July 15, 2011 by polishsnausage
Lynn Beighley, or as she’s known to me, LB, is the next on the chopping block for our Meet The Author segment. Delight in our rapport.
HeartOnSleeveReview: Hello, Lynn, and welcome to the questioning. Please speak loudly and clearly into the microphone. This question was sent to me by a reader in Oshkosh, Wisconsin: did you put the bop in the bopshoobopshoobop?
Lynn Beighley: In my defense, let me point out that without that bopbopbop, all we’d have is shooshoo. And I didn’t just willy-nilly insert those bops. I gave it much consideration and no small measure of anguish. I tried a variety of things before I settled on those bops in precisely those spots. I tried increasing the number of shoos: shooshooshooshooshoo. People thought I was making train noises. And adding extra ooooos: shooooooooshoooooooooshooooooooo. And it was okay, right up to the point when the clerk at Costco slipped me the tongue as I was buying a gross of Twizzlers. And then… what? Why do you shoosh me? Bop you.
HOSR: Well, Lynn, I think you’ve come up with the perfect bop/shoo ratio. Your use of bop’s and shoo’s is precise, deliberate, and deadly. And thanks for the Twizzlers. Hey, I just Googled you. Tell me, Lynn–how does that make you feel? And please, be honest. This is prosperity’s sake.
LB: Dirty. Filthy. I like it.
HOSR: I am a pro at making people feel that way. It’s a gift. A terrible, terrible gift. Lynn “Hammertime” Beighley, according to your Google + (plus) profile info, you are female–true or false? And do you have any invites left?
LB: I know the name “Lynn” is sometimes given to men, strange effeminate men who bear it with pride and dignity. I am, however, startlingly female. You want an invite to my femaleness? It’s on the way.
HOSR: I named my parakeet Lynn when I was a kid. No I didn’t. And thanks for the invite. I am busy that night, but I might swing by if I have the chance later. Is it okay if I bring a friend? He’s cool. So, it’s with great pride, and a dash of healthy fear that I say you are a published author of many technical computer book-y things, “Drupal For Dummies” being one of them. Do you ever get your tech writing confused with your fiction? “In this version of Drupal For Dummies, we learn that Matilda is sleeping with her aerobics instructor.”
LB: Real geeks don’t do aerobics, so I can’t speak to whether Matilda is doing her instructor.
In all seriousness, yes. My two bestselling computer books are filled with stories about killer clown mobs, Elvis impersonators, and
many-tentacles aliens. People love that shit. Why must information that is inherently boring be made even more so by tiresome writing? I think more boring topics ought to be taught with narrative. If you can get away with putting a pack of snarling cookie-pimping Girl Scouts in your book about databases, you damn well should.
On the other hand, putting PHP code in a short story just doesn’t work as well. I should know, I’ve done that too:
HOSR: Well, Tammy told me Matilda was “getting her workout,” if you know what I mean. Seriously. She looks great; really toned and has lost some weight. And I agree with you–books that are full of trade lingo and other jargon are made more “huh?” worthy when written by humorless authors, so I appreciate your effort in making a daunting subject more entertaining. LB, what is the most blatant lie you’ve ever told?
LB: Every time I claim an angsty, lonely female in one of my stories isn’t me. They’re all me. Obviously.
HOSR: Obviously. A piece of ourselves always manages to surface in our writing. Take me, for instance; I have a bit of toenail clipping in my story “Death Rides A Donkey.” Third paragraph down. Being a bona fide author lady, with books gracing the shelves of our local Borders and Nobel, how do you react to a bad review of one of your books?
LB: It varies. Here’s how it usually goes:
* Whine, bitch, and complain. Become impossible to be around for a few days. Drink myself into a stupor.
* Clearly he needs to be more generous. I google the tasteless wanker and find his email address. I create a craigslist ad in which he’s
offering both men and women very kind services. It’ll be good practice.
* Fashion a voodoo doll in his form out of meat and feed it to my large, slavering dogs.
* Tell my publisher about it and get them to pressure Amazon to take it down.
HOSR: Meat Critic! Damn, now I’m hungry. And I think I responded to that ad…*ahem* Speaking of tasteless wankers, would you ever be interested in writing a childrens book?
LB: Interested, yes. Not sure kids would want to read what I write, though. I don’t do happy endings very often, and I generally steer away from fantasy.
