Thursday, January 2, 2014

Interview with Lucy Leitner.

Full Name:
Lucy Leitner

Do you have a nickname or what do your friends call you?

Washington, DC

Current hometown:
Pittsburgh, PA
I visited Pittsburgh once.  I think I was on my way back from a convention in Indianapolis and I ended up near Pittsburgh during the daytime so I decided to stop in and check it out.  All I remember is that it kind of looked like the way that I always imagined Detroit looks, and I went to the Warhol museum.  I was the only person there and it was cool, but kind of disappointing.  The coolest thing was that huge wall of Interview Magazine covers.
Yeah, the Warhol Museum isn’t all that great.  It’s about Andy Warhol after all.  The city’s tough to navigate, so you really have to know what you’re looking for to find the cool stuff.  It’s difficult to just stumble upon awesome things here.

Favorite city and why?
New Orleans. Requires no explanation.

Birthday / Age:
May 23, 1983. 30 years old.

How would you describe yourself physically?
5’6, athletic, dark hair, really strong arms for a chick.
I could probably still take you in arm wrestling contest.

How would someone else describe you physically?
No one seems to appreciate my awesome upper body strength.
Alright, how many push-ups can you do in a row?  And not “girl” push-ups but for-realsie push-ups.
Not sure about push-ups, but 15 chin-ups in a row.  Real ones.

The first thing people notice about you is…
I have a giant tattoo on my left arm that looks like the visual representation of a Dio song.
Is it like a rainbow in the dark?  Can we see the stripes but know you’re clean?  Oh don't you see what I mean?
Yes, between the velvet lies….

Religion, if any?
Hebrew school dropout.

Are you superstitious at all? Any phobias?
I used to believe that carrying my Pittsburgh Penguins puck-shaped purse around during the playoffs was good luck.  Then, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013 happened.  Now, I believe in nothing.  That’s what losing to the Flyers does — it leads to nihilism.
That’s what you get for rooting for your home-town team.  I don’t follow sports ball so I avoid a lot of heartbreak and ensuing nihilism.

Do you smoke / drink? If so, what? Any bad habits?
I have a sophisticated palate, i.e., I can taste the difference between red licorice and Swedish fish vodka.  I also enjoy English pub ales.  In terms of bad habits, I really enjoy gummy candy.
That’s not a bad habit.  That’s a way of life.  Sour patch kids for life!

Current occupation / Dream job:
I’m a writer of satire and humorous fiction.  I also make a living in graphic design, social media, marketing/advertising, and PR.

What do you like to do when you’re not at work?
I’m a workout fanatic, so generally at the gym lifting or running.  I spend significant time trying interesting drinks and foods with friends and host dinner parties every Sunday to watch The Walking Dead like we’re part of the Mystery Science Theater.  I’m also always on a mission to find new great bands, particularly those in the United States. It’s sad — we’ve lost most of our bombastic hair metal to Scandinavia. Somehow this gets overlooked when we’re talking about the US falling behind other country.
Yeah, I haven’t heard about any good hair metal bands lately.  I dig Turbonegro and I still have the Mötley Crüe discography up until Girls, Girls, Girls.  I’ve been listening to a lot of Saxon lately.  When you’re having trouble getting motivated in the morning, 80s era Saxon is better than a gallon of coffee.
There seems to be some sort of hair metal revival going on in Sweden.  They’ve forsaken the proven metalness of the unnecessary umlaut for the hair-metalness of an inordinate amount of Xs in their names.  Both tactics have the same basic effect.

What is your zombie outbreak survival plan?
I can’t divulge too much, but it involves getting really creative with what can be a weapon.

Weapon of choice:
Do you have any special skills?
Krav Maga.
I know that’s a martial art.  But it sounds like a delicious crab dish.  I’ll take the Krav Maga with vegetable fried rice please.  To drink?  Do you have coke or pepsi products?  Pepsi?  I’ll have an iced water then.
Some call it Jew-Jitsu.
You said it… not me.

