J.K. Rowling published a crime novel in April, but the general public had no idea. The Cuckoo’s Calling made a quiet appearance on shelves in spring; it was penned by newcomer Robert Galbraith. As it turns out, Galbraith was just Rowling’s pen name. Clever girl.
Rowling had hoped to keep the secret a little longer, but The Sunday Times investigated the first-time author Galbraith because his debut novel was so solid. Two linguistics researchers compared the crime novel with Rowling’s other books and found similarities. It’s not a stretch to imagine Rowling wanted to publish a book without the crazy expectations that will come with anything she writes post-Harry Potter. She told the Times:
I had hoped to keep this secret a little longer because being Robert Galbraith has been such a liberating experience. It has been wonderful to publish without hype or expectation and pure pleasure to get feedback under a different name.
The Cuckoo’s Calling has received positive reviews from critics, and I imagine it has to be satisfying to gain that praise without her very recognizable name attached. It makes you wonder whether Rowling will use more pen names in the future.