The Snake's Quill Interview with Steve Vander Ark

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Interviews by Fans
Title: The Snake's Quill Interview with Steve Vander Ark
Interviewee: Steve Vander Ark
Date(s): January 2007
Medium: online
Fandom(s): Harry Potter
External Links: interview is here; reference link
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

In 2007, Steve Vander Ark was interviewed for The Snake's Quill, a newsletter for Sectus (Harry Potter symposium).

A similar interview is The Snake's Quill Interview with Lizardspots.

Some Excerpts

I’m a librarian, and we librarians talk about new books all the time. When Harry Potter first came out, some of my colleagues told me I should read it because they knew I’d like it. At the same time another book came out called Harvey Potter’s Balloon Farm. It was a pic- ture book, very well done and interesting, and imaginative, but nothing all that great. But I told everyone that I’d read this Harry Potter book, and it was fine. Then I realized what they were talking about, and read Sorcerer’s Stone (not knowing, of course, that it was really supposed to be called Phi- losopher’s Stone). And as you might imag- ine, I absolutely loved the book. Read it through, turned around and read it again.

There have been two new books since the Lexicon went online, and each one was different. When OP came out, the Lexicon was still run only by me. I wrote everything. And that was right before Nimbus 2003, so I had the book with me on the trip back from Orlando. I was over- whelmed, but I kept getting these very helpful emails from someone who wrote all the content up so nicely ... I finally in- vited her to come on board as an editor. That’s when Michele first started working for the Lexicon, and she really saved me. She works fast and efficiently and really managed things so well. I remember sitting in a hotel in Kentucky and shaking my head and wondering how I was going to get all the new in- formation entered. I was taking notes as fast as I could, but I was getting constant emails from people complaining that things weren’t updated yet. And I was still taking notes! Michele got the basic infor- mation entered, so the big stuff was included within a month or two. We spent the next two years filling in the littler stuff and updating pages. We weren’t done when HBP came out, actually.

But after Michele came on board, the Lexicon joined the Floo Network and we did a major reorganization of the site. And I took a number of additional editors on board and got someone to handle email etc, so when HBP came out, we were ready. We’d planned our strategy carefully, who was going to cover what etc. We all read the book through once without tak- ing notes, just for the pleasure of it. Then we started taking notes and adding things.
Well, I’ll let you in on a secret ... the Lexicon you see now, isn’t what the Lexicon will be like in a year or two. So we have a lot of things to do, and it will be a LONG time before we’re done. Will there be more information to enter? For a while yet, yes. But then there are other ... things. If you take a look at the new timeline, you’ll get some idea of what’s possible. It used to be a static web page ... now you can essentially create the timeline you want. Eventually, the entire Lexicon will be that customizable. And there are things in the works that will astound you. Yes. We’re inventing a new type of literature website, essentially, and fans will have a ball with it. You can’t even imag- ine.
[regarding his Open Letter to JKR -- An Open Letter to J.K. Rowling from Mugglenet and The Harry Potter Lexicon]: My biggest frustration is a personal one. Other than that, no, I’m just glad there are still questions to ask and mysteries to solve.... : I know that Warner Brothers used my day-by-day calendars to create the timeline on the DVDs. It bothers me that they wouldn’t at least credit the Lexicon. If they’re going to use the Lexicon, as I know they do, then I wish they’d say so. Now they have said that they use the Lexicon for reference, as have Scholastic, Bloomsbury, and even Jo. That’s great, I love it. But to basically copy the calendar ... a mention would have been nice. But even so, I’m really just delighted that so many people find the Lexicon useful. [1]’s been amazing to be able to do the things I’ve been able to do, and it’s been so rewarding to be able to talk to fans and touch their hearts and make them laugh ... Harry Potter fans are really quite an amazing group of people. I am so honoured to be part of such a fan- tastic group.... If they would tell me all the things they do—the fiction they write, the cor- respondence, the way they support each other, the way they make people happy ... they’re way more awesome than me. I would be humbled to hear it all. And again, I am so honoured to be part of the group that includes all of us. Have you seen some of the creativity of these folks? Read some of the fiction? Seen some of the artwork? It’s beyond astounding. And if you get to know some of these people ... people like Kye ... what a great guy [[[Sectus]] Assistant to Chair]. And Elanor [Sectus Chair], who is amazing. Because of Potter, I get to know these people. Now THAT’S awesome.


  1. ^ See An Open Letter to J.K. Rowling from Mugglenet and The Harry Potter Lexicon