Many, perhaps most writers today, pursue occupations and/or passions in addition to writing. For example, I'm a shrink. I have gotten myself off unwanted juries with ease at the voir dire stage by answering the question "What do you do?" honestly : "I'm an online therapist and a mystery writer." To writers: What other hat(s) do you wear? And in what ways do you (or don't you) integrate these pursuits with your mysteries?

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I'm an academic librarian. Oddly enough, when I was up for promotion and was looking at my CV, wondering how a dark and twisted piece of crime fiction fit in with the other stuff I write, I found I am really interested in the same things whatever the genre. I'm interested in how people process the information they encounter into an understanding of the world, and how our anxieties and the rhetoric of fear influences social issues - which, in a geeky way, is what crime fiction is about. But librarians are the ur-geeks.
I'm a county recreation superintendent by day, and by night for that matter. I have a master's in education and a 2nd degree black belt in Tae kwon do that I earned in Korea while I was a civilian recreation specialist for the US Army. In my two yet unpublished mysteries (Blue Dragon Mysteries), my heroine and her Korean lover/business partner run the Blue Dragon Martial Arts Academy and a home-security consulting business. They met & fell in love when their lives overlapped while serving their countries. Write what you know & what you can get away with! Se hey po moni paduseyo. (Happy New Year). I am also a published poet. But most of my lifeguards make more money in one summer than I have ever made writing poetry.
I've been a professional Dominatrix and fetish model for years but I write nearly full time now. I do a lot fewer sessions now that I used to, but I'll always be a full time pervert at heart. There's no question that has had an impact on my fiction.
See - there's the difference - when Christa goes to parties and people ask her what she does, she gets a crowd of people around her hanging on her every word. When *I* go to parties and people ask me what I do, it's like an instant cure for the terminally insomniac. Although I think I'm going to use the "I'm a full time pervert" line and see how that works... :o)
See, I think that people who front these boring job titles are actually clandestine operators who don't want the rest of us to know that they have the power to determine the exact date and time when the average 45 year old smoker who drives a red sports car more than 10 kilometers to work will have a collision with the 17 year old unlicensed sus chef who is driving his girl friend's mom's car home from a 48 hour rave.

Start quoting average life spans to those white male, over-50, yawning hat racks and see how fast you get their attention. Of course it might not be the same kind of attention Christa's Career Day presentation receives.
Food for thought in everyone's reply. I'm a published poet too, and I once got a check for more than my current debut mystery advance from the New York State Council on the Arts. There were 16 of us lucky poets, and I've never been in a room with bigger grins or more sheer happiness. I've got a pretty good go-to-a-party line too: "I'm an alcoholism therapist." Either it stops the conversation dead, or the person volunteers his or her drinking history and says, "Does that make me an alcoholic hahaha?" Same thing in bars.
I'm a gaming industry programmer by day and by gaming I mean poker machines. At parties, conversations usually go like this:

Partygoer: So, are they rigged?
Me: No, but they're highly regulated. The probabilities are designed to give a strict return to the player, etc. etc. (This works well if I want their eyes to glaze over and have them move on)

Partygoer: Can you fix them? Then we can share the profits.
Me: If I was going to, I wouldn't be telling you.

Partygoer: How do you win?
Me: Just don't gamble.

My favourite was when I met an Irish girl in a pub and she put her fingers up in the shape of a cross and called me Satan. Us programmers, we're such party animals.
I'm a lawyer - I represent kids going through the care system.
Neglect, abuse, violence...crime writing is kind of light relief.
HB x
When I was asked, during voir dire, what I do, I told the judge that I run a non-profit community agency and also write murder mysteries. It didn't get me off the jury and, in retrospect, I'm glad it didn't. Because, as I was leaving the courtroom a week later, after the trial had come to an end, the court clerk asked me if I was willing to be contacted by the plaintiff's wife. It turned out that the plaintiff's wife was the President of the Friends of her local library. She had gone to the store that first night and bought my book. By the end of the trial, she'd finished the book, and apparently, she enjoyed it. Several months later, the library purchased multiple copies of both of my books and invited me to do a book talk. The library paid me a very respectable fee for my appearance. And I sold more books at the appearance. Jury duty was, quite possibly, my single most lucrative book event last year (and that's before I add in the $5 a day that the county paid me for jury duty).
Great story, Jeff. I may have to change strategies from DPM ("Don't pick me!") to BSP. ;)
I am a consultant for the Federal government. (Yes, one of those.) I was a musician in a previous life, and the detective in my as yet unpublished series has a musical background. I have also taught school, and I'm considering a sub-plot for a future work that involves a school. I think this is where "write what you know" is most useful, in the details.
Have you read Victor Gischler's Pistol Poets?


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