Friday, December 2, 2011

Lia Habel Interview and Holiday Giveaway Hop

Hello Lia and welcome to The Writers Voice! 
Thank you for joining us!
Tell us something about your book that we wouldn’t know just by reading the blurb.

The cast is HUGE. Only the most essential characters are mentioned in the blurb, but the world I've managed to create sprawls out in every direction and is populated by a diverse range of people - I write all genders, all ages, all mortalities. And I love doing that. I especially love getting into the heads of new zombie characters, because they have such a unique take on the world.

Also, I think some of the ARCs describe Bram as a young man who will eventually become a zombie - which is incorrect! He's already dead when he meets Nora, and she swiftly learns to look beyond that. That's the sort of relationship I like to write about. I'm an inveterate monster-lover - monsters, for me, convey romance, tragedy, and beauty of personality far more effectively than pretty-boy characters ever could.

What’s your favorite non-essential item on your desk?

I don't know if it's entirely non-essential, but I have a USB hub shaped like a skull. I find it amusing to plug all of my electronic gadgets into this weathered faux skull - it's kind of darkly meaningful, in a way. Especially given my one character, Baldwin Samedi, who can pop his head off and on. My wireless network is named 'Samedi,' in fact!

What was the most challenging aspect of writing a novel?

The editing process, definitely. I can pound out a 150,000+ word novel draft in a few months, but the editing process seems to take forever, and it's very difficult for me to sit down every day and write the same. Thing. Over. And. Over. Again. That's when I start wanting to bang my head on the table. That's when my Playstation starts to look extremely attractive. Yet it's very necessary and important, and I do take it seriously - I know my editors will lead me in new directions, push me to write more deeply and beautifully, and trim away the fat.

What's a typical day like for you?

I'm nocturnal, so I tend to wake up late in the morning. I roll directly from the bed to the coffee maker, then to the computer. I spend at least 8-10 hours a day on my computer, sometimes more. If I'm writing new material, I'm usually "on" from 1 p.m. to around 5 p.m., at which point I've likely hit my daily quota (I go for 3,000 words a day, five days a week when I'm drafting). When I'm editing, I'm usually trying to get two chapters a day done. It takes however long it takes - if I finish early, I don't push myself unless I'm really in the zone that day, and if I finish at ten at night, I finish at ten at night. It's equally important for me to write well AND to hit my number goals, because those goals keep me going and make sure I stay on deadline. I respect the deadline, because I freeze up and produce bad work when I'm stressed.

Because I work from home, a lot of daily activities take place around the writing. I try to walk about 4 miles a day - walking is great for clearing my mind. I only recognize plot holes when I'm walking, in fact - I don't see them when I'm at the computer! Aside from that, I'm somewhat of a hermit - everything from clothes to food comes to me via FedEx!

Now I'm getting into the phase where I'll be going out to attend conferences, undertake activities at libraries and schools, etc. - it's thrilling, but also very scary. I'm very shy - but I can fake confidence well. I love meeting everyone and talking to new people, but there's always a part of my brain that's like, "IEE THESE PEOPLE ARE INCREDIBLE YOU SUCK RUN AWAY RUN AWAY BEFORE THEY FIND OUT." I've always been that way, and it's even worse now that I'm getting to meet authors and other people whom I really admire! I feel like I have absolutely no business being there next to them. I'm just this weird, awkward girl who managed to pound out a story about high-functioning dead people.

Besides writing, what do you like to do in your free time?

I love playing video games (I'd love to see my book as video game before a movie, honestly - I think video games are amazing modern storytelling devices), listening to music (absolutely everything), and watching movies. Museums are a passion of mine, too - I actually have my M.A. in museum studies. I love going to steampunk/Neo-Victorian/anachronistic cons and shopping and designing for them. I think I like shopping a little TOO much, but clothing is the one area in which I'm willing to be a complete extrovert. My style of dress belies my personality, I think - but life is too short to not dress the way you really want!

What was one of the most surprising things you learned when creating your book?

There have been a few instances of "wait...I thought I made that up" connected with D,D and the sequel. Probably the biggest one concerns the Allister gene bank and nature preserve, which is mentioned in book one and becomes pivotal in book two. When I was drafting book one, I randomly decided this thing was located in "northern Nicaragua." It's my book, it's 2195, I can make up anything I want, right?

While drafting book two I ended up mapping out some roads using Google Maps, and I found there was a dead zone through which no roads ran. "What is this thing getting in the way of my chase scene?" I huffed, zooming in.

Turns out there's an enormous nature preserve located in northern Nicaragua, right where I said it would be.

Yeah, I didn't get any writing done that day after finding that out.

 Wow! I don't think I would have either! Dearly, Departed sounds fantastic! Thank you again for joining us!

As a surprise for Lia and because I had so much fun with this interview I decided to host a giveaway in her honor to help spread the word! You can enter below for a copy of Dearly,Departed and a gift card to your choice of either Barnes&Noble or Amazon!


  1. what a great post, and thanks for an awesome giveaway!!

  2. thanks you for this giveaway international, i would love to discover her book

  3. Wait, writers have free time??? What?!?!

    hehe, fun interview! It's always fun to read about the author behind the words. I always find I inadvertently put parts of myself into my books, so it's neat to learn about the author, then read the book to see if I can spot any similarities.

    Thanks for the giveaway op!


  4. thanks you for this giveaway international,

  5. Awesome giveaway! Thanks for the chance to win. It would be really interesting to see books come out as games. I would definitely play them!

  6. Thanks a lot for this great giveaway!

  7. Thank you for the giveaway and Happy Holidays!

  8. Thanks for participating in the hop and for the giveaway opportunity.

    I enjoyed the author interview. That is fascinating how she divides her time to finish books and editing. Four miles a day! Impressive!

  9. Thank you so much for the generous giveaway opportunity!

    Gena Robertson

  10. This book is very much on my TBR pile.

  11. I've been dying to read Dearly, Departed. Thank you for this giveaway!


  12. Writers don’t have free time. That is an ugly, ugly myth. Writers have time that they spend in the corner, rocking softly and wondering what the hell they are doing. That’s “free time” for a writer. :)~

    Patricia @ Lady with Books

  13. Thanks for the giveaway!! this book has been on my wishlist, and the cover is stunning!!

  14. This book sounds so interesting! Thank you for this chance! :D

  15. Thanks for the giveaway. The books sounds really interesting.