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Linda's book Microsoft Expression web for Dummies is now released.

This time around, the spotlight focuses on Linda Hefferman. Linda is an accomplished author who’s dedicated to illuminating technical topics to help people succeed with technology and has been exceptionally busy penning the content of a simply must-have book for those starting out with Expression Web. She's working with co-author Asha Dornfest (, who wrote several previous versions of “Microsoft FrontPage for Dummies.” I am sure that Microsoft Expression Web for Dummies, will be a great addition to the Dummies range of excellent publications and I would not mind betting (having communicated with Linda over the months) that the book will contain just the right balance of serious study coupled with just a touch of humour!

Name: Linda Hefferman - Author: Expression web for dummies.

Web Site:

Did you get into trouble at school?

Nope. I was a goodie two shoes. Though I wasn't always well behaved AFTER school (but we won't go into that).

What was your first part time job?

Ironing. 25 cents a piece for my high-school-math-teacher-dad's short-sleeved shirts (which he wore every day with a clip-on bow tie made by my mom and me), 10 cents per handkerchief.

What did you spend your first pay check on?

Dawn dolls. I wasn't allowed to have Barbies. Dawn dolls had boobs and weird-shaped feet, but they were smaller and a little less slutty.

What was your first full time job?

Car hop at an A&W in my hick Northern California small town (population 2,500). The parking lot was sloped and full of gravely pot holes. Even so, people constantly asked me why I wasn't wearing roller skates - to which I retorted, "would you prefer to drink your root beer, or wear it?"

What was the best piece of advice you have ever been given.

There is no such thing as good writing. Only good re-writing.

When did you first get involved with the internet?

When Flash and broadband was the next big thing. I wrote a manual for a broadband, education Web-based program for elementary schools that used Flash cartoons to teach kids about science (like what exactly happens to grass in a cow's many stomachs). The company went belly-up and I just barely got paid. But it sure was fun. I also wrote user manuals for the owners of a fair number of Web-based stores when they first started popping up.

What was/is your worst internet experience?

Trying to place an order at Chipotle for burritos while in a hurry to sneak them into a movie (contraband burritos). That chain restaurant has one of those annoyingly cute and completely infuriating sites where the clickable spots keep disappearing and popping up somewhere else. I ended up with a burrito that didn't at all resemble what I thought I'd ordered.

What was/is your greatest internet experience.

Wondering about something, like the origin of the expression 'heebie jeebies' - and finding the answer, instantly. There. And now you know. Isn't that cool?

What machine set up do you run and what does it say about you?

I have two laptops, side by side, a clunky old Dell Inspiron 8200 and a sleek, new, Toshiba duo-core Satellite with good speakers (Intel inside, always; hubby works for Intel). I write more than I do anything else. And I like to use my laptop to warm my lap in a cozy chair where I can look out the window at my garden.

If you could have invented any product, what would it have been?

The zipper. Stylish, and oh so useful.

What do you like most about the internet?

The adult human brain has over a billion neurons with approximately 100,000 dendrites per neuron. That means the number of possible configurations of the human brain exceeds the number of known atoms in the universe. Wow. That means each one of us is wonderfully unique. The Internet gives ME a place to be ME and YOU a place to be YOU and the opportunity for YOU and ME to meet and hang out, without getting out of our pyjamas.

What do you like least about the internet?

The fact that people spend their lives dreaming up ways to fill our inboxes and ruin our computer systems with complete and utter garbage, nonsense, and maliciousness.

Name one change you would make to the internet?

A way to make people who just want to create a mess for everyone else feel instantly guilty, vow never to do it again, and donate large amounts of money to charity. Seriously, I'm excited about what's coming up: identities, passcards, whatever you call those things that will allow us to log in to a site without setting up yet another password and user name to keep track of.

Which internet site, other than your own, do you most admire?

Actually, I may admire my own after I get around to re-designing it. I'm so busy finishing 'Microsoft Expression Web For Dummies' I haven't been able to work on it... I'm going to be un-original but really honest and say If I were only a designer... what could I do...

Where is the best venue for industry related shows?

