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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Author Interview with Lia Habel (Contest included!)

With Christmas coming along I thought I would treat you to an extra author guest!

Lia Habel is a super new author and her debut book 'Dearly, Departed' was a spectacular read. I asked the author some questions about her first published book, her writing future and some other stuff and here are her answers!

I hope enjoy getting to know the author and her debut book. Make sure you read to the end and enter the contest. You could win yourself a copy of 'Dearly, Departed'.


Amber - Welcome to Amberkatze's Book Blog! It is great to have you here as a guest! Could you start things off by telling us a little about your debut book, 'Dearly, Departed'.

Lia - It's hard to describe, because so much goes on in it! Basically, it's set a few hundred years in the future, where a tribe has arisen calling itself the New Victorians. The NVs use high technology to style themselves and their society after the First Victorian age (not precisely - they know full well that they're the NEW Victorians), leading to the creation of things like digital diaries, sleek modern electric carriages, etc. A splinter group, known as the Punks, formed and was banished from New Victoria a generation past for their anti-aristocratic, anti-digital-tech views, and they've now formed their own society in the south. Into this setting, throw some zombies - a percentage of which keep their minds after reanimating - and everything explodes!

Amber - 'Dearly, Departed' is very original and was a great read. How did you come up with the idea? Was it a long process or did it just come to you?

Lia - Thanks! The ideas really came to me in one moment of inspiration. I was actually on the bus when it happened! Looking back on it now, I really think everything that makes me Me - all the horror movies I've seen, the steampunk books I've read, the games I've played, the dresses I've coveted - came roaring out on the page. The book is totally a map of my brain. Of course years of refinement followed the original draft, but the basic ideas have remained the same.

Amber - How do you pick the names for your characters? Do they have any special meanings?

Lia - Some do, some don't. Names tend to come to me on the fly, and it's not until later that I figure out what I was (subconsciously?) thinking of. The only exception is Nora - I chose her name just because I liked it. (It does derive from Honora, or 'honor,' which fits her well.) Meanwhile, Bram's name has about ten levels of meaning - originally I chose it with a sense of irony, since Bram Stoker is the father of the modern vampire, but it built up after that. For instance, there's a long tradition of good-guy zombies having names that begin with B (Bub, Bud, Big Daddy, Billy, Bobby...) so I thought a B name was apt, and it's short for 'Abraham,' and I've got a personal joke that Romero's Bub and Big Daddy are the Adam and Moses of the good-guy zombie world, respectively, so I wanted to throw an Abraham into the ring...it went on and on.

It's when you get into the secondary characters that you start getting a lot of name meanings. Baldwin Samedi is obviously named after Baron Samedi of voodoo lore. Vespertine Mink's first name alludes to her shadowy, not-quite-light-not-quite-dark nature, and Mink is an homage to The Silence of the Lambs, wherein Hannibal Lecter is described as "a cemetery mink." Pamela's named after a book called Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded. Victor and Elizabeth Dearly are named after the doctor and his love in Frankenstein. And on, and on...

Amber - What came first? Dearly in the title or the surname for your character?

Lia - They came to me simultaneously! Probably the title a little before - I wasn't trying to be clever, I just thought, "Oh, that's a good idea. I'll go with that."

Amber - Why did you decide to start writing? And how long did it take to get published?

Lia - I started writing to amuse myself and my friends. I never thought the book would get this far! I had the idea during a period of unemployment (I had many of those), and I decided to write it for fun. It took me about 45 days to create the original draft, a little over a month to find an agent, and after that it was about two years to the release date. And I'm still in shock.

Amber - Why Paranormal, Steampunk and why Young Adult? Were these the genres you always wanted to write?

Lia - The paranormal and steampunk came from me, as I've said. I grew up loving monsters, and I adore all forms of Neo-Victorianism, so those were natural directions for my mind to wander in. The YA is the tricky part, because I would never have predicted I'd write a YA book. In fact, I tend to view the book as multi-generational, and it has a multi-generational cast - I'm not a fan of YA that does away with all of the adult characters, all of the parents and mentors and adult allies, because that's unrealistic. I did want this story to focus on young people, however - I felt like I wanted to explore those strong adolescent feelings, those feelings of passion and loyalty and mutual connection. Because this is a story that is very immediate, very centered in the present - because everyone knows how it will end. Especially for Nora and Bram. And yet, learning to look beyond the present is something Nora has to tackle.

