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Lauren Beukes

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

The Day Job

Like most writers, I have a day job.

Turns out that writing books barely pays for cat food, let alone the bills, let alone the mortgage on the haunted retro-cool mansion on a rotting quay in a moody bay with strange sightings and stranger, possibly carnivorous plants in the rambling tangle of garden run amok*.

I used to be a full-time freelance journalist, interviewing crazily interesting people from high court judges to township vigilantes, nuclear physicists, electricity thieves, AIDS activists, homeless sex workers, trendy swingers and wannabe teenage vampires among other folk.

But for the last five years I’ve been writing TV, working at Clockwork Zoo on shows like URBO: The Adventures of Pax Afrika and, most recently, as one of five writers (together with Sam Wilson) on the international co-production, Florrie’s Dragons, for Disney’s Playhouse, based on An Vrombaut’s books.

I like the balance, of writing delightful whimsies for preschoolers by day and dark cynical fiction at night. It suits me.

And I’m still in the ridiculously awesome position of getting paid to make stuff up all day** – and working with insanely talented and incredibly nice people.

Florrie’s just started on Disney’s Playhouse in the UK, but the SABC is making noises about licensing it for broadcast, and possibly even dubbing into Sotho and Afrikaans, so hopefully we’ll see it here soon.

In the meantime, here are the promo videos:

YouTube Preview Image YouTube Preview Image YouTube Preview Image

(*This is not a description of my actual house. I wish)

(**and also, by day, writing horror movie scripts about zombie megalodons, Alternate Reality Games for Cherry Flava‘s corporate client and mobi-lit novels for The Shuttleworth Foundation’s cell phone teen literacy project, Yoza, coming up with new TV show ideas, helping work Sarah Lotz‘s Exhibit A into a law drama TV series – yet to be commissioned – and very much enjoying currently directing a documentary on a Cape Flats beauty pageant with a difference.)


Recent comments:

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Sally</a>
    November 10th, 2010 @12:28 #

    Your real-life house is just as cool - a pretty Victorian that screams writer's residence

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Louis Greenberg</a>
    Louis Greenberg
    November 10th, 2010 @12:31 #

    There are day jobs, and there are day jobs. Yours is of the latter variety. How cool is this? An Vrombaut is great - Smile Crocodile Smile is one of BoyZilla's favourites.

    I'm afraid if you keep this up we won't allow you to quit your day job, even when you can.

    As you know, good kids' fiction is dark and cynical too. It teaches critical thinking and a sense of liberated fun which we struggle to cling onto as olds.

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    November 10th, 2010 @12:34 #

    Lovely to see more and more of 'us' returning to the longer form after so many months of twitfacing. I think I shall 'like' this.

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    November 10th, 2010 @12:46 #

    Lauren: admit it -- this is just a very entertaining way of letting us know you have sold your soul to an Animalled Stranger in a sharp suit in exchange for the ability to live without sleep. I'd say "you go girl!", but I think that would be redundant.
    @ Richard: agreed!

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Sarah Lotz</a>
    Sarah Lotz
    November 10th, 2010 @13:59 #

    Yes, the real Lauren house is beautiful and vibey and stuffed full of fabulous art and books and quirky stuff (as Sally says).
    God I miss Clockwork Zoo and working with you guys. Even though it is now 2.14 and I am still in my pjs (the neighbours think I am either under house arrest, the laziest slobbiest person in the world or possibly on some sort of chronic medication).

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Lauren Beukes</a>
    Lauren Beukes
    November 10th, 2010 @14:49 #

    @Louis, An Vrombaut is very cool to work with, she signed off on every story idea through to final script and she's put us in touch with another animation company who we're pitching ideas to at the moment on an awesome show. (Which is why Sam Wilson has spent the day looking at pictures of alpacas today).

    I don't think I would quit my day job, not least cos I find writing at home desperately isolating and the crazy animation team so inspiring to hang out with and collaborate with on hatching mad plans or show ideas. When I take time off to write novels, they let me come into the office to work.

    @Helen, jeez, don't I wish. I don't function on lack of sleep. If you spot such an animalled stranger who can offer that, send 'em my way, quick! (I suspect Sarah has already had dealings with this stranger).

    @Sally and Sarah, yeah, I love my house. But a haunted retro mansion on the lagoon with wild overgrown garden! Okay, wait, that sounds like a maintenance mission...

    Come back, Sarah, we miss you! You can even come in your PJs.

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">tiah</a>
    November 10th, 2010 @16:13 #

    Your day job sounds brilliant.

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Craig Smith</a>
    Craig Smith
    November 10th, 2010 @20:18 #

    Congrats on the series. I'm sure the little ones will enjoy it a lot


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