As odd as this sounds, from my own life. Before leaving the 9 to 5 grind to write full-time, I worked as a paralegal. Dreary documents? Summarizing dull records? Not in my job. For eight years I worked on reviewing cases of insurance fraud (arson, staged burglaries, and other hinky claims.) I also worked on cases involving allegations of police misconduct and shooting inquests. I’ve been in courtrooms when witnesses have lied and helped trip them up, interviewed murderers, drug dealers and thieves, and hung out in some mean places looking for evidence. Truly, it was a great job, but in the early ’90s I decided I needed a little more adventure in my life and found a new job with a local software firm as a Piracy Paralegal.
I used to joke that “I hunted pirates during the day and wrote about them at night.” But all joking aside, my job actually had some very dangerous aspects, since my responsibilities included going on seizures and criminal raids with US Customs, the FBI and the RCMP in Canada. You really start to wonder about your sanity when you go on a raid with everyone around you dressed in head to toe Kevlar and armed to the teeth, while you are standing there in a wool suit you bought at Nordstrom. I also traveled with a bodyguard, because of the dangerous nature of my work. Believe it or not, these contemporary adventures gave me plenty of ideas for my historical books.
By the way, if you are interested in learning more about software piracy, visit the Business Software Alliance website.