Before she was known in the United States as the first billionaire author, Jo was a single mom struggling to get by. At one point, she says she was literally as poor as you can get in Britain without being homeless. Today, Jo says the greatest gift money has given her has been the freedom from worry.

"If you've ever been there, you will never, ever take for granted that you don't need to worry," she says. "Never."

Going from poor to rich so quickly took Jo by surprise, and to this day, she's still trying to wrap her head around it. She says her idea of success was just to support herself, so when her fame and wealth overshot the mark, she was caught off guard.

"As a writer, there's no way you're thinking, 'If I'm wildly successful, they will want long-lens photographs of me on the beach in my bikini.' Never occurred to me in a million years," she says. "[I was] totally unprepared and really running scared for a while."


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