In America, as opposed to the old country, success was based on merit.
My readers have to work with me to create the experience. They have to bring their imaginations to the story. No one sees a book in the same way, no one sees the characters the same way. As a reader you imagine them in your own mind. So, together, as author and reader, we have both created the story.
Children being children, however, the grotesque Hopping Pot had taken hold of their imaginations. The solution was to jettison the pro-Muggle moral but keep the warty cauldron, so by the middle of the sixteenth century a different version of the tale was in wide circulation among wizarding families. In the revised story, the Hopping Pot protects an innocent wizard from his torch-bearing, pitchfork-toting neighbours by chasing them away from the wizard's cottage, catching them and swallowing them whole.
Of all the barbarous middle ages, that which is most barbarous is the middle age of man! it is -- I really scarce know what; but when we hover between fool and sage, and don't know justly what we would be at -- a period something like a printed page, black letter upon foolscap, while our hair grows grizzled, and we are not what we were.
I owe all my originality, such as it is, to my determination not to be a literary man. Instead of belonging to a literary club I belong to a municipal council. Instead of drinking and discussing authors and reviews, I sit on committees with capable practical greengrocers and bootmakers... Keep away from books and from men who get their ideas from books, and your own books will always be fresh.