The Interesting History of J. K. Rowling and Her Journey to Publish Harry Potter

Failure is one of the most devastating instances that one might experience in life. Especially if you pour your whole heart into an endeavor and then life suddenly turns upside down. When this happens, it seems that everything we once wanted disappears into thin air. 

However, what most people do not realize is that failure is a stepping stone to success. Also, who you are now is the accumulation of the most significant failures, goals, love, and happiness you have experienced in life. But, although this thing is heart-wrenching, most people who failed back then, but persevere, are now notable and thriving in the career they have taken. Hence, they’re called famous failures.  These people are Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, Charlie Chaplin, and Stephen King. Among these lines of people is the renowned author who has written the magical world that kids and adults have grown to love.

So, in this article, we will delve into the interesting history of J. K. Rowling and her journey to publish one of the renowned fantasy novels, Harry Potter. 

Who is J.K. Rowling?

Joanne Rowling, globally known as J. K. Rowling, wrote the much-loved series of seven Harry Potter novels. These fantasy series were originally published between 1997 and 2007 before another three companion books have been published for charity. Moreover, the series has sold about 500 million copies, has been translated into 80 languages, plus it was made into eight successful films. 

The life that Rowling leads today is seemingly foreign from the one she had back in the 1990s that even her name was also changed. Although she’s known as J. K. Rowling, her author’s middle initial, Kathleen, is non-existent in her legal or actual name. She opted for the pen name J. K. since her publisher told her that young boys are less likely to read a novel that was written by female authors. She then used initials instead. 

K. Rowling and the Beginning of Harry Potter Journey

Over two decades ago, Rowling had introduced us to the universe full of well-known characters like witches, wizards, elves, goblins, giants, and many other fantasy creatures. In fact, even in the muggle world, Harry Potter has been one of the popular and notable characters in literature. However, as difficult as it is to imagine, this nearly perfect world was created in a time when the author had her own struggle of keeping food on the table. 

According to Rowling, the idea of creating Harry Potter comes to her while she was on a train trip going to her apartment in Clapman Junction. The concept of writing about “a boy who doesn’t know he’s a wizard and then goes to a wizarding school” makes her excited that she thought of writing about it. 

In the subsequent years to come, when Rowling was six months into writing the Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, her mother died because of multiple sclerosis. This loss had sent her into depression, regret, as well as confusion. Following that, Rowling had decided to leave the UK. She then lives in Porto after seeing an advertisement promoting teaching English in Portugal. 

Rowling’s Struggles, Rejections, and First Publication

While Rowling was teaching, she also continued her writing. Since during this time was also when her mother recently passed, J. K Rowling had channeled her emotions into her writing, making death one of the major themes of the series. Following that, Rowling met Jorge Arantes, with whom she had a passionate yet toxic relationship. They had a daughter named Jessica in 1993. However, a few months later, they divorced. Rowling and her daughter went back to the UK in Scotland, broke and divorced, which she had referred to as her rock bottom. Rowling utilized her failures as her ammunition for success and as the solid foundation to rebuild her life during these times.

Barely able to afford the rent for their apartment, Rowling spent most of her time at either The Elephant House or Nicholson’s Café in Edinburgh. In there, she had continued writing until she finished her manuscript with her daughter in her side. After completing the manuscript, Rowling had also struggled to find a publisher. Her first attempt had resulted in a rejection, as well as on her second and third attempts. Rowling didn’t give up, though, since she believes that she had a story that people would read. She then pursued and submitted her manuscript for the fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh times which again received negative responses. After an alleged thirteen tries, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone had finally gained acceptance from a publisher. Soon, Rowling’s first book had hit the shelves on July 26, 1997, and was an immediate success. 

Post Success of the Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

After the first book’s success in the series, Rowling had continued to write the rest of the series for the next ten years. She also married Neil Murray in 2001 and had two children, namely Mackenzie and David. In 2007, Rowling had appeared on stage for an all-night book reading for the release of the series’ final installment, the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. 

Although the series has already been finished, the Harry Potter franchise continued to live on. In fact, eight blockbuster films, video games, theme parks, and other products were made. As a result, Harry Potter became one of the highest-grossing franchises of all time. In 2016, Rowling had released “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” as one of the expansions of the Harry Potter universe. 

J. K. Rowling might not have predicted that this idea which was conceived in the train on her way home, would become the next big thing for the generation of readers. She also probably didn’t know back then that her financial troubles would end because of Harry Potter. However, what carried her to her success is the confidence that she has in whatever she is doing. With that, her story shows that no matter how many times one falls, those who believe in themselves surely rise again.