I was born in a small town in Australia. I finished high school while homeless in Brisbane, and scraped my way into Griffith University by the skin of my teeth.
After graduating I spent several years aimlessly drifting around the world, which - let’s face it - is something everybody should do. I underwent a few dark phases of homelessness and occasionally lived in mate’s garage.
I drifted around the world for a bit until I eventually found myself in Boston. Here I was unexpectedly hired by Harvard University to fix computers. They also put me in charge of all the computers in the Countway Library and Harvard Health Publications. So that was cool.
Nobody would ever have seen it coming. On the other hand, being unexpectedly hired by Harvard doesn’t even appear in my top ten list of Weird Things That Have Happened to Me.
Look, you know what? It’s fine that you think I’m exaggerating. But let me give you a random example from my top-ten list, just so you know the sort of weirdness I’ve been dealing with.
#7: Reading War and Peace on a train when suddenly the carriage catches on fire.
I was up to a particularly good bit, too, so not paying much attention to the day-to-day. Naturally it had registered with me that the train had stopped. Everybody had noisily rushed off (Commuters, huh? Always in such a hurry…) but I stayed in my seat because the end of chapter was just over the page and I had nothing pressing to do.
Man, this train needs a good clean, thought I, brushing away what I would later realise was ash floating down from the conflagration above.
A minute or two later I finished the chapter, climbed to my feet and stretched and thought: Damn, Pierre Bezukhov! You need to get your house in order! Pronto! Then I wandered off the train, stepping down from the carriage right between two fire fighters who looked upon my sudden appearance with astonishment. The roof of the carriage I’d stepped down from, I now noticed, was ablaze.
In my defense, War and Peace is a very compelling book.
In the meantime, my biography rushes on. By the end of 2007 I was a scientific programmer for a lab at Harvard Medical School. That was little bit tricky because I’m an autodidact and not especially talented at science, but I made a go of it anyway.
Close friends meanwhile took me aside and said: “this is all very impressive but shouldn’t you be writing books by now?”
In 2008 I founded an ecards website called Wrongcards, which offers cards that are unsuitable to send to people. I have now accepted that I am not very good at business ideas.
I had drifted into graphic design, illustration and web-development. I also wrote stories - many, many stories - because I always write stories and it reassured my friends a little that I wasn’t wasting my life with practical concerns.
After a spell as a really mediocre scientist I took a job as a creative director. Easy work, it turned out. All I had to do was show up late every day and tell others to listen to me because they were wrong. I could do that in my sleep.
In 2013 I finally left Harvard for good. For a long time the consensus among my close friends was that I was being a complete fool, staying in a job and worrying about my financial future like I had.
“But what if it doesn’t work? What if I can’t publish my books? Won’t I have thrown away a sensible career for nothing?”
My friends looked at me with equanimity.
“If you don’t find a publisher you can just give away for free for the enjoyment of people,” they all agreed, as if I was a damn fool for not having done all this already.
(I have also accepted that my friends are not very good at business ideas either.)
Since 2013, then, I have been working on several novels at once. The first out the gate - The Harvard Skull Fiasco - was finished in July, 2016. This book is my way of saying farewell to my former employer, and also ensuring that nobody will ever hire me again.
I am now seeking a literary agent, so if you happen to know one, feel free to put them in touch with me. If it all pans out then I will buy you dinner somewhere. Somewhere nice, where they have table cloths and everything.
By the way, you should feel free to do that word-of-mouth thing - you know? Be that person who knew all about me well before I became a household name, or before I sold out to corporate interests, bought that yacht, crashed that yacht, married that actress, divorced and was financially ruined by that actress, and was caught up in that llama sex scandal which, by the way, I would like to fervently deny in advance.
And if I haven’t thanked you for your understanding, I’d like to do that now.