Harry Potter alum Evanna Lynch is taking her talents from the stage to the page.
The 30-year-old actress will publish her first book this week, a memoir titled The Opposite of Butterfly Hunting: The Tragedy and The Glory of Growing Up. Lynch spoke exclusively to E! News about her experience writing such a personal piece, her perspective on recovery and healing after trauma and, of course, her days as the legendary Luna Lovegood.
"I really wanted to write this book for years," says Lynch of her literary debut, "just because I've been talking about these topics, these themes of parts of my life for a long time, but not really getting my message across, not really getting the complexity and nuance of the story across."
The memoir tells a complex coming-of-age story, and one Lynch says she recently sent both Emma Watson and J.K. Rowling a copy of. She also keeps in touch with Katie Leung from their Hogwarts days (Leung played Luna's fellow Ravenclaw, Cho Chang).
Though Lynch didn't tell Rowling she was planning to join the ranks of published author-dom, she did learn throughout the writing process that being an author really does come down to the old cliché: nobody has your voice but you.
"You could spend hours trying to perfect and trying to sound really clever and funny in the way another writer writes. And I realized what's in me is going to come out through writing," she says. "I've found that if you just sit down, show up, create space, maybe block off two hours, and if you just write, something will come out. And your writing is just a reflection of the work you've done on yourself and who you are."
She says her book aims to answer all the questions she gets asked in a way that she hopes meaningfully contributes to the conversation surrounding both physical and mental health, as someone who has long been open about battling anorexia during her adolescence.
"You want to be honest, you know?" she explains. "I don't want to just say, ‘Everything's cool now, happier, I've fixed all these weird issues.' So, I had to find a way that I could be honest about where I'm at, but be positive and leave people with a warm, inspired feeling."
That's why the ending of The Opposite of Butterfly Hunting gave Lynch the most trouble. How do you write the ending of a story that hasn't actually ended? She's only 30 years old, after all.
"For so long, I was like, ‘I don't know if I'll ever have done enough feeling to be able to write the end of my story,' and I hope I kind of conveyed that in the book—that the healing journey, the recovery journey, is nonlinear," she says, adding that she tries to find her self worth from within now.
"I don't have an eating disorder at all anymore," she continues. "It's been years of eating like a normal, healthy person and having balanced habits. And it's different—somebody asked me recently, ‘Oh, is it similar to alcoholism, where you're always going to have to avoid it?' And it's like, well, no, because you have to eat, you have to do it."
Lynch explains, "And you have to learn how to do it in a functional way. So, I do believe you can properly recover and move on. But I think the healing process continues."
Ultimately, Lynch says "a big part" of why she wanted to write her memoir is to re-introduce herself beyond her onscreen persona as Luna Lovegood.
"I kind of have a sense that nobody really knows who I am," she shares. "People sort of think, ‘Oh, you are this sweet, airy, fairy person.' And that's a lovely perception, but it's not really real. It's not. So, it's almost like I haven't been able to have true connections with people, with even the people who follow me online."
The actress adds, "Now who I am in real life is showing up on the page, that's what I want. I want to be honest with people."
Lynch channels her inextinguishable creative spirit not only into her acting, but also into her other passions of dancing and moving her body, which she says is a huge part of her mental health practice. Much like she did with Luna Lovegood in the Potter films, Lynch still connects most with creative, wild roles, noting that "a lot of times creative women are mistaken for being mad, just because we have this fire and this sensitivity."
And, of course, Lynch still recalls her days on the Harry Potter set with a humble reverence. "I do think of, every single day, these brave, hopeful souls showing up and putting all their heart and all their energy into creating this world, and how amazing the result was," she remembers. "It does create this seamless, magical world where kids and adults look at it and believe in it, but it all came from their imaginations."
That perspective also seems to have affected her memoir writing process: "And I always come back to that, I'm always struck by that, the power of the imagination, the fact that you can visualize something in your little study at home and in the quiet with your own mind, and you can put it out into the world and it can create things. That, to me, is real-life magic."
The Opposite of Butterfly Hunting: The Tragedy and The Glory of Growing Up is out Oct. 19.