It’s common knowledge that J.K. Rowling wasn’t always successful. But one thing people don’t realize is how difficult it was for her to rise to such popularity so quickly. This article from The Telegraph reveals all.
The Harry Potter phenomenon transformed her from an impoverished single mother into one of the world’s richest authors, and now Rowling has admitted to struggling with her success, turning to therapy throughout her career to help cope with the pressures of fame and fortune.
On the eve of the publication of The Casual Vacancy, which is set to become the literary sensation of the year with pre-orders running into the millions, Rowling said that she had found her sudden success “incredibly disorienting”.
The author, who has sold more than 450 million books since publishing her first Harry Potter book 15 years ago, said that she had turned to therapy while feeling at “rock bottom” when writing her first book in Edinburgh, where she was living in a bedsit with her young daughter and surviving on benefits.
“And I had to do it again when my life was changing so suddenly – and it really helped,” she said. “I’m a big fan of it, it helped me a lot.
“For a few years I did feel I was on a psychic treadmill, trying to keep up with where I was. Everything changed so rapidly, so strangely. I knew no one who’d ever been in the public eye. I didn’t know anyone – anyone – to whom I could turn and say, “what do you do?”, so it was incredibly disorienting.”
The author, who married her second husband, Neil Murray, a doctor, in 2001, said that she had resorted to wearing a disguise while shopping for a wedding dress to escape the attentions of by fans.
Rowling, whose fortune is estimated at £560 million and who has given away more than £100 million to charity, said that she had also struggled with the huge number of demands to help others financially.
“You don’t expect the pressure of it, in the sense of being bombarded by requests,” she said. “I felt I had to solve everyone’s problems. I was hit by this tsunami of demands. I felt overwhelmed.”
The Casual Vacancy is set to become an instant bestseller when it is published on Thursday.
Online pre-orders of the book have already exceeded one million and Waterstones, the high-street bookstore chain, said that the book had prompted the largest number of pre-order sales for any title this year.
In an interview, she also admitted that she had considered publishing her debut novel for adults under a pseudonym.
She said: “But in some ways I think it’s braver to do it like this. The worst that can happen is that everyone says, “Well, that was dreadful, she should have stuck to writing for kids” and I can take that.
“If everyone says, “Well, that’s shockingly bad – back to wizards with you,” then obviously I won’t be throwing a party. But I will live.”