Rowling's Alter Ego Boasted Fake Military Service
'Robert Galbraith' bio claimed novel was shaped by experience with British Army
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Jul 15, 2013 9:41 AM CDT
In this Sept. 27, 2012 file photo, British author J.K. Rowling poses for photographers during a photo call to unveil her new book, entitled: 'The Casual Vacancy', at the Southbank Centre in London.   (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis, File)

(Newser) – JK Rowling embarked on quite the flight of fancy when inventing her pseudonym Robert Galbraith—and that might prove controversial. Galbraith's bio claims that he spent "several years with the Royal Military Police" and that the protagonist of his novel—one-legged Afghanistan veteran Cormoran Strike—"grew directly out of his own experiences and those of his military friends." Indeed, Rowling created a full backstory for her alter ego, who apparently eventually found himself in the RMP's plain-clothes Special Investigative Branch, before leaving for the civilian security industry.

While so far Rowling's invention appears to be flying under the radar, fake military service claims often prove contentious. In the US, it's even illegal to profit from them, thanks to the new Stolen Valor Act, which was signed into law last month to replace an earlier version struck down by the Supreme Court. Then again, Rowling probably could have profited more without the pseudonym; since the reveal, sales of The Cuckoo's Calling exploded 507,000% at Amazon, reports CNN, and it's now out of stock online at both Amazon and Barnes and Noble. (A rep for the latter told the Wall Street Journal it wasn't a big seller pre-reveal.) A new edition is coming that will acknowledge Galbraith as a pseudonym for Rowling.

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Showing 3 of 6 comments
Over the Road Steve
Jul 19, 2013 8:39 AM CDT
Made up a fake author and gave him a fake biography. Kind of clever, actually. The list of popular authors who write under pseudonyms is endless. Got an Ed McBain book in this last bunch from the library. (That dates me!) Lets them use different characters and styles.
Jul 16, 2013 10:58 AM CDT
Authors have been inventing fictional biographies for themselves for as long as fiction has been written. Anyone who gets upset about a fiction writer writing fiction needs to find more important things to worry about.
Jul 15, 2013 9:58 AM CDT
i'm more suprised by the fact that books still sell in this digital day and age...