Tag: BramStoker

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These 7 Writers Started With Very Different Careers

Some of the greatest books ever written were written by accountants. Or lawyers, or construction works. The decisions you make as a little tyke don’t necessarily have to dictate who you’ll always be. Here are some of our favorite writers who did not always think they’d end up as writers, including debut novelists Isabelle Ronin and Leah Weiss! 

 

1. Kurt Vonnegut owned a car dealership

 

Saab dealership

Image Via Digital Dealer

 

Before his groundbreaking novel Slaughterhouse-Five, Vonnegut had a tough time supporting his family. He worked as a journalist for Sports Illustrated, and a PR exec for General Electric. Probably most bizarrely, though, he owned a Saab dealership in Massachusetts.

 

Regarding this part of Vonnegut’s life, his daughter, Edie Vonnegut, said, “We were part of presenting this very elegantly designed piece of technology and it felt very sophisticated. It felt more about art and cutting edge design than about cars.” It doesn’t seem too out of character if you think about it.

 

2. George Saunders worked as a geophysicist and swam in monkey shit

 

George Saunders location

Image Via Metro

 

Probably one of the most famous contemporary short story writers (who published his debut novel Lincoln in the Bardo this year, which is amazing), Saunders got his career start as a field geophysicist working on the Indonesian island Sumatra.

 

Saunders’s time as a field geophysicist didn’t last more than a couple years, though. He retired early after “swimming in a river that was polluted with monkey shit” and getting sick. But the writing didn’t immediately start then. Saunders then worked as “a doorman, a roofer, a convenience store clerk, and a slaughterhouse worker.” What a life.

 

3. Leah Weiss worked as an executive assistant for twenty-four years before writing her first book

 

Leah Weiss and If the Creek Don't Rise

Image Via Amazon

 

Just last month, Weiss published her insanely good debut novel If the Creek Don’t Rise. What’s crazy is she didn’t start writing until she was fifty-years-old. Before she got into writing, she worked as an executive assistant to the headmaster at Virginia Episcopal School. She did that for twenty-four years! At seventy-four-years-old, after a full career as an executive assistant, Weiss has published her first novel. Let that be a call to action for anybody feeling discouraged.

 

4. Stephanie Danler was (pretty unsurprisingly) a waitress

 

Waitress

Image Via Meld Magazine

 

Danler’s debut novel Sweetbitter focuses on Tess, who has just moved to New York and lands a job in an upscale restaurant. She is subsequently sucked into the world of wine, food, drugs, sex, and love. Danler’s previous occupation? Unsurprisingly, it was that of server at an upscale restaurant. She actually met her editor while serving him. She now has a two book deal, a huge fanbase, and a TV adaptation of Sweetbitter on the way, produced by none other than Brad Pitt. 
 

 

5. Isabelle Ronin studied nursing before writing called her away

 

Isabelle Ronin and Chasing Red

Image Via Amazon

 

Isabelle Ronin was studying to be a nurse before her Wattpad story Chasing Red became an international sensation. Ronin was born and raised in the Philippines and moved to Canada when she was twenty. Her family were very traditional, and she was raised with traditional expectations—to graduate college, get married, and start a family. She found herself jumping from one thing to the next, looking for something about which she felt passionate. She settled on nursing for a time, however dropped out to pursue writing. Once she focused on that, she told Bookstr, it was magic. 

 

6. Bram Stoker was a crazy actor’s personal assistant

 

PA

Image Via Get Magic

 

The creator of Dracula was better known during his life time as actor Hentry Irving’s personal assistant and manager of London’s Lyceum Theatre than a writer. Henry Irving was reportedly extremely famous and extremely mad. He thought Dracula was dreadful and refused to appear in any adaptations of it. Before his PA life, Stoker received his degree in maths, worked in civil service at Dublin Castle, and wrote some unpaid reviews of plays. 