HOSR: I think you should pursue the kids book genre, and keep with your cynical approach. I think that’d be rather funny, actually. Teach kids real world applications by keeping it real–don’t sugar coat anything for them. I feel kind of ooky for asking this next question now, given our current topic, but…do you ever write naked?
LB: I’m naked right now. Like you didn’t see that coming.
HOSR: I did NOT see that coming!! Oh MAN! Talk about a plot twist! It’s like the movie “Inception,” but in like, interview form! Okay, serious question, which requires and equally as serious answer: would you ever try stand-up comedy?
LB: Try it? You ever seen me standing? Pure comedy gold. But yes, I have tried it. Took a class once. Teacher’s pet. Why are you asking me this? You think I’m funny? *Here’s where I’d insert some of the “How am I funny” bit from Goodfella’s, except it’s been done so often it’s not funny.*
HOSR: “Smell this milk. Does it smell funny to you?” Is that the line you’re talking about? But seriously? You took comedy classes? Or, at least stand-up comedy classes? That’s awesome! I”ve been told I should try it myself, but there’s a fine line between telling jokes to amuse yourself and being genuinely funny enough to entertain a crowd without getting mercilessly booed off the stage. Okay, back to the writing portion of the interview: have your dogs ever eaten any of your manuscripts?
LB: They haven’t, but they would if they could figure out how to press the print button. No thumbs, don’t you know.
HOSR: Everybody’s a comedian…My dog proofread a manuscript of mine once, then promptly took a steaming crap on it. I think he was trying to tell me something, but he just won’t use his people words to communicate with me. I wish I knew what he was thinking at that moment! Lynn? Do you admire your own work?
LB: I think it’s something like how I hate the sound of my own voice, or seeing myself in most photographs.
I don’t have strong emotions about my tech books, in general. But my fiction? I hate it. I despise it. I’d spit on it, but I get tired of
cleaning off my monitor. This loathing lasts for a few days, sometimes longer. But then I move on, and weeks later when I revisit my reviled work, I think, “hey, this isn’t that bad.” Sometimes I actually like it. I don’t think I ever reach the level of admiration.
HOSR: We writers be a self-loathing bunch, aren’t we? “This is crap!!” But yet, we are also gluttons for punishment, and like you said, we go back to what we’ve written in hopes that it has cleaned up its act, and in most cases, we find it really isn’t that bad. And it’s good to maintain that level of humility because then we encroach upon Hemingway’s territory and get all big-headed and drunk and shoot rhinos and shit. I am getting of topic here. Lynn of Beighley, what’s the greatest thing you’ve learned in school?
LB: How to look like I’m paying attention when I’m in my own happy little world. It’s invaluable in business meetings.
HOSR: Good lesson! Mine was “learn to like the things the other kids don’t want to eat at lunch.” Ka-ching. Back to the more serious questions. What makes you cry?
LB: Unrequited love. And puppies and kittens playing together under an umbrella on the beach.
HOSR: Do the puppies and kitties have an unrequited love affair? Imagine it–one puppy and one kitty: from two different worlds…and species…but brought together by their shared love for romping and frolicking. Their love was pure and genuine, but their families forbade it, and refused to let them see each other, but the puppy and kitty found ways to meet in secret, where their love grew to other-wordly proportions. They made plans to elope, to live a life together, free from the tyranny of their families. They were to meet on the beach at midnight and leave for a new life together, but sadly and tragically, the puppy got ran over by a Jeep full of surfers. I call it “Ro-MEOW and Drool-iette.” (get it? The kitty is Ro-meow because the kitty meows…and the doggy is Drool-iette, because doggies drool a lot.)
Hey, are you jealous of other writers? I bet you’re quite jealous of me after I free-associated that goddamn tear-jerker of a story ON THE SPOT.
LB: There are some writers who are so incredibly skilled that all I can do is gaze at their words, mouth agape, spittle dripping down my chin on to the page. It’s not pretty. (SIDENOTE: I seem to want to talk about drooling and spitting. I don’t know why.)
HOSR: If you don’t drool on or around yourself at least once a day, you ain’t livin’ your life right, I always say. And agreed again. There are writers out there who I read and think to myself, “Erin, this is what it’s supposed to be like. Do this.” I hope some day I can come somewhat close to that. Anyway, I digress. If you could give up the tech writing gig and focus primarily on fiction, would you do so?