Did you go to college and, if so, what for?
I graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with extremely technical degrees in writing and studio arts. I got a masters degree in journalism from Point Park University, which I have yet to actually use.  Turns out that unwillingness to talk to strangers is a good trait to avoid abduction as a child, though not a good trait to make a living as a journalist as an adult.
Well, you could always interview people.  I have absolutely no training as a journalist and my blog has only been up since October 1st and we’re going to break 5,000 views tonight, so, happy new year!
Sweet!  I do some interviews on my Hollyburgh blog. It’s fun.

If you went to college, did you manage to pay off your student loans?
I studied art and writing — what do you think?
Collection agencies are only allowed to call once a day.  If they call more than once per day they are in violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).  If you remind them of their restrictions by law they stop calling.  It doesn’t help your credit history any, but at least it stops those annoying phone calls at random times of the day.
I haven’t been sent to collections.  It’s nothing like that.  I’m paying them off on time — just very, very slowly.

Any pets? If so, what are they and what are their names?
No pets.  I’m incapable of keeping plants alive.

What is your favorite animal?
My mom’s been really into saving African elephants recently, so we’ll go with that.

Speaking of pets, any pet peeves?
The excessive overuse of portmanteaus.  We have words.  We don’t need to combine them to make new ones.  We need to learn to use them ones we have correctly.  Like “impact.”  It wasn’t supposed to be a verb.  It’s perverse.
My friend Josh studied Japanese in college.  He told me that his teacher was frustrated that he wasn’t learning any new Japanese words from his Japanese friends because the Japanese were just taking American words and adding “u” to them.  Cell phone?  Cellu phoneu.  Congratulations America!  Way to make the whole world sink to your level.

Favorite / Least favorite Food:
I love fried chicken in strip, wing, breast, and drumstick form.  I recently discovered that I hate coconut water, and that no amount of mezcal can make a scorpion taste good.
Scorpions aren’t food.  Neither is sea urchin.

What is your favorite quotation / motto / saying?
“Be excellent to each other.  Party on, dude.”  It’s from Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure. It’s timeless.  And the world would be perfect if we all lived by it.  Free of royal ugly dudes and teetotalling warmongers, who are most non-triumphant.
George Carlin!  I wholeheartedly agree.
You’d probably love Doug Stanhope’s bit on royalty.

What is the best thing you’ve ever done?
I wrote a satirical novel about zombies in the office and it was published.

What is the worst thing you’ve ever done?
I was at Busch Gardens when I was 15, playing that game in which you have to toss a metal ring over a glass coke bottle.  It’s easier to make a shot from half-court with a whole arena watching.  The guy running the game was — how should I put this delicately? — Special Olympics material.  When his back was turned, I gently placed the ring on the Coke bottle and celebrated.  He turned around and congratulated me. I guess I was punished immediately, as I won a giant bear in a tie-dye shirt that I had to drag around the park the rest of the day.
My father bought me balloons to celebrate my high school graduation.  Unfortunately, he had the balloons delivered by balloon-o-gram.  So this guy in a tux with tails holding a dozen balloons wanders onto the high school football field trying to find me.  That was pretty embarrassing.  I don’t know why I felt like telling you that.  Something like being burdened by the rewards of an ill-gained success I guess.
My father sent me a propeller hat and stick-on mustaches in college.  Luckily, they were not hand delivered.

If you could kill one person, who would it be, and why?
A female local morning news anchor. It doesn’t matter which one exactly.  They’re all the same.  It would deliver a message to the rest.  No ooh-ing and ah-ing.  Not every story deserves the baby panda treatment.  No mentions of being a chocoholic.  Nothing about anything that is slimming.  I’d kill one so thousands may learn.
I’d help you plan your escape.  If Katie Couric’s head shows up as a tree-topper in Rockefeller plaza next Christmas, this conversation never happened.
They can all ogle Channing Tatum from Hell.

What do you do?
I’m a writer of everything — from novel-length horror satire to screenplays to blogging about the Pittsburgh film scene.
Had any luck with your screenplays?  I’ve written a few but none have made it to the production stage yet.  It’s nice getting paid for my work, but I really just want the ego gratification of having an awesome IMDB page.
I sold a couple horror screenplays when I was 22.  Not for much money, as they were intended for straight-to-DVD release.  They haven’t even made it that far… So, sadly, no IMDB page for me either.
Oh, I’ve got one.  I just want an awesomer one.

