MELBOURNE, Australia, July 5, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- It was a flood of strange and unlikely events which lead Rhys Hagan to write and release his esteemed debut novel, Hunting Taylor Brown. But once he dug a little deeper, he found that many other writers have unusual and often inspiring pasts. Here are 9 examples:
1. The Greek philosopher, Socrates, saved a General, Alcibiades, during his military service. Socrates was a hoplite, an elite infantry soldier in the Greek military; he was renowned for his endurance and bravery, most notably concerning his rescue of Alcibiades in the Potidaea campaign.
2. Agatha Christie was investigated by MI5 after writing N or M. Her 1941 novel included a character named Bletchley, after the park, which Christie detested. Bletchley was the location of a British 'Ultra Secret' intelligence base and MI5 found it necessary to place her under investigation.
(Side Note: With 2 billion collective sales, Christie is the bestselling author of all time next to Shakespeare.)
3. Charles Dickens was forced to start work at the age of 12 when his father was imprisoned for debt. This is thought to be a reason why many of his novels contain themes of young boys forced to work due to absent fathers.
4. Shakespeare is probably not actually spelled 'Shakespeare'. His name has been written as many as 80 different ways including 'Shaxberd' and 'Shakp'. Because of conflicting records, it's impossible to know which spelling is correct.
5. Mark Twain knew US President Ulysses Grant. Twain (Samuel Clemens) joined a confederate militia during the American Civil War. They disbanded when Grant advanced on them with a Union force. Later in life, Twain would offer to write memoirs for the then ex-President.
6. Ernest Hemingway survived anthrax poisoning, malaria, pneumonia, cancer, hepatitis, diabetes, a fractured skull, a crushed vertebra, and two plane crashes on consecutive days. He later committed suicide.
(Side Note: Hemingway was interested in becoming a KGB informer during WWII. He was rejected, but his application lead to Hoover placing him under surveillance.)
7. Maya Angelou could read most of us under the table. She read every single book in her school library. She was also a talented writer (duh), singer, dancer, actress, and she taught herself French, Spanish, Italian, Arabic and Fanti.
8. George Orwell attended Eton College and was picked on by a schoolmate. He practiced Voodoo on the bully in anger only to find out that he would later break his leg, contract Leukaemia, and die. Orwell became convinced that black magic had killed him.
9. Albert Einstein could have been President. In 1952 after the passing of Chaim Weizmann, Israel's first President, the top job was offered to Einstein. He obviously declined.
Rhys Hagan's critically acclaimed novel, Hunting Taylor Brown, is now available at all major online retailers.
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SOURCE Rhys Hagan