NEW YORK -- Just the mention of her name, J.K. Rowling, had the audience screaming and on its feet.
The "Harry Potter" author spoke for just over an hour before a capacity crowd Tuesday night at Manhattan’s Lincoln Center in her sole U.S. public appearance to promote her first novel for grown ups, "The Casual Vacancy."
Dressed in a dark skirt and dark sweater blouse, Rowling chatted on stage with fellow author Ann Patchett, read briefly from her new book and also responded to pre-selected questions from fans. Rowling spoke before some 2,500 people, mostly women, gathered under the high, golden ceiling of the David H. Koch Auditorium.
Patchett gushed like the most avid Potter fan as she praised Rowling for inspiring countless readers and told Rowling how much she loved "The Casual Vacancy," which has received mixed reviews.
Rowling said she felt a special connection to adolescents because of their "vulnerability" and how they come to comprehend there is "evil in the world." Stories, she said, can help them explore their feelings. She also discussed the difficulty of structuring a book and how attached she becomes to her characters.
Rowling reaffirmed that she is at work on a new book for young people. No new Potter is planned, but Rowling still has her celebrated imaginary world in mind.