Joanne Kathleen Rowling, popularly known as JK Rowling, started writing at the tender age of six. This first encounter with words didn't last long because the story she set out to write was never completed. As the years passed by, she never gave writing serious thought. After completing her graduation, she spent a year studying in Paris and then went back to London where she worked at a number of jobs from Amnesty International to a secretary at a publishing house where her responsibility was to send out rejection slips.
It was in the summer of 1990 that the idea of a regular boy who discovers he is a wizard struck her -- and Harry Potter was born. Although it took her seven years to give shape and structure to the storyline, we can all safely say it was worth it.
Her first book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (as released in the UK was released as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone) came out in 1997 and became an instant hit. However, it was a painful journey for Rowling to get her book to see the light of day. The preceding years were nothing less than a nightmare. With no job and abject poverty, Rowling had to take care of her daughter. Besides that, three publishers rejected the initial manuscript she wrote. It was only when Bloomsbury Children's Books signed her that she could get the first in the seven-part Harry Potter series published. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Later in life she said, “I just write what I wanted to write. I write what amuses me. It's totally for myself.”
The second in the series, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, was published in 1999 and the third in the series, Harry Potter and the Prizoner of Azkaban, was also released later the same year. By 2000, when her fourth book - Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire appeared, Harry Potter had become a household name worldwide and adults and children alike showed tremendous interest in the books. The initial print run for her fourth book was record 1.5 million copies in the UK and 3.8 million in the US.
In 2000, Rowling also became the highest-earning woman in Britain, with an income of more than £20.5 million. Warner Brothers bought the rights to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone along with Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets in 1998 and what followed were two movies that were awaited with as much enthusiasm as the books. After the release of the first Harry Potter movie, Rowling’s earnings were estimated to have exceeded $100 million. In 2001, the Queen conferred the Order of the British Empire on Rowling for her services to children's literature.