Here’s a quick post pointing you to an interview with Joan Lambert (formerly Preppernau), one of the authors of Windows 7 Step by Step.
It starts like this:
When did you first decide you would make a career of writing and helping others with software?
I’ve been contracting for Microsoft on and off since I was 17, and have always had a passion for technology. When I returned to the United States in 1997 after living for six years in New Zealand and working in non-technical fields, I joined my father’s company, which eventually became OTSI. I participated in the development of training materials for the original Microsoft Mastering Series, and was assigned to a product support position in which I ended up writing Help files, frequently teaching myself new technologies and features as there was a necessity to explain them to customers My first foray into book writing came several years later, and entirely by accident. As the Business Development Manager for OTSI, I had negotiated contracts for my company to write the Access 2002 Step by Step and FrontPage 2002 Step by Step books, with the assumption that two of my business partners who were experienced writers would write the books. It turned out, though, that I was the only FrontPage expert in the office, and the book ended up on my plate.