J.K. Rowling Talks The Casual Vacancy, Harry Potter's Role in Cheering Her Up

Posted on September 27, 2012

J.K. Rowling talked to Nightline co-anchor Cynthia McFadden about her new novel, The Casual Vacancy. Rowling says the novel is a "comic tragedy." She says she spent "on and off for five years" writing the book. Rihanna's hit single "Umbrella" plays a role in the book. Rowling says the song is "just perfect" for the book because of the rap by Jay Z, which describes a person who is "shockproof." A girl in The Casual Vacancy uses the words, but she does not understand them.

Rowling says, "There's this rap that Jay Z does at the beginning of the song and it's actually a very celebratory rap. It's saying, 'I'm shockproof ...I'm famous, I have money, let the Dow Jones fall, I'm OK,' and it's said in the book by a girl who doesn't really understand the words and who is not OK. It's very poignant to me that this girl doesn't understand."

J.K. says she had issues with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) as a teen. An adult character in the book also struggles with the disorder. She says she hasn't been depressed in a decade and credits the Harry Potter series with helping with that. She says, "Harry Potter gave me back self-respect. Harry gave me a job to do that I loved more than anything else. So forget the money, let's just say it had made just enough to justify continuing to write, it would of still cheered me up a huge amount." Take a look: