The author of the best-selling Harry Potter novels has given a wide-ranging interview to a student newspaper in which she defends her gay character Albus Dumbledore.

JK Rowling also spoke out against fundamentalist Christians in the United States who are trying to ban her work.

Speaking to Edinburgh University’s Student newspaper Rowling, whose successful series of novels have made her the richest women in Britain, defended her decision to out Dumbledore last year.

“Homophobia is a fear of people loving, more than it is of the sexual act,” she said.

“There seems to be an innate distaste for the love involved, which I find absolutely extraordinary.

“The issue is love. It’s not about sex. So that’s what I knew about Dumbledore.

“And it’s relevant only in so much as he fell in love and was made an utter fool of by love.

“He lost his moral compass completely when he fell in love and I think subsequently became very mistrusting of his own judgment in those matters so became quite asexual.

“He led a celibate and bookish life.”

Rowling explained that: “from the outset obviously I knew he had this big, hidden secret, and that he flirted with the idea of exactly what Voldemort goes on to do, he flirted with the idea of racial domination, that he was going to subjugate the Muggles. So that was Dumbledore’s big secret.”

The 42-year-old, whose seven-series saga about the boy wizard has made her an estimated £545m, sent shockwaves round the world in October when she told an audience of fans in New York that the headmaster of wizarding school Hogwarts was gay.

She revealed Dumbledore’s homosexuality at a book reading when asked by a fan if he had ever found love.

Dumbledore, played in the Harry Potter films initially by the late Richard Harris and later by Michael Gambon, is killed in the sixth book in the series.

He makes a ghostly appearance in the seventh, where it is revealed that he fell under the spell of a charismatic but evil wizard, Gellert Grindelwald.

The relvelations about Dumbledore have given evangelical Christians new reason to call for her works to be banned. The author told the Student:

“Fundamentalism is, ‘I will not open my mind to look on your side of the argument at all. I won’t read it, I won’t look at it, I’m too frightened.’

“That’s what’s dangerous about it, whether it be politically extreme, religiously extreme.

“In fact, fundamentalists across all the major religions, if you put them in a room, they’d have bags in common! They hate all the same things, it’s such an ironic thing.”