Joanne Kathleen Rowling (1965-) was a single mother on welfare before the release of her enchanting debut novel, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (1998). The best-seller received rave reviews, won many prestigious book awards, and started the worldwide Harry Potter sensation.
"I have to write the story I want to write. I never wrote them with a focus group of 8-year-olds in mind. I have to continue telling the story the way I want to tell it," she once said.
Born in Chipping Sodbury, England, Rowling began writing at age six. "Harry was the first I tried to get published," she explained.
About her overnight fame and fortune, she said: "I write what amuses me. It's totally for myself. I never in my wildest dreams expected this popularity. There's no formula."
In a great work of fantasy, Rowling has created the remarkable boy wizard, Harry Potter. His world is a celebration of courage, kindness, friendship, dreams, magic, and more!
"The idea that we could have a child who escapes from the confines of the adult world and goes somewhere where he has power, both literally and metaphorically, really appealed to me," Rowling said.
And it's appealed to the rest of the world, too. The 2001 film Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, based on Rowling's first novel, grossed $31.3 million (£22 million) on its first day, at the time the highest single-day take ever.
"If someone asked for my recipe for happiness, step one would be finding out what you love doing most in the world and step two would be finding someone to pay you to do it. I consider myself very lucky indeed to be able to support myself by writing," Rowling said.
"I'll be writing until I can't write anymore," she admitted, "It's a compulsion with me. I love writing."
Choose well, but please choose.