Amber - I noticed that the Kindle cover for 'Dearly, Departed' is totally different to the paperback. Which one do you prefer? Did you have any say about what covers would be used?

Lia - I had little say in the US cover, none in the UK or German (those are the two foreign covers I've seen thus far). I got to vote for a little more hair on Nora, but that's it! Authors get very little input when it comes to visual things, I'm afraid - but they did a fantastic job. I love the UK cover, myself, because it has Bram on it! And they did such a good job with him!

Amber - Will there be more books in the series? When can we expect to see more?

Lia - There's a sequel coming out in 2012, entitled Dearly, Beloved. Hopefully there will be more - I'd like five(ish?) books to finish the series out the way I think it needs to be finished. With everything that happens in book one, the overall series has to be just as big - has to deal with heavy issues, complicated emotions. Even if I don't end up with additional publishing deals, I'll sit here at home and finish out the series and post it online!

Amber - Are you working on anything else you would like to tell us about? Or do you have any cool ideas waiting to be put on paper?

Lia - I'm working on two non-zombie projects now, but they both also involve monsters. They're unsolicited, so they don't have a home yet. I have to write for myself - I'm horrible at writing to prompt. I don't want to share too much, but the one's definitely weird, the other maybe a little fantasy-esque? (Which is unique for me - usually fantasy is the last genre I'll read. Just never been much into it.)

Amber - I am sure that being an author has its ups and downs. What experiences have you had so far?

Lia - Huge ups and downs! The best is definitely interacting with fans. (And it's really weird to think that I have fans. I prefer to think in terms of 'people who liked the book.' That seems less egotistic.) When I hear someone saying, "I'm considering naming my kid Bram because I read the book," or "I found this photo and it's just like the scene in your book!" that's absolutely amazing to me, that people would care that much. It's very moving. The worst part by far is the people who hit on me, though. When you're in public (and I've never been in the public eye before) you can get some creepers hanging around. And I hate saying that, because it sounds like "I'm so fabulous I have stalkers!" but it's not even remotely that exciting. Just creepy. (And yet, if a hideous monster in a nice suit walked up and introduced himself, I'd be hanging all over him - I have issues.)

Amber - Alot of authors have 'soundtracks' for their books. Is there any music that influenced your books?

Lia - I have a ton! I like building huge soundtracks while I work, and then narrowing them down to 30 or so tracks afterward. I've done that for Departed, I need to do that for Beloved. I listen to everything from spirituals to metal to rap, and I change the 'main series theme' every week or so. My main series theme right now is 'This Is Not The End' by Clare Maguire, though I also love 'From My Hands' by VNV Nation. Warning: Prepare to bawl your eyes out at either one.

Amber - What books do you enjoy reading? Do you have any favourite authors/series?

Lia - Almost all of my favorite authors are dead! I love gothic novels like Dracula and Jane Eyre. I love Alan Moore to death, especially The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (the movie was HORRID - the source material is BRILLIANT) and other comics, like Mark Waid's Ruse. But I actually read much more nonfiction than I do fiction - Thomas Lynch, Mary Roach, Richard Dawkins. Nonfiction inspires me with tidbits about science and geography and religion, anecdotes about human nature - it's my favorite thing to read.

Amber - If you could be any paranormal creature, what would you be and why?

Lia - I think I'd be something that looked different, if nothing else. A faun, or a centaur, or some type of winged creature...I don't want to look human! Human is boring! Though I think I'd be a good zombie, personally. I'm betting on it if the zombie apocalypse ever happens - have you seen how whiny some survivors can get? I couldn't deal with that. I'm going to the dead side. They have more fun.

Amber - Thanks for visiting Amberkatze's Book Blog!


Contest Time

I am giving away a copy of 'Dearly Departed' to one lucky winner.

How To Enter

What books are on your wishlist for Christmas?

No Answer = No Entry

'Please enter me' posts will NOT be counted as an entry

Earn more entries for each link you place about this contest on the net. You can post on Facebook, Twitter & MySpace but make sure you add links here for me to confirm your entries! However please do not make individual postings for each entry. Please post all your entries in one post.

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You can also earn extra entries by emailing your friends about the contest. Just make sure you send a copy of your email or receipt to me at Amberkatzes_book_blog at gmx dot net.

