J is for JK Rowling

J is for JK Rowling

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.

Jo, Joanne, JK Rowling

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!! 

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.  

Rowling recreates her ‘cafe writing’ for the cameras in 1999. Photo: Austral

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.

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!!

Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe), Hermionie (Emma Watson), JK Rowling and Ron (Rupert Grinch)

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.”

One of my favourite quotes from her ..

“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.


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.

Also linking to the Ultimate Blog Challenge.

44 Replies to “J is for JK Rowling”

  1. I am a BIG potter fan..I even contemplated naming my son Harry ..but my husband would hear none of it..:P
    He know enough of my potter tantrums . Having spend a long time in line to buy me the last and final edition of Harry Potter..:P

  2. Well written Tulika. As someone who has lived and breathed Harry Potter books from the moment I first read it, I am also in awe of her. Of course, since I like playing the devil's advocate, I have my own doubts about her having finalised the ending even before she started writing the first book. I know I am going to be shot down and probably even alienated for this, but regardless she is an amazing author and an amazing person, one whom I have had the pleasure of seeing in person during one of the premieres.

  3. Beautiful post on one of ma fav author..writing in cafe is an inspiring and this one thing that prompted me to study at Barista, years back after I read bout her..didn't know bout her name or testing times..we all have our fair of struggle. She is an inspiration. Thanks for this one.
    From an obsessed and die hard Harry Potter fan:)

  4. This woman is an inspiration and her genius legendary. How she created the whole wizarding world and all that went on is just remarkable to me. How she went from nothing to everything is even more inspiring.

    1. Ditto..I love how she's made something so impossible, completely believable.. Plugging all possible loopholes. I love the way she connects the wizzarding world with the muggle world.. How can someone not find it captivating??

  5. True,,,those who haven't read the books haven't experience the magic! Quite a takeaway from your post..esp the rock bottom ~ solid foundation quote! My fav is 'prisoners of azkaban'…love Black's character!
    Tomorrow is it Khaled Hosseini?? I love his books…

  6. Rowling has been the only author who has managed to keep me glued. I get transported to her magical land… ah, what fun!

    1. Me too.. I love the amazing clarity she brings to something totally imaginary. And to think it all came to her in one shot! Amazing.

  7. I haven't read her books, though my kids love them. Great review, don't know if I will have the patience to go through her books at this point in my life 🙂

  8. her story I feel is one of the most inspring rags to riches story of modern times. How much patience and will she must have had to keep writing even after rejections!! I loved all of them … if I have to pic a fav. it would be dealthly hallows. Although I loved the first movie the best.

    1. You tried and didn't like them???? I've actually always wanted to meet a non HP fan. So what didn't you like about the books?

  9. Yeah.. hers is truly a rags to riches story! Very awe inspiring!!
    That quote of hers is my fave too..
    BTW.. have not read HP nor watched the movies.. except for bits n pieces sometimes.. have to catch up on that 🙂

  10. Oh She is my favourite author and a big source of inspiration!! 🙂 and I'm a big fan of Harry Potter!!
    Next will be Khaled Hosseini, i guess?

  11. I Love HP and JKR is truly amazing. Thanks for sharing information about my favorite author. And K must be for Khaled Hosseini and that's another fav author of mine. You can expect me to be back tomorrow 🙂

  12. So not a Harry Potter fan I liked Rowling and Robert Gilberth more…I quite liked the cuckoo calling…but interesting insight to the birth of HP

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On my other blog: Beat About The Book

Unfinished #BookReview

Unfinished #BookReview

Priyanka, with her grit and her determination, as also her ability to stand up to all kinds of trolling and bullying, has always been inspirational. Everything about her seems to spell, ‘Say what you will, I’ll do my own thing’. To me, that’s the greatest kind of freedom anyone can ever aspire for. And that’s what prompted me to pick up her biography.