath caught in my mouth when I saw that it was engraved.

"To Emerson, with love from J.K. Rowling"

What an incredibly thoughtful woman.

Back at the hotel, our Potter posse was waiting to hear everything. We talked HP for a few hours - everyone was dying to talk about the book and the interview - and went out for a celebratory dinner at a famous Edinburgh restaurant/pub.

I love my life.