OCCUPATION Novelist and senior books editor at Cosmopolitan
GOAL To write compelling books--and never wait on tables again
QUOTE "The people I knew didn't do things like write. They got jobs."
When John Searles was 18, he worked in a factory in Connecticut. Every day at lunchtime he would drive home and cry. "It was my worst nightmare come true," he says. His parents, a truck driver and a housewife with little money to spare, had refused to send him to college, and set him up with this job instead. "They weren't trying to be mean," says Searles. "College wasn't...