How did you get started doing what you do?
When I realized that leading my high school softball team to a 2-16 record as captain would never enable me to be the first woman to play major league baseball, I decided to study art in college because I’d always been good at it.  There, I realized that although creating a Kiss concert marionette show in which Paul Stanley broke in half before the guitars kicked in on Detroit Rock City was hilarious in college sculpture class, it would not sustain a career.
Around this time, however, I wrote a short personal essay for a nonfiction writing class that I took on a whim.  It was about crashing a party and drinking American Ice beer (the $8/case runoff that boasts the slogan “Quality brewed to capture the spirit and strength of America”) two days after 9/11/2001.  It was funny and honest and observational about a generation in spite of itself.  And it was chosen as the example for the class.
I was also really into Hunter Thompson and New Journalism, so I got hooked on creative nonfiction.  I realized I was really good.  I was passionate about it and experimental and funny, and the professors loved it, constantly passing out copies of my essays in classes in the last three years of college.
The big thing was realizing that I was really good at something I loved.  I hadn’t experienced that since I was 14 and made the switch from Little League baseball with the guys (who were starting to get a lot bigger than me) to girls softball, in which I was suddenly a power-hitting starting shortstop.  It’s amazing how much more productive you are when you realize that you can do something.  I had always written “A” essays in class, but it wasn’t until I was 19 and I started using humor that I found my niche.

What is your advice to other people that want to get started doing what you do?
Realize what you’re good at.  Sure, look at people you admire and learn from them, but don’t try to be them.  For a while, I attempted to be Hunter Thompson, but there was always something missing.  I’m not a drug and gun nut, nor a political junkie.  I love horror and humor and hockey and hair metal, and apparently alliteration.  I found my own things to rage against, things I’ve experienced — corporate culture.

What are some of the projects you’ve worked on/finished in the past?
Give us a little history if you will.
I’m the author of zombie-comedy novel Working Stiffs.  It’s a satire of corporate politics and our overly medicated world… with zombies.  In order to save money on labor, ex-meth cook turned pharmaceutical CEO and media darling Marshall Owens (the reverse Walter White) abducts the homeless of the street of Pittsburgh and injects them with a virus that turns them into brainless slaves to staff his factory.  The flesh-eating is an inadvertent side effect.  All Hell breaks loose when the factory zombies “unionize” and storm the company headquarters.  It’s up to an eclectic group of corporate drones — led by a self-loathing, heavily tattooed, whiskey-drinking, chain-smoking, hyper-masculine, obsessive compulsive, paranoid gay copywriter — to fend them off with the deadliest of office supplies.
I’ve also sold two horror screenplays that have yet to be produced.  And I run the Hollyburgh blog, in which I cover the Pittsburgh film scene.

What projects are you working on now?
I’m in the slow process of writing my second novel.  It’s a satirical hard-boiled detective story set in a not-so-distant dystopian future.  I don’t want to give away much, but to research I read 1984, Brave New World, The Running Man, countless articles about current medicinal advances, and Bob Probert’s autobiography.

What are you watching?
VH1 Classic’s Metal Mania is on my TV now.  I just watched The Iceman about Richard Kuklinski and saw American Hustle on Christmas.  I fall asleep every night to Sons of Anarchy episodes on Netflix.  A friend of mine paid me $20 to buy the first season of Homeland, so I have to get started on that.

What are you listening to?
Currently binging on Warner Drive.  Awesome band out of LA.  And Men Are Talking — my brother’s hilariouspodcast, which is available on iTunes.

What are you reading?
In Case We Die by Danny Bland and a Mammoth book of Jack the Ripper theories.

Favorite author / book?
Charlie Huston’s Joe Pitt Casebooks, Boomsday by Christopher Buckley, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter Thompson, Vive La Revolution by Mark Steele, The Dirt ostensibly by Motley Crue, Fargo Rock City by Chuck Klosterman, A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan, Invisible Monsters by Chuck Pahlaniuk, The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove by Christopher Moore, Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick, A Confederacy of Dunces by William Kennedy Toole.

