The Version Interview... J.K. Rowling on BBC One's Strike - The Silkworm.

Robert Galbraith’s Cormoran Strike - .The Silkworm (published by Little, Brown) is the second in the Cormoran Strike series and J.K. Rowling’s second crime novel to be adapted for BBC One.

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Tom Burke stars as Cormoran Strike, a war veteran turned private detective operating out of a tiny office in London’s Denmark Street. Though he’s wounded both physically and psychologically, Strike’s unique insight and his background as an SIB Investigator prove crucial to solving three complex cases which have eluded the police.

Holliday Grainger plays Robin, assistant to Strike. Though she begins as a temporary secretary, managing Strike’s chaotic life, she soon becomes involved with his caseload and begins to see her true potential.

The Silkworm was published to critical acclaim in 2014 and went on to be a global bestseller. This followed The Cuckoo’s Calling, which was published in 2013, and preceded Career Of Evil published in 2015. All three books were number one Sunday Times bestsellers in both hardback and paperback and Little, Brown has sold in total over four million copies worldwide across all editions.

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J.K. Rowling tells us more...

The Silkworm is set in the publishing industry which you know very well! How did you navigate that?
I’d just finished writing Silkworm before I was rumbled [it was discovered that Rowling was in fact the writer behind Robert Galbraith]. I did get to write it without any of that baggage. And yes, I do know the publishing industry very, very well. I know writers very, very well, and I really enjoyed writing The Silkworm!

Bombyx Mori is an opportunity for you to delve into a really dark fantasy world.
There are many layers in that, and in case people haven’t read the book or watched the programme, I can’t say everything I’d like to say about the book within the book, which obviously contains clues and is written by someone who is quite disturbed and vengeful. That was also interesting, it was fun.

What inspired you to use that book-within-the-book theme?
Actually, the plot for Silkworm predated the plot for Cuckoo’s Calling. I’d had the idea for that plot, the book within the book, for seven or eight years before I wrote it. That often happens with me, I have an idea and I keep it and sit on it. But I keep it and I play with it like a Rubik’s cube and there’ll come a point where everything clicks and it’s ready to be written. I have a lot of notebooks filled with these kinds of things. Silkworm was like that. I sat on that plot for a long time before using it.

Even though I had the plot for Silkworm first, the reason I didn’t use it first was I had a longer story to tell, which is the story of Strike and Robin. 

I wanted Strike's first case to make him, as it were, I wanted him to solve a very high-profile case. The Silkworm wasn’t going to achieve what I wanted to in terms of setting Strike up as someone who is much more high profile than he expected to be.

In The Silkworm he’s dealing with the murder of someone who desperately wanted to be very famous, but really wasn’t. 

  • Watch Strike - The  Silkworm, 9pm Sunday on BBC One.