Ben Kingsley answers that he started as a shoe saleman and things kind of snowballed from there.
It made me wonder: How did you "become" a novelist? It is a strange track to choose, fraught with disappointments and so subject to the whims of the vox populi. (In our case, how well we register on on the B&N computer). What we do is not that different from politics in a way. Our best politicians begin life as something else (shoe salesmen) and through passion, ambition or whatever, morph into something else. So it is with novelists, I believe. We start out as something else in our quests to make money, support our families, live up to whatever dream we subscribe to, or what our parents hoped we would be.
Something clicks. And you are willing to give up all that for something you believe in. Something that makes your heart beat faster. Something that makes you sleep better at night. Something that lets your soul grow. Even as you know that nothing may come of it in the end.
What were you before you became?
What were you doing when the notion hit you? What were you collecting a paycheck for when you realized it wasn't enough? Now, I know that most of us are still working the "real" jobs, and that's okay. Necessary. But I really want to know: When did it happen for you?
When did you become a writer?