When J.K. Rowling was six years old, she wrote a story about a rabbit who gets measles. That introduction into story telling was when Rowling knew she wanted to become a writer. Many years and several challenges later, Rowling would become the most famous writer in the world.
Success Rising from Hard Times
Before Harry Potter and J.K. Rowling were global household names and she was the first billionaire female author, Joanne Rowling was struggling through life. Her teenage years were difficult. When she was 15, her mother was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and it took a toll on her family. Ten years later, her mother passed away. It was a devastating event. Rowling also had suicidal thoughts while she was in her twenties. She claims that going through these emotional moments, helped her create the “Harry Potter” series. Her experience with depression helped shape characters, like the Dementors, in her books.
Graduating and Becoming a Parent
After graduating from the University of Exeter in 1986, she worked for Amnesty International as a secretary, but she realized it was not the job she wanted. She went to teach English in Portugal, where she met and married Jorge Arantes. After a miscarriage in 1992, Rowling had her daughter, Jessica, in 1993. Rowling separated from her husband the same year. After her marriage failed, Rowling traveled with her daughter back to Britain, with not job and a suitcase of “Harry Potter” writings.
“Harry Potter” Introduced to the World
Rowling was a single mother living on government welfare but continued writing. She finished her first “Harry Potter” book in 1995. Twelve publishers rejected it, but Rowling did not give up. “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” was finally published by Bloomsbury in 1997. It became a big seller in the United Kingdom, and Rowling sold it to Scholastic in the United States for $100,000.
Her books flew off the shelves, Warner Bros. made movies, Universal Studios opened a Harry Potter attraction, and merchandise was developed. Rowling became a billionaire.
Rowling’s Awards and Financial Successes
J.K. Rowling became a legendary author despite her misfortunes. “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” won the Nestle Smarties Book Prize and the British Book Award for Children’s Book of the Year.
Because of her monetary success, Rowling has been able to help others. She is a champion for poor families and single parents, and she has never forgotten what it was like being on welfare while trying to take care of her child. She also founded the Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic at the University of Edinburgh.
Over 450 million copies of “Harry Potter” have been sold and the last movie earned $476 million just during opening weekend. Rowling wrote seven books for the “Harry Potter” series. “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows” became the fastest-selling book ever, selling 11 million copies on day one.
Rowling went on to work with Sony to develop Pottermore, an online resource dedicated to “Harry Potter” and the unknowns of the story.
Rowling continued her writing success with “The Casual Vacancy” selling one million copies in its first three weeks of release. The book was then adapted into a BBC TV and HBO miniseries. The “Cuckoo’s Calling”, published under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith, also received positive reviews.