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By Randee Dawn

As the author of "Gone Girl," the best-selling thriller whose movie adaptation is poised to hit theaters next weekend, Gillian Flynn has gained a reputation as a skilled teller of suspenseful, scary tales.

"I grew up in a very calm, safe, Midwestern home so I was able to go to that dark side and look under the rock and then go back to my safe place," she explained on TODAY Friday. "I've always been like, 'What's under the rock?'"

But prior to her becoming a hit novelist (and now the screenwriter for the film, starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike as a seriously dysfunctional couple), Flynn's career choices were of a considerably milder vein. Her early writing career at Entertainment Weekly is fairly well documented, but did you also know she held positions as:

  • A honey-baked ham salesperson
    "How could you have left that?" asked TODAY's Al Roker. Flynn explained, "I used to smell it in my sleep."
  • A costumed yogurt cone
    "At a mall, to give out yogurt samples," she said of why she was once decked out as a tuxedo-clad cone. "It was this giant lid cone thing, and it was in the era of spiral perms, so there was also a fan inside (the headpiece) to keep it cool and it was always ..." — she gestured with a twirling motion — "pull(ing) up that spiral perm. So my motto is, 'Always be nice to people dressed as food.'"

"Gone Girl" opens in theaters on Oct. 3.

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