Favorite band / song?
Guns N’ Roses is the all-time favorite.  I love too many songs choose a favorite. However, I can say that my favorite Bond theme is “You Know My Name” from the 2006 Casino Royale and my favorite power ballad is “Nobody’s Fool” by Cinderella.
Alright, let me put it this way, there’s an award ceremony in your honor, and you get to pick the song most representative of you to play to hype up your entrance.  Which song is it?
 “You Could Be Mine” by Guns N’ Roses.

Least favorite band / song?
I had never hated anything like I hated Counting Crows’ “The Long December.” That is, until I heard Pearl Jam’s cover of “Last Kiss.”  Many years passed, then Foster the People arrived.  Then came Of Monsters and Men.

Who would you want to meet that you haven’t met?
You get three choices: Alive. Dead. Fictional.
Living: Axl Rose.
Dead: Hunter Thompson.
Fictional: Captain Miles Gloriosus.

What’s the best and worst job you’ve ever had?
I worked as a school photographer when I was in grad school.  Dealing with all those brats.  Yelling and screaming and making ridiculous demands.  Seriously, vice principals are the worst.

Thanks for letting me subject you to being interviewed!

Pitch parade:
Give me all of your links for things you want to promote.   All of them.
Twitter: TheLucyLeitner

About the Interviewee:
By getting Working Stiffs published at 28, Lucy Leitner accomplished her rather dubious goal of being on the same career timeline as Hunter Thompson.  She has worked among the (brain) dead in web writing, print media, and the Japanese machine tool game.  She finds long walks on the beach tedious and filled with sand.  On warm summer nights, she enjoys a glass of red wine and a symposium on the impending zombie apocalypse.  This foresight has elevated her to being the entire Board of Directors at breaking news site  Lucy loves movies about phone booth time travel and bands with an unnecessary amount of X’s in their names.  Known by many aliases, she has parlayed the dollars she won betting on hockey games into an impressive collection of groceries.
Raised in Arlington, VA, she adopted Pittsburgh as her hometown when she arrived in 2001 to attend the University of Pittsburgh.  She earned a masters degree in journalism from Point Park University in 2010.  She has been published as a reporter for two local newspapers, a film critic for an underground punk blog, an SEO blogger, and a creative essayist in a worldwide anthology.  She has also sold two as-of-yet-unproduced horror screenplays and runs Hollyburgh blog in which she covers the burgeoning Pittsburgh film scene.  She also paints and designs things.

About the Interviewer:
Scott Lefebvre can write about whatever you want him to write about.
Mostly because when he was grounded for his outlandish behavior as a hyperactive school child, the only place he was allowed to go was the public library.
His literary tastes were forged by the works of Helen Hoke, Alvin Schwartz and Stephen Gammell, Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson, Stephen King, Clive Barker, Edgar Allan Poe, and H. P. Lovecraft.
He is the author of Spooky Creepy Long Island, and a contributing author to Forrest J. Ackerman’s Anthology of the Living Dead, Fracas: A Collection of Short Friction, The Call of Lovecraft, and Cashiers du Cinemart.
He is currently working on ten novel-length book projects which will be released in 2014.
He also publishes themed collections of interviews from his interview blog You Are Entitled To My Opinion.
His reviews have been published by a variety of in print and online media including Scars Magazine, Icons of Fright, Fatally Yours and Screams of Terror, and he has appeared in Fangoria, Rue Morgue and HorrorHound Magazine.
He is the Assistant Program Director for The Arkham Film Society and produces electronic music under the names Master Control and LOVECRAFTWORK.
He is currently working on a novel-length expansion of a short-story titled, "The End Of The World Is Nigh", a crowd-funded, crowd-sourced, post-apocalyptic, zombie epidemic project.
Check out the blog for the book here:
Check out the Facebook Fan Page for the project here:
Check his author profile at:
Follow him at GoodReads here:
Check out his publishing imprint Burnt Offerings Books here:
And here:
Check out his electronic music here:
And here:
Check out his videos at:
Check out his IMDB profile here:
Follow his Twitter here: or @TheLefebvre
Follow his Tumblr here:
Check out his Etsy here:
Join the group for The Arkham Film Society here:
Stalk his Facebook at:
E-mail him at:

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