Harry Potter

"Harry Potter Creator 'Will Always Be Writing'"

by Mike Collett-White (Reuters, October 4, 2000)

LONDON (Reuters) - Children may be relieved to hear that J.K. Rowling, creator of teenage wizard sensation Harry Potter, looks set to go on writing when her seven-book series of magic, potions and spells is finished.
``I will always be writing,'' she said at Wednesday's launch of a new Web site for the One Parent Families charity, to which she has just donated $730,000.
A divorcee and a multi-millionaire from her Potter novels, the British writer said that balancing the demands of work with those of a single parent was not as hard as it seemed.
``I often felt selfish for pursuing (writing),'' Rowling said.
``I do take it easy -- a lot easier than I could. That is where the story starts that I am a recluse. It's because I am at home,'' she added.
Her latest book, the 640-page ``Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire,'' sold nearly three million copies in the first weekend in the United States alone.
The fourth in a series of seven promised tales of a young boy who finds out he is a wizard, it has helped Rowling earn more than $29 million in a celebrated rags-to-riches story.
The 34-year-old told the Sun tabloid Wednesday of her experience six years ago as a single mother struggling to live on state benefits of $102 a week.
Married at 27, Rowling became pregnant with daughter Jessica soon afterward. But her marriage ended three months after the birth, threatening to destroy her hopes for the future.
``I never dreamt Harry Potter was going to be the thing that saved us,'' the normally publicity-shy writer told reporters.
Rowling said that lone parents were often associated with poverty and idleness.
``It is definitely time we exploded the popular myth that most lone parents are feckless teenagers trying to get council flats,'' she told the launch.
One Parent Families says the average age of Britain's 1.7 million lone parents is far higher than popular legend suggests. At any one time, fewer than three percent are teenagers.
Speaking about her own experience, Rowling said that looking after Jessica was ``not all stress and hardship.''
``My flesh and blood daughter is the best thing that ever happened to me, including my fictional son,'' she said. ``I don't want her to grow up in a society that tells her that her upbringing is second-rate.''
Rowling has agreed to represent the National Council for One Parent Families, the leading British charity for lone parents.
The charity has launched a $1.46 million campaign to help lift affected children clear of poverty, and Rowling's donation means they are already half way there.
Commenting on government policy on one parent families, she said: ``There are still about one million children living in poverty, so obviously a great deal more needs to be done.''
The ruling Labor Party has said more than 50 percent of children living in poverty in Britain were from single parent households, and that the way to tackle the problem was to get more such parents off state benefits and into work.