J.K. Rowling is one of the most influential writers of our time. The Harry Potter series continues to inspire readers and writers around the globe. In honor of J.K. Rowling’s birthday, we asked ten authors to share how Rowling has inspired, influenced, and enchanted them.
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“Before I ever thought of becoming a writer, J.K. Rowling made me a reader. Her books were the first to make me forget where I was, who I was. The pages disappeared and I was somewhere else, someone else, and that love of escapism has never left me.” —V.E. Schwab, author of A Conjuring of Light
“To say J.K. Rowling inspired me is beyond an understatement. I grew up with Harry. I remember most of my life through the lens of Harry Potter. I can remember reading the first book during study hall at age eleven. I spent an entire summer reading only Order of the Phoenix. I’m a fast reader, and I read it again and again and again as if I could crawl inside the pages and live there. Many of my dearest friends became such because we happened to discover our mutual obsession for all things Hogwarts. Loving Harry Potter gave me an outlet for my imagination and creativity. It gave me a community, and made it easy to make friends anywhere in the world. And above all else, J.K. Rowling showed me the magic of words—that when put together in just the right way, they can mean everything to a person. Even at eleven, I knew that was a magic I wanted to someday wield.” —Cora Carmack, author of Roar
“There’s no question that when I created the Fallen Angel, the historical casino/men’s club/women’s club/boxing ring in my Rules of Scoundrels series, I was channeling J.K. Rowling. The Angel became my ‘naughty Hogwarts,’ a building that lived and breathed as much as its inhabitants did. It was filled with rooms of requirement (for everything from gambling to espionage to smooching), and ended up being a fifth hero in the series, saving the day on more than one occasion. Without Hogwarts, who knows if the Angel would have been so powerful?” —Sarah MacLean, author of The Day of the Duchess
“One can only dream to craft novels the way J.K. Rowling does, but she provides a very real role model for how to comport oneself as a public figure. JKR is graciously and decidedly interactive with her fans, generous with her time, and socially active in a way that feels true to the lessons she’s enveloped in her stories. Our favorite quote remains, ‘We do not need magic to transform our world. We carry all of the power we need inside ourselves already.’” —Christina Lauren, author of Dating You / Hating You
“Fantasy has always been my first genre love. It was so wonderful to see Harry Potter capture readers’ imaginations, from children to adults, in such a huge way. I feel J.K. Rowling’s books were groundbreaking, simply because Rowling made fantasy really cool, widely accessible, and also widely accepted—not to mention loved! As a reader, I will always appreciate fantasies that open new worlds and possibilities to me, and as a writer, it doesn’t get much bigger or better than having a theme park opened based on your created world! Utterly inspiring. Happiest of birthdays to J. K. Rowling!” —Cindy Pon, author of WANT and Serpentine
“Without Harry Potter, I wouldn’t be a published author. Way back in 2010, I obsessively scoured Harry Potter websites for the latest movie gossip and delicious book debates. As the fall approached, I heard mention of National Novel Writing Month, NaNoWriMo. Inspired by the conversations, I began my first novel, The Coincidence of Coconut Cake. Without the amazing Harry Potter community, I would have never discovered the equally amazing writing community of NaNoWriMo or written my first novel.” —Amy E. Reichert, author of The Simplicity of Cider
This quote, out of everything—beyond my love of the trio, beyond my crush on Remus Lupin, beyond my favorite character (Hogwarts itself)—my J.K. Rowling inspiration was all about this quote. This was the quote that kept me reading book one, that told me this was a book for me. It was absurd and it was funny, and those are my favorite things. Rowling has always been known for her epic story, her amazing characters, and fabulous world-building. But for me, it was all about her delightful sense of humor, her whimsy, which lasted through all seven books. She gave permission to be funny even when things got dark—the Weasley twins factor, as it were: rebellion through silliness. Seeing such a successful series being sweeping and grand while also being fun and whimsical inspired me. It still does.” —Adrienne Kress, author of The Explorers: The Door in the Alley
“In addition to the obvious answer of teaching me that ‘happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light,’ J.K. Rowling taught me the importance of simple details in world-building. She is a master of peppering tidbits and one-offs throughout the series that pay off in big ways at the end. Hello, horcruxes! Because of her I learned to make every detail count.” —Chelsea Mueller, author of Borrowed Souls
“J.K. Rowling taught me the magic of togetherness. I was hooked the moment Harry defended Ron’s honor to a sneering Draco. It turns out—even as an awkward middle school boy—I was searching not for flashy spellwork, but for meaningful friendships. And it also turns out that no one does ensemble casts better than Rowling. Harry’s clearest strength is his unforgettable found family and the fortitude he draws from them. When I set out to write Nyxia, it was my intent to create this cutthroat competition. I wanted rivalries and jawing and call outs. My characters rebelled. Rowling’s lesson had soaked into my bones. So I watched, helplessly, as each new competition brought my characters closer, as Emmett Atwater forged his own found family aboard the Genesis 11. Rowling’s work gave me the courage—as a writer and a person—to seek out new families. Bad times will come. I’ll face trolls in the bathroom and dark lords with immortality obsessions, but I take comfort in knowing that we’ll face them together. And there’s something magical about that, isn’t there?” —Scott Reintgen, author of Nyxia
“About a decade ago, I was volunteering in Durban, South Africa, with a program to reintegrate street girls back into their communities. I organized reading nights for the girls where, after dinner, I’d read from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. They were extremely bored, but very polite about it. After a while, I realized that the language barrier was bigger than I thought. So I rented the film. The change that came over them was immediate. They were hooked. Seeing the story played out onscreen transformed the experience for them. Afterward, they had all sorts of questions and wanted to know everything about the books. J.K. Rowling’s world is so compelling, how could they not be enchanted? We spent quite a bit of time talking through the story after that. J.K. Rowling taught me the importance of having a character with heart and that, language barriers aside, a powerful story can move people.” —Sheena Kamal, author of The Lost Ones