Interview: Valerie Estelle Frankel – The Harry Potter Fandom

Written By: Kellie - Sep• 27•12

Valerie Estelle FrankelToday is the big day! Everyone’s favorite wizard writer releases her first adult book, and it has NOTHING to do with Harry Potter. I’m a little nervous, but definitely excited. So, for the big day I’ve got something a little special planned. I got the opportunity to ask author Valerie Estelle Frankel some questions about her book Harry Potter, Still Recruiting: A Look at the Harry Potter Fandom so we can all take a minute to remember what we love about Harry Potter before diving into the next Rowling adventure.

ReaWrite: Hi Valerie, thank you so much for joining us at ReaWrite to celebrate J.K. Rowling’s first non-Potter release, The Casual Vacancy. First off can you tell us a little about who you are and what you write?

Valerie: Sure! I’m the author of a series of parodies, from Henry Potty and the Pet Rock (book one) to Henry Potty and the Deathly Paper Shortage (book seven)…Of course, I never really bothered to write books 2 through 6. Following that, I wrote several nonfiction books on the heroine’s journey. My latest releases are Katniss the Cattail, a book on naming in The Hunger Games, and Harry Potter, Still Recruiting: An Inner Guide to Harry Potter Fandom. Teaching with Harry Potter and a second book on The Hunger Games are coming in 2013.

ReaWrite: Harry Potter, Still Recruiting: An Inner Look at Harry Potter Fandom, features a lot of essays on a wide variety of topics, I had no idea how vast the fandom was. What was the most surprising thing you learned while researching this book?

Valerie: How much thought goes into translating it into foreign languages. I mean, how would you translate butterbeer? Or Tom Riddle, who has to unscramble properly? It’s a huge job. I was also delighted by all the different projects people have—a crafter might also host a fansite and design costumes, or make butterbeer and teach potions. Potter fandom is such an involved, active world.

ReaWrite: Besides your parody books, have you taken part in any fandom activities?

Valerie: Certainly! I’ve spoken at a Potter conference or two each year since 2007, where I generally sell books at the craft fairs, read fanfiction, and speak on topics from mythology in the series to the feminine symbolism of Horcruxes. (Both are on my site at incidentally). I’m indistinguishable from all the other fans and speakers…except for my outfits. Instead of being another Luna or Bellatrix, I’m known as flying-pig-hat girl and the witch with the five-foot hat. At Ascendio, we got the theme park to ourselves after hours. I took hundreds of photos, danced, and drank way too much butterbeer. Such fun!

ReaWrite: For readers missing Harry, how would you recommended keeping the magic alive?

Valerie: Join a fan group on…or start one if there isn’t one around. Attend a wizard wrock concert. Throw a Yule Ball or start a book group. Hang out on the chatrooms…I’m sure they’ll be busy with the new book out. Visit the theme park or wait anxiously for the one coming in California. Play on Pottermore. Read the best fanfic,

like Methods of Rationality. Or wouldn’t you love a delightful Harry Potter parody?

ReaWrite: Haha, of course! What are your thoughts on Pottermore?

Valerie: Like the movies, computer games, or anything else, it’s a new way of experiencing the  story, which adds some extra insight. To say nothing of pretty pictures, interactivity, and bits of delightful backstory. It’s no substitute for reading the books (hey, neither is any movie) but as I’ve found while teaching, it’s an easy version for struggling young readers who want to get in on the phenomenon. Conflicting opinions on Pottermore are available in the numerous essays in my book.

ReaWrite: How would you guess the future of the Harry Potter fandom unfolds from here?

Valerie: Oh, it’s not over. More Pottermore chapters are being released, there’s a new theme park and one on the way. The Studio Tour in London shows off all the movie props. With all these, you can go to Hogwarts in ways never seen in any book series. Add to that new wizard wrock, hundreds of Quidditch teams, fifty top colleges with Harry Potter classes, new fanfic and art based on the epilogue, and new nonfiction too, and you can see it’s bigger than ever. The Harry Potter Bibliography can point you toward the latter.

ReaWrite: Finally, will you be reading The Casual Vacancy?

Valerie: Try and stop me.

You can visit Valerie at her website and learn more about many of your favorite fandoms, and of course if you want to learn more about the Harry Potter fandom, then pick up Harry Potter, Still Recruiting: An inner look at the Harry Potter Fandom.

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One Comment

  1. Sapphire Jewelries says:

    no more pottery

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