I was visiting with a friend who's in the advertising business and he was recounting an early career experience working with Jim Patterson. Patterson was a creative director and copywriter who worked at J. Walter Thompson in New York--a major advertising firm founded in 1864 and thus one of the oldest such agencies in the world.
My friend worked for Patterson early in his career but it was several months into his stint at Thompson before he found out that Patterson wrote fiction as a side hobby when not writing advertising copy. In visiting with Patterson, he discovered that Jim would come into the office each day at 6:00 a.m. and, from then until 9:00 a.m., would work on his fiction.
Pattterson, it turns out, would parlay that devotion to writing into quite the career. Jim Patterson decided to use his more formal name, James Patterson, as his away-from-the-office, published name. He created a character, Alex Cross, who became the hero of Patterson's first novel, Along Came a Spider. And, with the success of this first novel, Patterson retired from advertising and devoted himself to writing books.
Fifty-two novels later the rest, as they say, is history...