There will be a day when I manage to offer free print copies of the books. That day has not yet arrived, though, so instead how about a free ebook of No Evil? You might even trouble yourself to read the first couple as well while you're at it. It's only seven or eight years' worth of writing effort for the princely sum of about £2. I won't be giving up the day job just yet.
I will, however, offer the following observations having re-read the later part of the Harry Potter series. I have possibly suggested that some of the writing in those books is somehow inadequate, clunky or inelegant. There are a few places where that might be a legitimate criticism, but you have to be looking for it to notice. What I think is quite interesting is exactly how invested you feel in a few of the characters and their relationships as you read towards the end. They're more subtle than some of the caricaturing of either the early books or the films, with a bit more depth and personality. But it's their stories that matter, and there is a very real sense of attachment that isn't just due to familiarity.
I'm more susceptible than I used to be when it comes to emotional engagement in books or films or TV, more likely to weep at a death or a moment of kindness. That is certainly true. One of my work colleagues described me relatively recently as so human, which I think she meant as a compliment, but she was definitely describing this aspect of me, my emotional investment in things and my inability or my refusal to detach myself. It makes writing harder, because I do feel like I'm inflicting the suffering on my characters, but it also means that their triumphs, their smiles, their laughs and their loves matter that much more to me. I might be accused of being too sentimental, or too romantic (in the Dumas / Walter Scott sense), even. I don't think that's a bad thing. What would be the point of writing about these characters if they didn't matter? That's the sentiment of the quotations about reading: I prefer reading to life precisely because reading lets the characters matter. You can experience their entire lives, loves and adventures in a few short hours. Real life can be - it is - desperately sad, frustrating, wonderful, exciting and heartbreaking. But it's very rarely all of those things in a few hours.
When to the sessions of sweet silent thought