San Francisco is pretty nice. Las Vegas is fun, and for me, very cheap to get to. I don't travel much for shows, though. Did that in a previous life.

What single possession would you save if your office/work area caught fire?

That would have to be my computer, the sleek and silent Toshiba. It has all my writing on it (backed up, of course). Other than that, my plastic tiara with the fake jewels and the fluffy pink fur. My writing group gals all have them, and we've infused them with magical powers. I wear it every time I send out a submission or query having to do with my writing.

Do you have any pets?

Two boys (14 and 10), who demand feeding, walking, and schlepping all the time. I work from home, and when they're off to school during the day, I won't tolerate another creature in the house whose life depends on me (the ants, mice, and dust mites fend for themselves).

What hobbies do you have?

Gardening. I swing between overly obsessive or seriously neglectful, but my garden rewards me with exuberant beauty, regardless of which direction I'm inclined to this season. Music. I don't play, but I obsessively surf iTunes and MySpace looking for bands who are bending the forms and combining genres and instruments in kooky and innovative ways.

How do you relax?

A DVD at home with my kids and husband, walks in the woods, and listening to music with my sons. We're compiling an epic playlist of love songs (in all love's healthy and unhealthy manifestations), that spans generations and genres - from Mozart to Marilyn Manson.

What is your favourite tipple?

Okay, I don't have a clue what you're talking about. Must be an England-ism. Oh yeah. I can look it up on the Internet. Ein Moment, bitte... Define: tipple. 'A place where the mine cars tipped their loads;' hmmm... probably not. 'The very tip of a nipple;' this is not that kind of site... 'Drink moderately but regularly' bingo! A drink? Well, I've never been known to turn down a dry gin martini with two onions and an olive.

How many times a year do you holiday?

Summer, sort of. Well, the kids are off in the summer and since I work at home, they're always around, getting in the way of my subjects and predicates. So we do a fair number of little trips, and some long ones. And spring break. But the last time I had a holiday where I didn't have to think about anyone's stomach but my own, was spring time in Nice, 2002. And that was NICE!

What is your idea of heaven?

A place where I don't have to think about what everyone is going to eat for every meal of every day.

What is your idea of hell?

A place where everyone is always hungry and it's my job to feed them (some days feel like that, right here, chez moi). I actually like to cook, sort of, and am a good cook, but the grind of every meal every day is, well, a grind.

Which one record and one book would you want if you were stuck on a dessert island?

Wow. It's so hard to choose... Record: Modest Mouse, 'Good News for People Who Love Bad News.' Or Jason Webley, 'Against the Night' (bad-a_s accordion player). I never tire of listening to those two. Book: Without a doubt, 'Bel Canto' by Ann Patchett. I'd probably starve and die of heat stroke, but I'd die happy, swooning over the way she describes music and its effect on people of all cultures, with such lusciously crafted sentences. Do we even have the same verbs and nouns we're working with, here?

Who would you like to be stuck in a lift with?

David Bowie. If we couldn't get out, he would probably sing, which would be heaven. Or Sacha Baron Cohen, for the laughing.

If you could be anyone, living or dead, who would you be?

You know, I'm pretty happy in my own skin.

Choose five words to describe yourself?

helpful, kind, funny (according to my 10-year-old), obsessive

Any regrets in life?

I spent too much time worrying about silly things that don't matter.

Do you have any unfulfilled ambitions?

To play an instrument, well. To write a novel that makes people feel the way Bel Canto made me feel.

What was your most embarrassing moment?

Why would I put THAT on the Internet?

If you had to choose another career, what would it be?

A rock & roll singer. But I can't sing that well. Oh well. Next life, please.

How do you see the internet evolving over the next 24 months?

Slicker, more 3-D looking and feeling. But just because we have the technology doesn't mean it will be used correctly. There will still be horrid web sites that are gorgeous to look at. And I hope they get that Internet id card thing going pretty soon!

It amuses me that words have different meanings, so it was particularly funny to see Linda's definitions of a tipple! Thanks so much Linda for taking the time. I am sure the book will be beside many Expression web users monitors!

Microsoft MVP


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