NAMES & FACES

Monday, August 20, 2007

Rowling, Still Busy Scribbling

Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling has been spotted at cafes in Scotland working on her next book, which won't be about the trials and tribulations of a boy wizard. Writer and Rowling neighbor Ian Rankin says she's trying her hand at something else -- crime fiction, according to London's Sunday Times.

"My wife spotted her writing her Edinburgh criminal detective novel," Rankin said at an Edinburgh literary festival.

"It is great that she has not abandoned writing or Edinburgh cafes," said Rankin, who has authored several police novels set in the Scottish city.

Rowling famously wrote initial drafts of the Potter story in Edinburgh's cafes, in part to save on the heating bill at home. In an interview with the Associated Press last month, Rowling said she believed she was unlikely to repeat the success of the Potter series, but confirmed her plans to work on new novels.

"I'll do exactly what I did with Harry -- I'll write what I really want to write," said Rowling.

Her seven Harry Potter books have sold more than 335 million copies worldwide, making her Britain's richest woman -- worth $1 billion, according to Forbes magazine.

Richie Hitching?

Did Joel Madden propose to Nicole Richie last week? One local radio DJ thinks so.

After the band Good Charlotte played the Clarendon Ballroom Friday night, Madden was walking offstage when Hot 99.5's DJ Kane announced to the crowd: "He got engaged yesterday. Congratulations, Joel!"

Madden quickly glanced over his shoulder but was unresponsive, making a hurried exit from the stage behind brother Benji, according to People.com.

"We heard this morning," Kane told People following the band's set. Citing "good sources," Kane said he had offered his congratulations to Madden earlier in the night. "He said, 'Thank you so much,' " the DJ recalled.

Madden, 28, and the four-months-pregnant Richie, 25, are "very excited about the baby and the wedding. They want to keep their personal life personal," he added.

Yesterday, Hot 99.5 issued a news release claiming that "DJ Kane spilled the beans" about Richie agreeing Thursday to wed Madden.


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