There's barely anything I can say about this author who's life has been almost as magical as the protagonist she created. It's JK Rowling the creator of the wonderful Harry Potter. I'll confine my post to the author and will not even attempt to talk about her books at all. One, because there's so much been said already and two, because if I do start I wouldn't know where to stop. I'll just say that ...
- If you thought the books are just for kids, you're wrong, wrong, wrong.
- If you watched the films without reading the books and wrote them off - big mistake. The films ONLY add to the book experience. They do not substitute it at all.
- If you haven't read the books at all, you've missed being touched by magic.
She was born Joanne Rowling in a small family comprising her mum, dad and a younger sister. She called herself Jo and says, "No one called me Joannae unless they were angry." The K stands for Kathleen, her paternal grandmother's name, and was added later because the publishers felt a book written by a woman wouldn't appeal to young boys who they thought would be their primary audience. And so JK Rowling she became. She has also written books like the crime thriller, The Cuckoo's Calling under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith.
As for those publishers how wrong were they!!
Jo, Joanne, JK Rowling
The hard times
Her mum passed away early from Multiple Sclerosis and that broke her heart. Later, she got married and moved to Portugal. However when her daughter, Jessica, was just three months old her marriage ended and she moved back to Edinburg... penniless.
She moved into a rat infested tiny home that she painted herself. Friends played a very important role in her life and probably that's reflected in her novels. They loaned her money to move to a better home and also helped her furnish her house sending her as much furniture as they could spare.
She applied for a PG course that would qualify her to take up a teaching position. That, she thought, was the only way she could improve her life. She had planned on leaving Jessica in the creche for student mums. To her despair the creche had closed down. "That was one of the worst moments," says she. However, another friend came to her rescue lending her childcare fees.
She took a student loan for her course and toiled for one long hard year barely aware that success awaited her right around the corner.
The birth of Harry Potter
This is the stuff legends are made of. During a delayed train ride from Manchester to London the idea of Harry Potter was born .. fully formed including the ending of book seven. She had the whole thing in her head all the time. How's that for cool? She started writing six months before her mum passed away and regrets not having shared the book with her.
The going must have been tough as she struggled for survival. Famously, she would write in cafes while her daughter snoozed by her. "I write in cafe's because I like other people making my coffees," said she in an interview.
|Rowling recreates her 'cafe writing' for the cameras in 1999. Photo: Austral|
As she ended her teaching course she had also finished writing the first Harry Potter book - The Philosopher's Stone. It was a bit of a struggle to find a publisher. But by the time she took up a part time teaching position her novel had been accepted and the rest, as they say, is history. Within five years she turned from a penniless writer surviving on state support, to a multi-millionairess... a rages to riches story!!
Much later.. she finished her last book in a hotel room over a glass of champagne.. quite a contrast to her 'sad little apartment' days. In an interview she says, "I sat in that hotel room drinking champagne, sobbing my heart out."
|Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe), Hermionie (Emma Watson), JK Rowling and Ron (Rupert Grinch)|
"I was set free because my greatest fear had been realised, and I still had a daughter who I adored, and I had an old typewriter and a big idea. And so rock bottom became a solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life."
Rock bottom 'a solid foundation'.. positive thinking at it's best!
So tell me which is your favourite Harry Potter book. Mine would be The Goblet of Fire for it's sheer scale and the super climax and also a tiny bit because of the gorgeous Twilight hero (Robert Pattinson) who makes an appearance as Cedric Diggory in the film.
One of my favourite quotes from her ..
Tomorrow we meet an author from closer home, not quite India, but from a neighbour's neighbour. Oh and he's another gentleman. Finally, the men seem to be catching up. Guesses anyone?
This post is part of the April A to Z Challenge, 2014 for the theme AMAZING AUTHORS.
Labels: Amazing Authors, April A to Z Challenge, Books, Harry Potter, JK Rowling, reading