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The contest will stay open until Tuesday 27th of December 2011 4pm CET and the winner will be picked by a randomizer. Entrants should check back to see if they have won. I do not hunt down winners and will pick new winners for any prizes not claimed within 7 days.


Melanie S. said...

On my wishlist are The Mephisto Covenant by Trinity Faegen, The Pledge by Kimberly Derting and Legend by Mari Lu. Those are the most important ones at the moment ;)

Thanks for a very interesting interview - I've heard great things about Lia Habels book, but haven't had the chance to read it yet.
Wish you all the best, Melanie

SandyG265 said...

I have the Legend and several cookbooks on my wishlist.

Victoria said...

Nice post - thank you.
I'd like The Real Werewives of Vampire County for Christmas. It's almost impossible to get unless I buy it myself via Amazon.

Merry Christmas!


Jessica @ a GREAT read said...

Ooh a lot! Besides gift cards, I wanted Destined by Jessie Harrell, Anna Dressed in Blood, some B&N hardocover classics, The Name of the Star,...and those are the ones that I can immediately recall asking for!

GFC Follower (Jessica@a GREAT read)

email subscriber (jessica.agreatread@gmail.com)

headline administrator in blog roll a GREAT read

Diane said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Diane said...

I've asked for many books but the one that comes to mind is: Night Reigns by Dianne Duvall.

dsadler53 at yahoo dot ca

Barbara E. said...

I've have quite a few, but the top ones are: Cherie Priest's Hellbent, Gini Koch's Alien Proliferation, Ellen Connor's Daybreak, Mejean Brook's Heart of Steel, and Jaye Wells' Silver-Tongued Devil.

Unknown said...

Hm, I have plenty :-D

Mage in Black by Jaye Wells, Head Rush by Carolyn Crane, the Pennyroyal series by Julie Anne Long, some Julie James books and I could go on :-)

Thank you for the great giveaway!

stella.exlibris (at) gmail (dot) com

Happy holidays to you too! :-)

BrigidsBlest said...

My wishlist currently has:

The Dark at the End by F. Paul Wilson
Bloodstone by Nancy Holzner
Last Breath and Bite Club by Rachel Caine
If I Die, Rachel Vincent
11/22/63 by Stephen King

BrigidsBlest at yahoo dot com

Birgit said...

My wishlist? Want me to list them ALL or should I link up with my wishlist on TBD ;-) anyway, a few books I can't wait to get my hands on are "A Million Suns" by Beth Revis and "77 Shadow Street" by Dean Koontz.

I'm both a GFC and FB follower and shared the giveaway on my wall: http://www.facebook.com/birgit.horvath.muck/posts/269262549798653

I also feature your blog on my own book blog: http://the-book-garden.blogspot.com/p/austrian-and-german-book-bloggers.html

Thanks for the chance! I've already had an eye on the book after I saw reviews on some of my fav blogs!

April Yedinak said...

I have a huge list, but I really want to get "The Iron Knight" by Julie Kagawa.

Mary Preston said...

THE GAME OF THRONES tops my wish list - the whole series actually.


Unknown said...

LOL I currently have 372 books on my want to read list on Goodreads! BUT the top ones
Notorious Pleasures (Maiden Lane, #2) by Elizabeth Hoyt, and Scandalous Desires (Maiden Lane, #3) by Elizabeth Hoyt. And Especially
Supernaturally Kissed (Frostbite, #1)by Stacey Kennedy.


ang said...

My wishlist... Vicious Circle by Linda Robertson, Heartless by Gail Carriger, Mind Games by Carolyn Crane, Touched by an Alien by Gini Koch, Nearly Departed in Deadwood by Ann Charles. This list could go on & on LOL

FB follower.

Unknown said...

My wish list? Dearly Departed is on there, plus Allison Hewitt is Trapped and Patient Zero and about 84 more books on my Amazon wish list, but those are the top three. But seriously this is number one thank you so much for the giveaway
teressaoliver at gmail dot com

Dovile said...

My wishlist has more books that I'd like to count LOL But at the top right now are the Fallen series by Lauren Kate, The hush, Hush series by Becca Fitzpatrick and book 2 and 3 in the Hunger Games series.

spamscape [at] gmail [dot] com

Ironstrangeprompts said...

My wishlist is LONG. But mostly SciFi. Grave Peril by Jim Butcher Star Trek by James Blish and such.


