With its big-budget CGI effects, high-powered celebrity stars and massive appeal, it can be easy to forget that the [movie id="307087"]"Harry Potter"[/movie] film franchise owes its existence to the mind — and the typewriter — of a formerly unemployed single mother and first-time author named J.K. Rowling.
With the sixth film in the series, "Half-Blood Prince," crossing the $100 million worldwide-box-office mark after only one day in theaters, ABC News aired a special look into a year in Rowling's life, during which she finished work on the final "Potter" installment, "Deathly Hallows," and began to think about her future writing career in a post-Harry world.
"I've helpfully made the note for myself, 'This will need very serious planning,' " she laughed while sitting down to finish — on a laptop, this time — the seventh book in a hotel in Edinburgh, Scotland, in November 2006.
This would prove to be the final stretch of 17 years of writing the books, and after tapping away and scrolling through some last electronic pages, she said with just a hint of a smile, "Yeah, I think I've finished."
"Some people will loathe it," she added. "They'll absolutely loathe it. But the thing is, that's as it should be, because for some people to love it, others must loathe it. That's just in the nature of the plot. Some people won't be happy because what they wanted to happen hasn't happened. And to an extent, there's so much expectation from the hardcore fans, I'm not sure I could ever match up to it. I'm actually really, really happy with it."
Rowling then played Lily Allen's song "Smile," added page numbers and eventually printed the manuscript and hand-delivered it to her publisher at London's Heathrow Airport on January 12, 2007.
After an extensive editing process and a meticulous marketing campaign, "Deathly Hallows" was released across the world on July 21. In 24 hours, 8 million copies were sold in the United States alone — 7,000 books a minute, as ABC News noted. The film version will be split into two separate movies, the first part appearing in November 2010 and the second in July 2011.
But Rowling has already moved on to another writing project, she said, "a story that I describe as a political fairy tale. And it's for slightly younger children. So I think that will probably be the next thing that I finish. I'm not in a mad hurry to publish. I would like to take my time."
"I've lived with deadlines for 10 years," Rowling continued. "And I'm currently able to luxuriate in the fact that no one's really expecting it, no one knows anything about it. I feel I've gone right back to the beginning where I was on [first 'Potter' book] 'Philosopher's Stone,' when it was my private world, and I'd really like to enjoy that sole possession for a while."