Blake, Carrie. "Inspirational Women: J.K. Rowling, Author," Girl Guiding Scotland, undated. Note: the probable date for this interview is late summer of 2005.
On being Scottish...
Blake: How would you describe Scotland to someone who had never been?
JKR: It is one of the most hauntingly beautiful places in the world, the history is fascinating, the men are handsome and the whisky is delicious. But don't eat the macaroni pies.
Blake: Because of the huge fame of the Harry Potter novels - and therefore great expectations surrounding them, how do you stop that from impacting how you develop the story or characters?
JKR: I am very protective of my characters and the storyline; I stick fiercely to what I believe is right for them even if I know that it will make some fans unhappy (for instance, some of the romance in book six disappointed readers who were hoping for other pairings). However, resisting this kind of pressure is not as difficult as you might think, because I did a lot of planning in the seven years between having the idea for the Potter books and the publication of 'Philosopher's Stone', so I have a kind of map to keep me on track.
Blake: What was the best thing about being a teacher?
JKR: I remember the laughs I had with my favourite classes. One of my best memories is being presented with flowers by 4F of St. David's in Dalkeith after our last lesson together. Neither before nor since have flowers meant so much to me, and if you'd met 4F, you'd know why.
Blake: Do you think Hermione has the right skills and attributes to become a good Guide?
JKR: I can easily imagine Hermione in the Guides, given that she's resourceful, highly motivated and eager to learn. She might be a little over-competitive when it came to interest badges, though.
Blake: Which was the interest badge you were most proud of getting?
JKR: First Aid. I've never needed to make a sling since, but I'm on constant standby.
Being a woman…
Blake: What is the greatest gift your mother gave you?
JKR: She was the one who read to us when we were little, filled the house with books, loved discussing her favourite novels and never sat down without something to read, so I would have to say a love of literature. However, she also taught me how to make a decent Yorkshire pudding.
Blake: What is it about Jane Austen's writing that you admire? If you could have met her - what would you ask her?
JKR: Virginia Woolf said that of all great writers, Austen was 'the most difficult to catch in the act of greatness.' Praise of her writing rarely conveys its extraordinary quality, but I think her characters are vividly alive, she had a wonderful facility for dialogue, a dry and sometimes scathing sense of humour and she crafted seamless plots with such lightness of touch it appears effortless. And speaking as someone who loves to pull the wool over her readers' eyes, nobody has ever bettered the twist Austen managed in 'Emma' (I won't give it away in case you haven't read it). If I met her I would have to ask her how she managed to concentrate while sharing a room with her sister and mother, though I might have to point out that a toddler and Teletubbies is worse!
What's important to
Blake: What is the funniest or most ridiculous thing you have read about yourself in the press?
JKR: That I had a diva-style tantrum because the wallpaper in my hall wasn't exclusive enough. I haven't got wallpaper in my hall, it's painted. And I don't think I could muster an eye-roll over wallpaper, let alone a tantrum.
Blake: If you wrote your autobiography - what would you like its title be?
JKR: 'Tell them I'm Dead, I'm Trying to Write'. Self-explanatory, I think.
Blake: If you won a million pounds to give to a charity - which one would it be and why?
JKR: Probably Medicins sans Frontieres (Doctors without Borders), a charity that sends medical personnel into areas of extreme poverty and disease, or where natural disasters have occurred. I first heard of them when I was working for Amnesty International; they were always some of the first people on the ground whenever trouble occurred.