Kelly said...

Wow, I have SO many books on my Christmas wishlist, but here are just a few: Dearly, Departed (of course); Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children; The Night Circus; The Miseducation of Cameron Post; and The Kingdom of Childhood.

Tweeted: https://twitter.com/#!/kellym2372/status/149541375023656961

Unknown said...

My wishlist - The Hunger Games, The Hanging Woods, and Pure Sin.

misteedawnw at aol dot com

trichie said...

My wish list includes Honor Thy Neighbor by my friend Valerie J Patterson

Lisa Richards/alterlisa said...

It would probably be easier to ask what books AREN'T on my wishlist.So, I'll name just 3 that are.
Gini Koch's Alien Proliferation
Dearly, Departed &
The Night Circus

+1 I advertise Amberkatze's Book Blog on my site
right sidebar of
+1 http://twitter.com/#!/lisaslovesbooks/status/149653707980668928

+1 https://www.facebook.com/LisasLovesBooksOfCourse/posts/320875117930641

+1 http://www.goodreads.com/user_status/show/9979184
alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com

Unknown said...

There are so many books I want. I would like to have Forbidden, Fateful, Silence, Anna Dressed in Blood, Mephisto Covenant, Hourglass, etc. Tore923@aol.com

slb3334 said...

the joanne fluke books.


Linda said...

My wishlist is pages n pages long but if i were to narrow it down to books released in Dec then I have Shield of Fire by: Boone Brux right at the top. Has anyone read it? It looks fascinating!

Tweeted: http://twitter.com/#!/LindaThum/status/149695057832853505


clynsg said...

I generally do not put books on my wish list since I read so many and am a very fast reader--I usually already have any that someone would be likely to give me. In fact that has happened in the past. That does not mean that I do not want several books however, in several genres. The Winter Palace is one that I just added to my 'want to read' list.

cgclynsg0 at gmail dot com

Aurian said...

The next Christine Feehan is always on my wishlist :)

Thanks for the interview, I enjoyed it.

follower, subscriber, advertise your blog on my own.

auriansbooks at gmail dot com

Dawn M. said...

On my wishlist:

Darkness Becomes Her - Kelly Keaton
After The Golden Age - Carrie Vaughn
Hounded - Kevin Hearne
The Eleventh Plague - Jeff Hirsch
Eve - Anna Carey


Thanks! :0)
librarygrinch at gmail dot com

alainala said...

i cant say i really have any books on my christmas list.. i got them all early! (jennifer estep's kiss of frost was one of them).. hoping to get a couple gift cards for the bookstore to get a couple that get released after the holidays though!!

Read for your future! said...

My wish list includes the Kindle Fire to read it with....The clockwork Prince, Saving Elizabeth, and Legend
Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Vickie said...

Oh boy...my Wanton Wantin' Book List is HUGE! Let's see..a sample from the ten page WWBL:

FINDING SERENITY: Anti-Heroes, Lost Shepherds, and Space Hookers in Joss Whedon's Firefly - edited by Jane Espenson

THE WINDUP GIRL - Paolo Bacigulpi, steampunk


ABRAHAM LINCOLN, VAMPIRE HUNTER - Seth Grahame-Smith, historical paranormal

Valerie Taylor Mabrey said...

I want the new Eragon book
vmkids3 at msn dot com

tracey said...

their are a few that i want.
in bed with a highlander is one of them. thanks

erma said...

Any Urban fantasy is on my list.

Kim (Randominities) said...

Sacre Bleu by Christopher Moore is a book I'd really love to get.

dwarzel said...

Terry Pratchett.

dwarzel at hotmail.com

daveshir2005 said...

I haven't read the hunger games yet and really want to.


Ashley Brauer said...

I've got a few on my wishlist but at the top of that list is "Battle Royale" and "Unbroken".

relientkgirl88 at aol dot com

amasfun47 said...

Vampire books and supernatural books
amasfuntime at yahoo.com

Brenda Demko said...

Thanks for the giveaway! I want North of Need and Touch.

Unknown said...

On my list are Kiss Of Frost by Jennifer Estep, Dark Descendant The Nikki Glass Series by Jenna Black and Touch Of power by Maria V. Snyder. garrettsambo@aol.com

mverno said...

hunger games mverno@roadrunner.com

saturdaynightfever said...

"Bossypants" and "The Glamour of Grammar"!