Sometimes the perfect job falls into your lap.
As a 13 year-old picking my GCSE options, I quite fancied taking chemistry. Until further consideration revealed that I was abysmal at the subject, and always had been, despite the concerted efforts of my teachers. On closer analysis, I realised the entire reason I aspired to study chemistry was to follow in the footsteps of my hero, Sherlock Holmes. So I took art instead, but my well-thumbed tome of the complete Holmes remained under my bed.
Earlier this year, more by chance than design, I ended up writing a series of articles for The Sherlock Holmes Book. It was published by DK last month, and it is a thing of beauty. A hefty, well-designed reference book that I could lose myself in for hours on end.
DK were a pleasure to work with, and they paid both decently and promptly, but the work itself was the biggest joy of all. I got to lose myself for a while in researching all kinds of fascinating things: Victorian horse racing; the rise of the dollar princesses; jewel thefts of the late 1800s; the efficacy of chloroform…
Best of all, I got a good excuse to re-read most of Holmes’s adventures all over again. Not that I really needed one.