LB: YES. YESyesyesyesyesyes. Yes. May I?
HOSR: Jesus, Lynn. Answer the damn question. Would you or wouldn’t you? God…so difficult sometimes…. What makes you laugh?
LB: Damnyouautocorrect.com. My paycheck. Certain politicians.
HOSR: I spend at least one half of an hour daily snorting and crying tears of joy at the Damn You! site. My paycheck is also quite funny, but not “funny ha ha,” more “funny…can’t eat yet.” And I won’t get in to a political debate because my mommy told me it wasn’t safe. Lynniekins, what was the most demeaning thing said about you as a writer, aside from me just calling you “Lynniekins”?
LB: Jeez, I don’t know. Have you heard something? What? What? Actually, recently someone told me she didn’t like my brilliant novel
idea. She can be found in effigy as the digesting remains of a voodoo doll made of meat in my dogs’ lower intestines.
HOSR: I’ve seen “Voodoo Doll Made of Meat” in concert. Fucking AWESOME!! They totally throw zombie dust in your eyes. Have you seen the Muffin Man? He owes me money.
LB: Wait, he owes YOU money? What, are you his muffin dealer?
HOSR: Yes. He owes me money. Eezee E don’t play around wit’ my hoes not payin’ me my money. Speaking of whoring yourself out for money, do you wish you had written the Harry Potter or Twilight series?
LB: Yes, because I’d be fabulously wealthy and able to focus on writing something much better than either of those series. And I’d buy a pony.
HOSR: I want to rewrite the Twilight series so that Chuck or whatever-the-fuck his name is dies a horrible, brutal, and often times hilarious death in each and every book. And while we’re on the death and dying kick, if you were going to commit a murder, how would you do it? And remember to speak clearly and loudly for the microphone….
LB: Oh sure, I’d [REDACTED]. And then he’d be dead.
HOSR: I totally want to play “Good Cop, Bad Cop” now. Or watch “Turner and Hooch.” Or just drink some hooch. So, Lynn. One of my favorite stories from you is “Having Sex With The Dog In The Room.” Was this written from experience?
LB: What do you take me for? Of course it was.
HOSR: Lynn? What’s sex? And what’s your favorite fruit?
LB: Stephen Fry. Oh, you said what, not who. Umm, cherries. I like cherries.
HOSR: My answer to both “what and who is my favorite fruit” is Elton Jonagold apples. I’m clever. LYNN!! Is there any genre that you won’t write?
LB: It’s more “can’t” than won’t. I’d have a tough time sticking to the rules of a genre and I’d likely write something that would have no chance of getting picked up by a publisher.
HOSR: Yeah, not a lot of desire for Harlequin/slasher novels these days. Tragic, really. Second to last question: who would play you in a film about your life?
LB: Someone told me that I look like Charlize Theron. But then they went on to say that I look like Charlize Theron playing Aileen Wuornos, serial killer, in the movie “Monster.” This is not flattering.
HOSR: I look like Mike Wazowski from the movie “Monsters Inc.” so we are kind of twinsies. Last question, because I have brownies in the oven–how do you like your eggs?
LB: Egg white omelette. Chives. A little feta. Bacon.
HOSR: You had me at “little feta.” Lynn, I thank you kindly for taking the time out of your busy Twitter schedule to talk with me.
Lynn “LB” Beighley is a fiction writer stuck in a technical book writer’s body. Upon discovering that technical book writing actually paid real money, she learned to accept and enjoy it.
After going back to school to get a Masters in Computer Science, she worked for the acronyms NRL and LANL. Then she discovered Flash, and wrote her first bestseller.
A victim of bad timing, she moved to Silicon Valley just before the great crash. She spent several years working for Yahoo! and writing other books and training courses. Finally giving in to her creative writing bent, she moved to the New York area to get an MFA in Creative Writing.
Lynn loves traveling, cooking, and making up elaborate background stories about complete strangers. She’s a little scared of clowns.
Lynn’s writing can be taken in at http://www.fictionaut.com/users/lynn-beighley, and seriously folks, she’s a published author of tech books. Check out her profile on Amazon if you need to make your Drupal less droopy.