Joanne Kathleen Rowling was born in Chipping Sodbury, England in 1965. She began writing at age of 6 with a story called 'Rabbit', which she never finished.
In high school her favorite subject was English. From High School, Rowling went to Exeter University where she earned a degree in French.
After graduating, she spent a year studying in Paris and then went back to London where she worked in a number of jobs, including a year with Amnesty International and a short time as secretary for a publishing company, where she was responsible for sending out rejection slips.
In summer of 1990, on a delayed train from Manchester to London, she came up with idea of a boy who discovers he is a wizard. But it would be 7 years before idea became a book.
In that same year her mother died of Multiple Sclerosis and she left for Portugal to teach English, hoping to find a way to deal with her grief.
In October 1992 she married a Portuguese television journalist, Jorge Arantes. But marriage lasted just eleven months.
In 1993 she left her husband and returned to England, with one legacy of her failed marriage - an infant daughter named Jessica.
Her life suddenly took a nose-dive. Fighting poverty and depression, she lived in a mice-infested flat in Edinburgh and struggled to raise her baby daughter on a welfare check of 70 pounds ($100) a week.
Unable to heat her flat, she sat in cafés nursing an espresso for 2 hours at a time and worked feverishly on manuscript of 'Harry Potter and Philosopher's Stone' while her baby daughter slept in a pram.
The manuscript is said to have been rejected by three British publishers - Penguin, Transworld and HarperCollins.
But Bloomsbury Children's Books did sign her up, reportedly paying £10,000 ($14,300) for rights to 'Harry Potter and The Philosopher's Stone'.