Mark Stewart/Camera Press/Retna
07/06/2007 AT 08:35 AM EDT
J.K. Rowling says she broke down in tears as she finished writing the final chapters of the seventh and last Harry Potter novel.
"I was in a hotel room on my own. I was sobbing my heart out," she tells the BBC's Jonathan Ross. "I downed half a bottle of champagne from the mini-bar in one and went home with mascara all over my face. That was really tough."
But Rowling, 41, felt other emotions upon completing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, due out July 21
"Finishing the book is a relief," she says. "I can feel more relaxed. I felt euphoria, devastated, when I finished one chapter near the end. I absolutely howled, it had been planned for so long."
The author also divulges her inspiration for the three main characters. Harry Potter, she says, is "totally imaginary," but Hermione Granger is a bit like her younger self ("I was quite swotty [nerdy] when I was a kid") and Ron Weasley is "a lot like my oldest friend Sean."
While Rowling has admitted that two characters die in the final book, she's mum on who they are. She does, however, address rumors that the final word in the book is "scar." "It was so for ages, and now it's not," she says. "Scar is quite near the end, but it's not the last word."