Saturday, November 3, 2012

Working Stiffs by Lucy Leitner: Interview & Excerpt



Something has gone horribly wrong in the Pro-Well Pharmaceuticals factory and ex-meth dealer Marshall Owens, the companies owner and drug genius, must keep the surrounding Pittsburgh area from finding out. Unfortunately, the undead assembly line workers have other plans.

The infection spreads and chaos reigns supreme as the surviving Pro-Well employees battle their way through offices with whatever weapons they can scrounge from the supply closet. They must get outside. But they don't know that The General is out there amassing a shambling, rotting army of Pittsburgh's finest.

Will the employees make it?

Will two repulsive works find love in a janitors closet?

How many office workers can one man take down with the blade of a paper cutter and some staplers?

Will Own Marshall go back to selling meth?

And most important of all, will Pro-Well's stock value plummet?

Find out all the answers in this brilliant new horror/comedy novel reminiscent of the style of Christopher Moore.

Marshall Owens was awakened in his lavish 32nd-floor penthouse apartment in the heart of downtown Pittsburgh with some disturbing news. There was a work stoppage at the factory. All the projects that he had rescued from a life on the street had revolted. Apparently, a living foreman was required at all times, one with electrical impulses and more motivation than an insatiable hunger for human flesh (which really wasn’t all that hard to come by). Marshall Owens flailed in his 7,000- count Egyptian silver sheets for a few moments after receiving the call from his loyal assistant Harold. Composing himself, he eased out of his God-sized bed in his silk sleep tuxedo and slipped into his $5,000 leather-soled, chinchilla-fur, Armani pink bunny slippers. He shuffled across his plush bedroom carpet on the second floor of the penthouse and turned the solid-gold handle on the bathroom door.
He looked at his unpleasant visage in the diamond-rimmed mirror and shuddered. Shifting his blue-eyed gaze to Monet’s Rouen Cathedral hanging above the gold toilet, he combed his deep brown hair plugs, kicked off his slippers, and hopped into the shower.
After he buffed his fingernails, put on his tailored suit, and sipped a cup of the most unfairly traded coffee he could find, he would go down to that plant of his and discipline his living employees for allowing such a travesty to occur.
That was the original plan.
But an hour and thirteen minutes later, when his chauffeured Escalade (Owens was well aware that the gas-guzzling SUV posed quite the contradiction to his environmental initiatives, but he felt that he needed a big car to complement his big lifestyle. And the Prius was kinda queer anyway) arrived at the factory, there were no employees left. No paid guards, no mutant slaves. Well, parts of the guards were still scattered on the floor, and the CEO of Pro-Well Pharmaceuticals, the savior of the South Side, the darling of local media, the most successful twelve-stepper in the history of Narcotics Anonymous, was greeted by a grisly scene of bones, blood, and security uniforms.
This was not a good way to start the day.


Tell us about your current release.

Working Stiffs is a hilarious tale of zombies in the office. To cut labor costs, disfigured ex-meth dealer turned CEO of Pro-Well Pharmaceuticals Marshall Owens has been abducting the homeless from the streets of Pittsburgh and injecting them with a virus that turns them into zombies. But when the undead slaves unionize — sort of — and invade the corporate headquarters, a motley crew of white-collar office employees must fight them off with the most mundane office supplies.


My debut novel, the book was published by Necro Publications in June in paperback, e-book, and limited edition hardcover.


What are your hero and heroine of the story like?

My unlikely hero is Hank, a heavily tattooed, chain-smoking, obsessive-compulsive, self-loathing, misanthropic, muscular, whiskey drinking gay man. He’s trapped in a dead-end job at Pro-Well and, oddly enough, comes alive during the zombie apocalypse. In a non-flesh eating way. Though his traits are very specific, the sentiment behind Hank seems to transcend labels and he has proven an identifiable character.


How do you describe your writing style?

Really dark humor with satirical elements and one-liners. I like to think that I tend to write in a cross between academic and surfer dude. Like if Jeff Spicoli aced the verbal section of his SATs.


Tell us about your family.

We celebrate Daylight Savings Time. And, no, there is no Festivus Pole involved. But there is raclette cheese.


As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Up until about the 8th grade, I was planning on being the first female to ever play major league baseball.


What are your favorite TV shows?

I have seen very few TV shows, but when I like one, I will watch every episode countless times. Those include Dexter, Twin Peaks, Arrested Development, Oz (the first 4½ seasons), and Seinfeld.


What is your favorite meal?

Let’s just say that if I were on death row, there would be a request for chicken strips and Twizzlers.


Do you have a favorite quote, quip, or saying? What is it?

From my favorite movie of all time that has caused me much embarrassment in academics over the years when I pronounce “Socrates” phonetically, the illustrious Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure: “Be excellent to each other. Party on, dude.” Words to live by.

Lucy Leitner is the author of the zombie comedy novel Working Stiffs. Though she was raised in Arlington, VA, she adopted Pittsburgh as her hometown when she arrived in 2001 to attend the University of Pittsburgh. She has written for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and Pittsburgh City Paper, and received the Society of Professional Journalists' Mark of Excellence Award for an investigative piece she penned while pursuing her masters in journalism at Point Park University.

When not working on her second novel, Lucy chronicles Pittsburgh's burgeoning film industry at 
Hollyburgh and imagines the news of today as if the zombie apocalypse had occurred at The Daily Ghoul .

Lucy Leitner social media links:


1 comment:

katsrus said...

That was a great interview and excerpt. Going have to add this one to my reading.
Sue B