TQ: What inspired you to become a writer?
Lia: I still feel very much like I stumbled into it. I never planned to become a writer, or even made it a cherished dream - occasionally I'd dabble, or think of seriously working on something, but I don't think that I ever truly believed I had the talent or the ability to make it my career. I never made a study of creative writing, either, although I did plenty of academic writing. More than anything, I just got into the habit of writing for my own amusement or to banish ideas from my head by getting them down on paper, and I'm as amazed as anyone that it's gotten me this far.
TQ: What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?
Lia: Definitely revisions and the various stages of editing. The first draft can often be deceptively easy - I liken it to slapping clods of clay together in the rough shape of a statue. That part's fast, sloppy, even enormously fun. But then you enter the refining period, where you have to squeeze and snip that clay down to the bare minimum needed in some areas, while building it out into fanciful, delicate, self-supporting branches in others. You have to question your own intentions, your own ability, your own skill level. That's the worst part of the editing process, for me...the fact that it's a bit like gaslighting yourself. Constantly second-guessing yourself, be it over the motivations of a character or the spelling of a word you've known since middle school, fills you with a horrible sense of doubt that can have a negative impact on your work if you let it. As you can see, I take editing really seriously! It's also just generally tedious; trust me, by the end of the process, I never want to read my own book ever again.
TQ: What writing achievement are you most proud of?
Lia: I'm most proud of the fact that so many readers have told me, "I never liked zombies, but I like yours," or better yet, "I still hate zombies, but I love Bram!" I've always been so pro-monster, such a lover of monstrous characters, that it's incredibly moving to know that I've been allowed to contribute yet another lovable weird guy to the ranks. And I see that as my mission and brand going forward...I'm the Monster Girl. (A friend listed me on her wedding website as, "Lia: She writes monster porn and wears wigs"!) I turn dead flesh, multiple arms, and fangs into, if not desirable traits, traits that readers can live with - because the guys and girls sporting them are otherwise so interesting and engaging.
TQ: What one thing should everyone know about your writing?
Lia: How much it sucks out of me! I've been praised before for talking about how hard writing is, and I'm glad that I'm able to (although I don't do it often, lest I come across as horribly depressed). I think sometimes people get the idea that an author's life is all tea and pretty notebooks in ivory towers, that everything comes to us easily, that we're page prodigies. We're not. It takes a lot of effort, a lot of tears and rageful rants, and a lot of hours to bring you the things you like to read about. D,D actually put me on anti-anxiety drugs for a while. That said, I do love doing it, and what it does suck out of me is then there on the page, hopefully making my work more personal and meaningful.
TQ: Please tell us about your latest and upcoming works.
Lia: The sequel to Dearly, Departed - Dearly, Beloved - comes out on September 25th. It's a little darker than D,D, but we're now dealing with a fundamentally changed world and a set of ever-changing societies. I'm really proud of the way some of the characters from D,D developed, though - there are a couple of one-liner characters from the first book that become pivotal in the second, and I hope to continue that trend moving forward. I'm not contracted for any more books in the Dearly series after this, so we're going to have to go to proposal in order to continue the story. I'd like to eventually have four or five books. As far as teasers go, here's one - you're either going to love or hate the ending.
Meanwhile, I'm working on two other projects - SUCKER, which is a cyberpunkish novel that is either anti-religion or pro-religion depending on how you look at it, and ATOMIC AGE, which is my homage to all the great 1950s sci-fi and horror movies I was raised on. Both involve monsters, and both are YA.
TQ: Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.
Dearly, DepartedGone with the Respiration1
Del Rey, October 18, 2011
Hardcover and eBook, 480 pages
Trade Paperback, August 14, 2012
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.
Dearly, BelovedGone with the Respiration 2
Del Rey, September 25, 2012
Hardcover and eBook, 496 pages
Can the living coexist with the living dead?
That’s the question that has New Victorian society fiercely divided ever since the mysterious plague known as “The Laz” hit the city of New London and turned thousands into walking corpses. But while some of these zombies are mindless monsters, hungry for human flesh, others can still think, speak, reason, and control their ravenous new appetites.
Just ask Nora Dearly, the young lady of means who was nearly kidnapped by a band of sinister zombies but valiantly rescued by a dashing young man . . . of the dead variety.
Nora and her savior, the young zombie soldier Bram Griswold, fell hopelessly in love. But others feel only fear and loathing for the reanimated dead. Now, as tensions grow between pro- and anti-zombie factions, battle lines are being drawn in the streets. And though Bram is no longer in the New Victorian army, he and his ex-commando zombie comrades are determined to help keep the peace. That means taking a dangerous stand between The Changed, a radical group of sentient zombies fighting for survival, and The Murder, a masked squad of urban guerrillas hellbent on destroying the living dead. But zombies aren’t the only ones in danger: Their living allies are also in The Murder’s crosshairs, and for one vengeful zealot, Nora Dearly is the number one target.
As paranoia, prejudice, and terrorist attacks threaten to plunge the city into full-scale war, Nora’s scientist father and his team continue their desperate race to unlock the secrets of “The Laz” and find a cure. But their efforts may be doomed when a mysterious zombie appears bearing an entirely new strain of the virus—and the nation of New Victoria braces for a new wave of the apocalypse.
Lia Habel’s spellbinding, suspenseful sequel to Dearly, Departed takes her imaginative mash-up of period romance, futuristic thriller, and zombie drama to a whole new level of innovative and irresistible storytelling.
What: One commenter will her/his choice of a print copy of Dearly, Departed (signed) or an audiobook of Dearly, Departed from Lia! US/CANADA ONLY
How: Leave a comment answering the following question:
Zombies, Vampires, Shifters, Other.
Do you have a favorite type of supernatural or paranormal being?
Please remember - if you don't answer the question your entry will not be counted.
You may receive additional entries by:
1) Being a Follower of The Qwillery.
2) Mentioning the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter. Even if you mention the giveaway on both, you will get only one additional entry. You get only one additional entry even if you mention the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter multiple times.
3) Mentioning the giveaway on your on blog or website. It must be your own blog or website; not a website that belongs to someone else or a site where giveaways, contests, etc. are posted.
There are a total of 4 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry), Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry), and personal blog/website mention (+1 entry). This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.
Please leave links for Facebook, Twitter, or blog/website mentions. You MUST leave a way to contact you.
Who and When: The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a US or Canadian mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Sunday, June 24, 2012. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.
*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*