Still devastated by her mother’s death, J.K. Rowling moved to Portugal in 1991, to work as an English teacher at a language institute. In her own words, this period was the start of a dark time in her life.
“I had failed on an epic scale. An exceptionally short-lived marriage had imploded … and the fears of my parents, and those I’d had for myself, had both come to pass. By every usual standard, I was the biggest failure I knew.”
“Nine months after my mother’s death, desperate to get away for a while, I left for Portugal. I took with me the still-growing manuscript of Harry Potter, hopeful that my new working hours (I taught in the afternoon and evening) would lend themselves to pressing on with my novel.
The manuscript had changed a lot since my mother had died. Now, Harry's feelings about his dead parents had become much deeper; much stronger; much more real, somehow.
In those first weeks in Portugal I wrote what has become my favourite chapter in the Philosopher's Stone, "The Mirror of Erised" – and had hoped that, when I returned from Portugal I would have a finished book under my arm. In fact, I had something even better: my daughter, Jessica.
I had married a Portuguese man and, although the marriage did not work, it had given me one of the best things in my life. Jessica and I arrived in Edinburgh, where Di was living, just in time for Christmas 1993.”