 

7. Arthur Conan Doyle was a ship surgeon off the coast of West Africa

 

surgeon

Image Via Asonor

 

Like John Watson, the fictitious narrator of the Holmes tales, Doyle was a surgeon during the 1880s. He studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh, and served as a surgeon aboard the ship SS Mayumba during a voyage on the coast of West Africa. When he returned, he started taking his writing career more seriously. In 1887, A Study in Scarlet was published and he became known for his Holmes stories. Oh, and he tried to become an ophthalmologist in the 1890s. He failed. He was bad at it.

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Infographic: The Scariest Monsters in Literature

Halloween is a time for spooky monsters like the well-known Frankenstein, Dracula, and the Headless Horseman. It’s also a time for scary books. After all, every monster we just mentioned shares one thing in common: a literary heritage.

Books are full of creepy ghouls, ghosts, and monsters, so it’s no surprise that a lot of our Halloween horror inspiration comes from the scary stories on our bookshelves. But how well do you know the scariest monsters in all of literature?

Get into the spirit of Halloween with this awesome infographic from the folks at the UK’s Morph Costumes. All of the classic creeps are there, and they’re all helpfully labeled with a “Scream Score,” which is calculated by evaluating their creepy appearance, supernatural powers, and evil intent. Morph Costumes says that Pennywise, from Stephen King’s It, is the creepiest one of all. Do you agree?

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The 8 Coolest Castles in Fiction

Nothing jazzes up an epic story like an awesome castle! Literature is full of fantastic fortresses, but we think that these eight are the best. Share your own favorites in the comments!

 

Camelot from Arthurian legend

King Arthur is the original fantasy hero, and Camelot remains the most iconic castle ever conceived. Some scholars think that there was once a real Camelot somewhere in Great Britain, but most agree that it’s a strictly fictional location. Too bad, because it looks very cool.

 

Castle Caladan from the Dune series by Frank Herbert

How about a sci-fi castle? Castle Caladan is from Frank Herbert’s famous Dune series. It was once the home of the Atreides family, until they were asked to go take over Arrakis (or “Dune”).

 

Castle Dracula from Dracula by Bram Stoker

Creepy castles are cool, too! Bram Stoker’s Dracula lived in a creepy castle fortress, and the climactic action of the novel takes place within its walls. The photo above is of Bran Castle, which is “the only castle in all of Transylvania that actually fits Bram Stoker’s description of Dracula’s Castle,” according to the castle’s website.

 

The Eyrie from the A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin

There are several cool castles in Westeros, but our favorite is the Eyrie. The Eyrie is perched on the top of a peak called the Giant’s Lance, and it’s pretty much impossible to take over. It looks a bit rugged in the Games of Thrones TV series, but we like the more glamorous take on it in the illustration above.

 

Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

Hogwarts is one of the coolest schools in fiction and one of our favorite places in general. J.K. Rowling’s vivid writing imagines a wonderful space full of moving staircases, friendly ghosts, and secret passages. Hogwarts has been featured in everything from movies to LEGO sets.

 

Howl’s Moving Castle from Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

Howl’s Moving Castle is a strange and complex thing. It’s the most surreal of the castles on this list, but it’s also one of the coolest. Four doors in the magical castle open to four entirely different locations. The image above is from the film version, which changed some elements from the book but is equally well-loved.

 

Minas Tirith from The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien

There are a few really cool castles in The Lord of the Rings, but by far the coolest is the super-fortress of Minas Tirith. It’s basically an entire city built into the side of a mountain and protected by impregnable walls. Too bad that these crazy fans couldn’t raise enough money to build it in real life.

  

The White Witch’s Castle from The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

The White Witch is the primary antagonist in C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia series, and her fortress is appropriately creepy. It’s made of ice and was constructed with black magic. The shot above is from the movie adaptation.

 

Featured image courtesy of http://bit.ly/1OpgYmm

 

Stephen L., Staff Writer