JK Rowling has revealed she resisted temptation and didn’t search ‘Harry Potter’ online until five years after the release of the first book.
The multi-millionaire author says she was ‘utterly unprepared’ for what she encountered and spent hours reading through the numerous websites dedicated to her phenomenal creation.
Miss Rowling’s comments were made in the foreword of a new book which she says has helped her imagine what is must be like to be an ordinary fan.
The publication entitled Harry, A History has been written by Melissa Anelli, who runs the ‘Leaky Cauldron’ website.
Miss Rowling, 43, writes: “Not until sometime in 2002 did I finally crack, and do the thing that people assumed I did daily. I Googled Harry Potter.
“I knew, of course, that there were fan sites out there. My postbag was full of mentions of them, my readers assuming that I was au fait with what was happening online.
“My PA, Fiddy, had had contact with a few of the webmasters. But I was still utterly unprepared what I found during that first, mammoth trawling session.
“I had already heard of ‘The Leaky Cauldron’; it was one of the biggest and most popular Harry Potter sites on the net, and I had been told about a couple of great things they had done.
“But I had never seen it for myself, never realised exactly what went on there. I sat and read editorials, predictions, theories that ranged from strange to wild to perfectly accurate. I was, frankly, stunned – and I remain stunned.”
The Edinburgh-based writer says that after reading the book, ‘a great chunk’ of her life has now been explained.
She wrote: “At long last I understand what was going on while I was holed up writing, trying to filter my exposure to Potter-hysteria.
“A great chunk of my own life has been explained to me. Melissa has filled in an enormous number of blanks. Reading the book you now have in your hands has been an astonishing experience for me.
“It is as though I have, at last, achieved the ambition I held for years: to go along to a bookshop at midnight on Harry Potter publication night, in disguise, and simply watch and listen.”
The Harry Potter book series has sold 375m copies worldwide and has also spawned five blockbuster films with the sixth instalment, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, due out next year.
Ms Rowling has amassed a personal fortune of an estimated £560m making her richer than the Queen.