'Mark Twain' is not really an author's name. Or at least it wasn't until the creator of Huckleberry Finn adopted the words as his pen name. 'Mark twain' was originally a Mississippi boatman's cry to warn the captain his boat was entering shallow water. Young Samuel Clemens heard this cry thousands of times during his childhood and when he became a writer he thought it would make an interesting pen name. Clemens was born in 1835 in Florida, a small town on the banks of the Mississippi River in the Deep South of the United States. In all the towns dotted along the river banks, life revolved around the moods of the mighty waterway. Clemens was the fourth of five children. His father was a hard worker who took on several jobs to provide for his family. The family moved to Hannibal, a big, thriving river town, when Clemens was four years old. It was here that he grew up, surrounded by lively, interesting people whose personalities he never forgot. After the tragic death of his father in 1847, Clemens had to give up school and was sent to work for a firm of printers. This was the first step on the road to becoming a writer. He learnt how to set up type for books and newspapers and in 1851 he began to write short stories which were published in the Hannibal Journal. In his late teens Clemens became restless. He wanted to broaden his horizons and see more of the US. In 1853, he began a long journey east to New York, earning his living along the route as a newspaper printer. His life suddenly took a new turn when he met Horace Bixby, the captain of a steamship. Clemens was persuaded to join the crew, and for four years he trained as a pilot, guiding ships of all sizes through the channels of the Mississippi. In 1859, Clemens became a fully-fledged steamboat pilot, but his career was nipped in the bud when the American Civil War broke out. Clemens joined the army for a few months, then moved up north to try his hand at gold mining. He was not a success. In 1862, he returned to the world of newspapers and got himself a job as a reporter for the Territorial Enterprise in Nevada. And on February 3, 1863, Mark Twain was born when Clemens decided to sign his articles with this new name. Clemens was now firmly on the ladder to success. He was working in a job which he loved. He had a talent for writing funny stories which sent his readers into fits of laughter. In 1876, his novel The Adventures of Tom Sawer was published and eight years later he wrote The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, which was a massive success. Clemens earned a lot of money writing, lecturing and publishing his own books, but he also wasted a lot of his fortune on an extravagant lifestyle and poor investments. By 1894, he was bankrupt. He went on a world lecturing tour to earn money to pay off his debts. But all the stress of travelling exhausted him, and in 1910 Clemens died, a tired and burnt-out man.