Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Brief History of the Mind Behind the Wizard

The Harry Potter series came to fruition by JK (Joanne Kathleen) Rowling. Rowling was born in England in 1965. Even at a young age, she was enthralled with the fantasy genre and often wrote short stories that took place in a fantastical world. Rowling attended Exeter University and acquired degrees in French and Classics.

The idea to write a series about the young boy attending wizardry school first manifested itself while she waited for hours for her delayed train to London’s King Cross Station. Over the next five years, Rowling made an outline for all the books, but didn’t actually start writing Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Sorcerer’s Stone in the US) until few years later. After briefly living in Portugal and teaching English as a second language, she married and gave birth to her first child. Following the birth of her daughter, death of her mother and end of her short-lived first marriage, her writing began to flourish, and she and her daughter moved to Edinburgh, Scotland.

It was in Edinburgh where the first Harry Potter book was finalized and eventually published. At the time, Rowling decided she wanted to teach in Edinburgh, which required her to get a postgraduate certificate of education. The course to get the certificate was yearlong and full time and was completed after she finished writing the first Harry Potter book and while simultaneously living on state welfare. Rowling wrote her book in various cafés around the city because at the time, taking her daughter for a walk was the best way to get the child to fall asleep.

Many of her characters are semi-inspired by her own life. She has said that Hermione is loosely based on her as an 11-year-old girl and Ron Weasley has many qualities of her childhood best friend. She also said that during her tumultuous years after her separation from her husband and moving to another country, she was diagnosed with clinical depression. This depression was the inspiration for the Dementors, the guardians of the wizard prison Azkaban, who survive by sucking the souls out of their victims.

Rowling’s life after Harry Potter paints her as a true ‘rags to riches’ heroine. She was listed by Forbes to be the first person to become a billionaire (US dollars) author. She also received honorary degrees from St. Andrews University, University of Edinburgh, Napier University, University of Exeter, University of Aberdeen and Harvard. She remarried in 2001 and gave birth to a son and daughter in the following years.

· Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Sorcerer’s Stone US title): June 1997 (UK) September 1998 (US)
· Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets July 1998 (UK) June 1999 (US)
· Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban July 1999 (UK) September 1999 (US)
· Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire July 2000 (UK & US)
· Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix June 2003 (UK & US)
· Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince July 2005 (UK & US)
· Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows July 2007 (US & UK)

· Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Chris Columbus, 2001)
· Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Chris Columbus, 2002)
· Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Alfonso Cuaron, 2004)
· Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Mike Newell, 2005)
· Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (David Yates, 2007)
· Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (David Yates, 2009)
· Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 (David Yates, November 19, 2010)
· Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (David Yates, July 15, 2011)

*This Post is the first of an ongoing series as Boulder Bookstore counts down the weeks until the November 19th premier of the next film, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1

Post By KTO, Boulder Book Store Fall Intern

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Boulder Writers’ Circle Meetup

Guest post by Laura Whittemore:

If you are interested in waking up your inner writer, blast through “writer’s block,” or discover the joy of writing, join the weekly Boulder Writers’ Circle Meetup which meets every Tuesday at 6:30 PM. It is a gathering place for all writers, authors, song writers, aspiring authors, journalists, and poets who want to expand the creative art of painting images with words.

Each BWC Meetup includes reading your weekly assignment, participating in writing exercises from a variety of prompts. Only positive feedback is given by the group to highlight the gems and to encourage the writing process. You will be amazed at what is brought forth when prompted to write without expectations.

I will introduce tips on writing, editing, blueprinting and discovering your writing style and writing voice. Since writing is a solitary act, why not join this growing community of writers at the Boulder Writers’ Circle. Where else can you be heard and appreciated by like minded wordsmiths compelled to follow your heart wherever that may lead?

To maintain your writing habit and keep the momentum going, please visit

Laura Whittemore is co-author of 2 books published by the Brain Injury Hope Foundation. Her 30 year career in education is the foundation of her Life Coaching business, inspiring clients in life choices and the creative writing process. Laura started the Boulder Writers’ Circle to share the joy of writing.