Reunited: JK Rowling and the father who sold rare Harry Potter books to pay 100,000 debts
Peter Rowling fell out with his daughter nine years ago He claimed she refused to help him after his business went bustHe has revealed they have reconciled despite claims that a 'vile' character in her new book is based on him
21:02 GMT, 29 September 2012
The father of J. K. Rowling has finally made up with his once-estranged daughter, despite claims she partly based a ‘vile’ character on him in her new novel, The Casual Vacancy.
Peter Rowling fell out with the 47-year-old best-selling author nine years ago after he sold a collection of rare Harry Potter first editions to cover his 100,000 debts.
He claimed his daughter – who is worth 560 million and whose first novel for adults was published last week – refused to help him after his burger van business went bust.
Difficult relationship: J. K. Rowling with her father Peter in 2000
The 67-year-old retired engineer said at the time: ‘It’s a heartbreaking situation. I fear I have lost my daughter. I can only hope Joanne will one day come to understand why I did it.’
But he has now revealed he has recently been reconciled with Miss Rowling and is ‘on good terms’ with her. At his 250,000 seaside flat in Swanage, Dorset, Mr Rowling said last week: ‘Joanne and I are fine. We talk now. Everything is good. There is no problem any more.
‘Families are funny things but I am incredibly proud of my daughter. She is a brilliant girl. I have read all her books – though the first was my favourite. And I look forward to reading her new one.
‘I have heard it contains a vile character supposedly based on me – a man who has a difficult relationship with a teenager – but I don’t know if that’s true. Either way, I’ll keep smiling. That’s the sort of person I am.’
It is believed that the character he is referring to is the father of Andrew, a troubled adolescent central to The Casual Vacancy.
Mr Rowling also revealed how the 2003 rift came about after he rang his daughter to tell her he would be auctioning rare, signed Harry Potter books to settle his business debts. One bore the personal note: ‘Happy Father’s Day 2000 and lots of love from your first-born, J. K. Rowling.’
JK Rowling's first adult novel, The Casual Vacancy, is thought to feature a 'vile' character based on her father
Four of the seven novels later fetched 50,000, while the rest failed to reach their reserve price.
Insisting he had no option but to sell them, Mr Rowling said then: ‘It was a short conversation. I was nervous about talking to her because in her position I would be very angry. Her reaction was natural – she was livid.’
He also dismissed previous rumours that the rift developed after he began a relationship with another woman when Miss Rowling’s mother was struck down by multiple sclerosis.
Mr Rowling married his current wife Jan, his former secretary when he worked at Rolls-Royce in Bristol, after his first wife Anne died in 1990.
‘The inference is a bloody insult – I’d challenge anyone to wire me up to a lie detector and ask me the truth,’ he said. ‘My relationship with Jan didn’t start until a year after Anne died.’
Miss Rowling, who has admitted that an episode in her new book is based on her relationship with her father, said recently: ‘I did not have an easy relationship with my father.’
Two years ago she revealed: ‘It’s such a huge thing to be estranged from a parent, but there would have to be very big reasons for that. So that’s where I am. I have my reasons.
‘It wasn’t a good relationship for a very long time. But I had a need to please that I kept going for a long time and then there just came a point at which I had to pull up and say, “I can’t do this any more.” ’
A spokesman for Miss Rowling said the author did not wish to comment.