LONDON – J.K. Rowling says her crime-writing alter ego Robert Galbraith had respectable sales and two TV adaptation offers before he was exposed as a pseudonym for the “Harry Potter” novelist, and she wishes she could have kept her identity secret a little longer.

Rowling said Wednesday that “Robert was doing rather better than we had expected him to,” selling 8,500 copies in print, audiobook and e-book formats of thriller “The Cuckoo’s Calling,” which was published in April.

The book was published to good reviews as the fiction debut of a former military man working in the civilian security industry. But a newspaper revealed earlier this month that Rowling had written the book under a pseudonym.

Since then it has topped best-seller lists, with publisher Little, Brown and Co. printing hundreds of thousands of new copies.

There was speculation that Rowling or her publisher had leaked the news to boost sales, but last week a law firm that has done work for Rowling admitted that one if its partners had let the information slip to his wife’s best friend, who tweeted it to a Sunday Times columnist.

“If anyone had seen the labyrinthine plans I laid to conceal my identity (or indeed my expression when I realized that the game was up), they would realize how little I wanted to be discovered,” Rowling wrote.

She said she took a pen name because she wanted “to work without hype or expectation and to receive totally unvarnished feedback.”

Portman going to direct a film in Jerusalem

JERUSALEM – Israeli film officials say Israeli-American actress Natalie Portman will direct her first feature film, based on an autobiographical novel by celebrated Israeli writer Amos Oz.

Yoram Honig of the Jerusalem Film Fund and a publicist for the film said Wednesday that Portman wrote the screenplay and will also star in the movie as Oz’s troubled mother.

They say Portman is to arrive in Israel in October to cast local actors. The movie will be filmed in Jerusalem in early 2014.

It’s not decided if the film will be shot in Hebrew or English.

– From news service reports


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