Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
This question's always hard, because I consider myself horribly uninteresting! I'm a bit of an introvert, and I tend to keep to myself. I'm a geek, a horror movie fanatic, a self-described neo-Victorian, and a weirdo. I'm a generalist to the point of distraction, and one idea or one opinion or one school of thought can never hold my attention or allegiance for long. I love poofy ball gowns, makeup, explosions, and moldy books. In my heart I feel more pity for Jason Voorhees than fear. I eat far too much candy.
What inspired you to write Dearly, Departed?
It started as a joke, really! After reading some paranormal romances, I started talking with a friend about how I've always preferred monstrous men and odd, sentient creatures to handsome heroes. It's a tendency that's been with me since childhood, and I've never been able to figure out where it came from. (But my childhood did offer plenty of fodder for it - I grew up with the television version of Beauty and the Beast, with Gargoyles, all these fabulous shows with unconventional heroes.) At any rate, I made a quip about "zombies need love, too," and he challenged me to try it - and so I did. The ideas flew fast and furious, and I finished the first draft of D,D in about 45 days.
Can you tell us how you came to love steampunk?
I think I loved it before I knew that it existed! I grew up reading Victorian novels and loving Victorian paintings and movies and whatnot, and there are so many actual Victorian works that are arguably steampunk - Verne, Wells, Leroux, on and on. So when I stumbled upon the subgenre, it immediately made aesthetic and narrative sense to me, and I just jumped on in - mostly online.
If you could cast anyone as Nora and Bram, past or present, who would you choose?
In my head, Nora's always Emily Browning - she has that dollish, innocent look about her. (I think even Bram loves the fact that she looks like this sweet little Victorian princess and she has such a foul mouth and stubborn personality!). And there's a French actor named Gaspard Ulliel who'd be an awesome Bram. Of course, if he could be ANYONE, I'd pick young Vincent Price (circa Dragonwyck), just because I'm in passionate, pathetic love with Vincent Price and always will be. (I mean, come on. COME ON. Photo: Vincent Prince CLICK HERE)
Was there a particular scene or chapter that was hardest to write?
Probably the reveals with Averne and Wolfe, just because their motivations and actions were so complicated. Writing bad guys is something I struggle with - every writer has their weak points, and I'm very honest about mine. It's odd that I'm so bad at it, because I normally end up siding with the "bad" guys, like I said! In fact, that may be part of it...I love them too much, I can justify their actions, I can see reason where there is no reason at all.
How difficult was it to juggle writing from five separate points of view?
It's not that difficult for me, really. I like switching back and forth, because otherwise the narration would be so boring, especially for something so busy. I'm working on a project now that has one voice, and I'm struggling because I want to jump into the other main character's head, see what he's thinking. I'm just so scattered; I want to experience everything.
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Write what you love, and have fun with it. I don't mean "have fun all the time whee!" in a shallow sense; writing is serious, sometimes painful work. But if it's all pain, if there are no moments of amusement or deep involvement with the characters, or if it always feels like a chore, you're doing something wrong, I think. And don't let anyone tell you your ideas are silly, or gross, or crazy - because you never know how far those silly, gross, crazy things will take you.
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Love can never die.
Love conquers all, so they say. But can Cupid’s arrow pierce the hearts of the living and the dead—or rather, the undead? Can a proper young Victorian lady find true love in the arms of a dashing zombie?
The year is 2195. The place is New Victoria—a high-tech nation modeled on the manners, mores, and fashions of an antique era. A teenager in high society, Nora Dearly is far more interested in military history and her country’s political unrest than in tea parties and debutante balls. But after her beloved parents die, Nora is left at the mercy of her domineering aunt, a social-climbing spendthrift who has squandered the family fortune and now plans to marry her niece off for money. For Nora, no fate could be more horrible—until she’s nearly kidnapped by an army of walking corpses.
But fate is just getting started with Nora. Catapulted from her world of drawing-room civility, she’s suddenly gunning down ravenous zombies alongside mysterious black-clad commandos and confronting “The Laz,” a fatal virus that raises the dead—and hell along with them. Hardly ideal circumstances. Then Nora meets Bram Griswold, a young soldier who is brave, handsome, noble . . . and dead. But as is the case with the rest of his special undead unit, luck and modern science have enabled Bram to hold on to his mind, his manners, and his body parts. And when his bond of trust with Nora turns to tenderness, there’s no turning back. Eventually, they know, the disease will win, separating the star-crossed lovers forever. But until then, beating or not, their hearts will have what they desire.
In Dearly, Departed, romance meets walking-dead thriller, spawning a madly imaginative novel of rip-roaring adventure, spine-tingling suspense, and macabre comedy that forever redefines the concept of undying love.
Lia Habel is giving away an AUDIO BOOK copy of Dearly, Departed to one lucky commenter.
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* Giveaway Ends February 19th.
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Good luck everyone!!