Thursday, October 11, 2007

More fun from Shane Maloney / Authors' previous jobs

Damien at Crime Down Under recently linked to this short profile of Shane Maloney, author of very funny novels about a Melbourne political minder named Murray Whelan who eventually wins election to parliament.

Two highlights: Maloney's biggest disappointment – “Missing out on the 2006 Nobel Prize for literature” – and the news that "employment is overrated. Unemployment meant I finally had the chance to do something that I'd had in the back of my mind for a while – to write a novel."

What stuck out for me, though, was the down-to-earthness of Maloney's work history. His career began:

“(O)nly after he lost his job as an adviser to Melbourne's bid for the 1996 Olympic Games. Before that he had a string of jobs, including general manager of the Melbourne Comedy Festival, arts administrator for the Melbourne City Council, the PR rep for the Boy Scouts Association and as a music promoter and band reviewer.”
That’s the kind of work that, well, that I could have wound up doing.

This made me feel at home with Maloney in a way I could not with ex-M16 or CIA types who write thrillers, on the one hand, and globe-trotting former roustabouts who would absolutely never, ever exaggerate the extent of their experience as bartenders, cab drivers or loan-shark collection agents in order to buffer their hard-boiled credentials on the other.

And now, a question for readers: What is the strangest, oddest, most exotic former job you have heard of any crime writer having ... or claiming to have had?
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I posted a few months back about Dan Kavanagh’s japes at the macho-job tradition on the jacket of his novel Going to the Dogs. Kavanagh, the jacket copy tells us:

“(H)as been an entertainment officer on a Japanese super-tanker, a waiter on roller skates at a drive-in eatery in Tucson, a bouncer in a gay bar in San Francisco. He boasts of having flown light planes on the Colombian cocaine route, but all that is known for certain is that he was once a baggage handler at Toronto International Airport."
Can your favorite writer top that?

© Peter Rozovsky 2007

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8 Comments:

Blogger Linkmeister said...

Dick Francis as Champion Jockey comes to mind.

October 12, 2007  
Blogger Peter said...

The only drawback to Dick Francis' inclusion on my list is that he indisputably was a jockey. There is no need for him to inflate or romanticize his book-jacket-bio claims.

October 12, 2007  
Anonymous Katherine said...

Leigh Redhead, a former stripper who has three fantastic crime novels published in Australia featuring Simone Kirsch, ex-stripper and private eye.

October 12, 2007  
Blogger Peter said...

Yep, I've heard about her from some of my Australian correspondents, and I had her in mind when I posed the question. Simone Kirsch is not always an ex-stripper, from what I understand. Doesn't she doff her clothes for some undercover work in at least one of the books?

October 12, 2007  
Blogger Linkmeister said...

Ah. I misunderstood the question.

October 12, 2007  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

Exotic? Well Rex Stout was a warrant officer on board Theodore Roosevelt's yacht.

October 12, 2007  
Blogger Peter said...

Linkmeister, you understood it perfectly! I was just having a bit of fun with the tradition of bragging and possibly exaggerating about unusual jobs. Dick Francis didn't have to do that!

October 12, 2007  
Blogger Peter said...

Hmmm, which is more unusual, being a stripper, or being an officer for Teddy Roosevelt?

October 12, 2007  

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