Lots of updates to jkrowling.com today that explain a bit more about last week's rather concise announcement.
First, in the FAQ, two big "d'ya really think I'm going to answer that" responses to the questions (1) "Please will you tell us what were the other two titles you considered?" and (2) "What does 'Deathly Hallows' mean?" I'll give questioner 1 some credit for trying to sneak out some information, but questioner 2 not-so-much--there's no way that was getting answered.
Second, quashing speculation that she was rushed to finish the book, JKR says,
"This could not be further from the truth! The 21st July publication date has given me enough time to write the book I wanted to write, and for the manuscript to be properly edited. These are the most important things to me. An earlier date - eg, 7/7/07 - would have meant that either the writing or editing was rushed, and neither my publishers nor I wanted that. Any brevity in my announcement was down to the fact that I was busy editing!"
Personally, I never even imagined that she was rushed. It seems like that would be one of the perks of being J.K. Rowling--the leverage to be able to tell people to chill out and they'll get the book when they get it. But for anyone who may have thought otherwise, there's your answer.
Third (and last, and BEST) some of Jo's thoughts on finishing the book.
"Charles Dickens put it better than I ever could:
'It would concern the reader little, perhaps, to know how sorrowfully the pen is laid down at the close of a two-years' imaginative task; or how an Author feels as if he were dismissing some portion of himself into the shadowy world, when a crowd of the creatures of his brain are going from him for ever.'
To which I can only sigh, try seventeen years, Charles...
I always knew that Harry's story would end with the seventh book, but saying goodbye has been just as hard as I always knew it would be. Even while I'm mourning, though, I feel an incredible sense of achievement. I can hardly believe that I've finally written the ending I've been planning for so many years. I've never felt such a mixture of extreme emotions in my life, never dreamed I could feel simultaneously heartbroken and euphoric.
Some of you have expressed a (much more muted!) mixture of happiness and sadness at the prospect of the last book being published, and that has meant more than I can tell you. If it comes as any consolation, I think that there will be plenty to continue arguing and speculating about, even after 'Deathly Hallows' comes out. So if you're not yet ready to quit the message boards, do not despair...
I'm almost scared to admit this, but one thing has stopped me collapsing in a puddle of misery on the floor. While each of the previous Potter books has strong claims on my affections, 'Deathly Hallows' is my favourite, and that is the most wonderful way to finish the series."
I think this is what people have been waiting and wanting to hear. I can't even imagine what it must be like to finish such a life-spanning task. She's been writing these books since I was 9! (And I want think more about her comment that this is her favorite, so I'll post on that separately later.)
It's so weird to know that it's all been decided--who lives, who dies, nothing will change it now--but we don't get to know what decisions have been made for another 6 months still. For all we know Harry is already dead...or not (hopefully not). Isn't the anticipation delicious?