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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In my second year of High School the English teacher said I had great potential as a writer. So I became a photographer. On the plus side I got to travel a lot, meet some incredible people and see some amazing places – inside submarines, inside volcanos, trekking through Java a couple of years after Sukarno’s ‘Year of Living Dangerously’ and watching Atlantic City on the Jersey shore magically transform itself from a rundown coastal resort to a run down coastal resort with casinos.

Photographers spend a lot of time waiting; waiting for makeup, waiting for weather, waiting for light, waiting for six hours while a traditional Chinese junk under sail tacks slowly up the harbour in Hong Kong so you can frame it against a luxury hotel – before Photoshop of course. This was great watching and listening time. Someone worked out over a 20+ year career a photographer might shoot 500,000 frames at an average 1/60th of a second which adds up to only a couple of hours in actual exposure time. That leaves a lot of time for watching and listening. And building that great mental storehouse of things that a writer can draw on.

Now I teach photography and write - finally. I’m on book 3 of a series where the protagonist is a spy working undercover as a globetrotting photographer – go figure. At least I know all the camera detail is 100% accurate. And a chance remark I overheard when I was a 19 year old shooting a wedding became the starting point for my most recently published book.
I'm a copyeditor for a newswire service. Works out well because the hours are noon to 8:30 p.m., Monday to Friday. The job doesn't wipe me out mentally, so I can write two hours each night.
I'm a movie critic, do political commentary and am a classical DJ. I also write essays for a monthly paper.
And Fleur, fiction and reporting find common ground at Fox News.


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