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Paul McMurray grew up on the SW side of Chicago (one block from Midway Airport) and then lived in nearby suburbs. He stayed out of serious trouble thanks to his strict-but-kind mom and a top-ranking relative on the CPD. He worked a lot of jobs, including selling insurance in the “inner city”, where he had a loaded gun pointed at his head twice (by undercover cops, not residents) but didn’t get shot, and learned to look out for roving packs of feral dogs. He also remembers gratefully the many good people there who checked the windows first so he didn’t get robbed and/or his butt kicked. He then joined his family in owning and running the 2nd largest private campground in SE Wisconsin (at the time and may still be), and still writes about camping mishaps at scoopjackson.net, where his alter-ego resides. He travels frequently to Chicago for more "research" on Zak and Freddy capers, which usually involves Italian beef sandwiches and beer. And, of course, White Castles.