February 13, 2012

AAD Author Spotlight: Interview with Lia Habel + Giveaway!

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.

Author Links:

Purchase Dearly, Departed:
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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.

* Leave a meaningful comment below and a way to contact you if you should win.
* Winner will be announced on our Facebook & Twitter page.
* Giveaway Ends February 19th.
* Winner will be chosen at Random.

Good luck everyone!!


  1. Lia shared really great writing advice. One of the hardest things that I have found when I tell people (very few so far) what I am writing about is they think I'm nuts. That being said, I try not to take it to heart because people think I'm crazy most of the time anyways. :)

    If Dearly, Departed is ever made into a movie and Gaspard Ulliel is cast... I think I would have to go to the theater at least fifty times to see it. I just spent the last twenty minutes drooling over the pictures on Google of that delicious man!

    pherlaithiel (at) gmail (dot) com

  2. I love the cover it reminds me of the older covers for Vampire kisses. This book sounds like it would be fun to listen too.

  3. I really want to read this book. I have for a while. Please enter me in contest. Thanks for the giveaway. Tore923@aol.com

  4. I got to review this book before it came out and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised! Great interview D!

  5. I clicked on the picture of Vincent Price, and a younger Vincent isn't bad at all. Thanks for the great interview. It sounds like a great book.

    lisaisabookworm at gmail dot com

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. Great interview! I too was in love with steampunk when I was younger, not knowing it was steampunk. Jules Verne is probably my favorite science fiction writer of all time.
    Thanks so much for the chance to win! I've really been wanting to read Dearly Departed and LOVE listening to audio books!


  8. Wonderful interview! I love that Lia Habel uses the alternating method of different points of view. I love it when authors do that because while one character is doing something or say something I'm always thinking in my head what is the other character thinking about whats going on.

    Thanks for the giveaway :) This books sounds amazing!

    rottinawayxP at yahoo dot com

  9. Great interview, I have been dying to read Dearly, Departed. It just sounds so different and good. I love that Lia likes monstrous men more than the handsome heroes :) That line really made me giggle. And how true it can be in some cases.

    Thanks for the giveaway.

  10. Wow. I feel like such a dunce for missing this book in 2011. I don't do anything zombie, but I think Dearly, Departed may just convert me! The story sounds fabulous, but above that, the Lia is so genuine. I love it!

    Thank you both for the giveaway :-)


  11. I just really recently started reading zombie books! I've been building up to it slowly since I really didn't think I would like them, but I was so wrong! This book sounds fabulous and may be the one to pull me right into it! Thanks :)

    thebumblegirl at rocketmail dot com

  12. Great interview! I've been wanting to read Dearly Departed since it came out, thanks for the giveaway!

  13. I just love reading about you, Lia Habel! I don't think you are boring at all! I read a chapter sampler of your book and immediately got on a waiting list for it. I'm still only number 20 and it's been foreeeeeeever!!

    gingerrodent (at) aol DOT com

  14. Great interview! I have this book on my wishlist. I think this book sounds amazing. Thanks for the chance.

    sariahwalters at gmail dot com

  15. Great interview! I love the fact that the zombies in Dearly, Departed are not mindless brain-eaters. I honestly don't enjoy that. I don't know Gaspard Ulliel, I must look him up immediately.
    Thanks for the giveaway!

  16. I enjoyed the interview. I really would like to win this book. I am on a zombie kick lately and this is a different story line for zombies. Thanks!

    Rachel V
    pefrw at yahoo dot com

  17. I recently read Dearly, Departed (review coming soon) and really enjoyed it! I'd love to have a copy of my very own, since the one I read came from the library. Bram might honestly be my favorite zombie of all time.

    attackthestacks at gmail dot com

  18. I have been on a Zombie book craze and I would love to add this one to my collection. I love the cover of the book, the art is as perfect as the story itself. Thank you for the chance to win.

    - Beckie @ Bittersweet Enchantment


  19. Great interview. Love bad boys. Good guys are so ... boring! Thanks for the giveaway!

  20. I had no idea this book was written from five different points of view. It's been on my TBR for awhile now - but now, I'm really curious about how she makes that work. I also was totally in love with the Victorian era so stumbling upon Steampunk was amazing! Can't wait to read Dearly, Departed =)


  21. I didn't know that the book was written from five points of view either! That's amazing. I can't imagine the skill that it takes to make that work! I've had this on my wishlist forever! I've never read an audio book so winning this would be double the prize! Thank you for the chance!

  22. Sorry! I forgot to add the email.