Why did you want to write Quidditch Through The Ages and Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them?
They are two titles that appear in the novels – Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them is a book that Harry buys to go to Hogwarts so it’s one of his school textbooks and Quidditch Through The Ages is a library title. I always write more than I need for the books so bits of them were just written for my own fun. So when Comic Relief asked me to write something I thought I would just love to write them, I just thought it would be so much fun and I was completely correct. It was more fun than I’ve had writing the others.
How did these books come about?
I got a letter from Richard Curtis who started Comic Relief saying would you consider writing us a short story? And then he cunningly said something like “I’m sure you won’t, we’ll still love your books, even if you don’t but just thought we’d ask”. Which is a very clever way of asking someone to do something. But I didn’t really need much persuasion as I have always supported Comic Relief, and I think they do fantastic work, so I wrote back and said yes but I’m not good at short stories particularly not short Harry stories I tend to ramble on, so how would it be if I wrote a couple of the titles that appear by title in the novels so that’s how it all started. And I decided to do two because just because I had two in my head and I couldn’t really decide between Fantastic Beasts and Quidditch so I thought we’ll do them both.
In the UK, almost all the money raised is going to Comic Relief (UK). Is the same thing happening in other countries, where Comic Relief is not so well known?
Yes, they will be happening in other countries. Money raised outside Britain will be going into an international fund to help children in some of the poorest countries in the world, and it’s been absolutely miraculous that everyone who would usually take a cut from the production of a book to give their services for free. So almost all the money from the books will be going into these funds.
When people buy the book, how much money will be going to charity?
Everyone who would usually take a cut from the book is giving their services for free and they’re donating what would’ve been their proceeds to Comic Relief which means booksellers, paper suppliers, publishers and my royalties, everything will be going to Comic Relief, over 80% of the cover price will be going to Comic Relief.
How much money are you hoping to raise?
As much as possible loads, millions and millions. The important thing to remember is that for every book bought it will make a difference a real difference in someone’s life, someone living in poverty. So the important thing to remember is that by buying one book, parting with your pocket money you will make a real difference to someone probably of your age living elsewhere in the world.
What do you like most about Comic Relief UK?
Lots of things I like about Comic Relief. They have a Golden Pound principle which means that every pound that’s given to them, or any money that’s given to them, will go directly to the causes involved. And it’s fun. There is something wonderful about the idea that laughter should be used to combat real tragedy and poverty and suffering and it just is the most wonderful thing.
Did the books take you a long time to write?
Not a very long time; I wrote them right after I’d finished Book 4, so compared to Book 4, which as you probably know is a very, very long book, they didn’t take long at all.
One of them has extra stuff written in it by Harry. What’s all that about?
That’s Harry and Ron graffiti-ing the book, as you do to your schoolbooks. You do doodle on them, I always wrote all over mine. Teachers reading this will not be happy that I’m saying it but you do, don’t you? So they’ve just scribbled things on them and said rude things in them, the name of their favourite Quidditch team and stuff in the book.