The story gets old, but never tired: In about a decade, Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling went from rags to riches, literally (excuse the pun).
A single mom, hoping her newly created story would create enough income to support herself and daughter Jessica, was told by Bloomsbury editor Barry Cunningham she should "get a day job."
In 1999, she could be reached by phone for quick interviews before putting Jessica to bed. Now, a veritable team of representatives, lawyers and publishers answer questions when she can't speak directly through her recently opened web site.
USA Today observes these and more subtle changes in a new profile of Rowling published today:
Bloomsbury published the first book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, in June 1997. The American edition (retitled Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone) arrived a year later from Arthur A. Levine/Scholastic. Levine bought the rights for the first book for $105,000, considered a princely sum for a children's book.
The way Rowling has tended to her writing and personal life over the years impresses Levine: "It's a testament to her character, more than anything else, that she's remained true to herself. She has managed to maintain her perspective. I think that takes a great deal of effort."
Last year, Rowling landed on Forbes' list of the world's richest people. With an estimated net worth of $1 billion, she's richer than the queen of England, who had a mere $660 million in 2004.
On top of it all, Rowling turns the big 4-0 on July 31, a birthday she shares with her fictional hero. Read the full article for more.