Dearly, Departed, Random House, June 2011
Your book's synopsis:
As far as romantic pairings go in the year 2195, you don't get much more unlikely than an upper-class schoolgirl and a poor miner from enemy tribes. Filter in the fact that he's a zombie, and you're definitely talking about star-crossed love.
Dearly, Departed is a cyber-Victorian/steampunk romance that takes place in the shadow of a new ice age. Nora Dearly, a mouthy teenage girl and apparent orphan, leaves school for Christmas - only to be dragged into the night by the living dead. Luckily for her, though, the good ones got to her first. From her reanimated rescuers she learns not only that zombies are roaming the countryside, but that her father is one - and that he's in terrible trouble. She also meets Captain Bram Griswold, a noble, strong, and rather sweet undead boy for whom she starts to fall.
Meanwhile, her best friend, Pamela Roe, is just trying to carry on with life as best she can in the wake of Nora's disappearance - when she ends up killing an evil zombie in self-defense. Pam is galvanized into action, and ends up leading a group of survivors as the city of New London is thronged by the ravenous dead.
Upon hearing of Pamela's plight, Nora and Bram set out to rescue her friends, find her missing father, and maybe just save what's left of the world.
Your website address: www.liahabel.com
Your Twitter handle and Facebook address, if you have one: I'm liahabel on Twitter, and my Facebook can be found here.
What made you decide to be a writer?
I stumbled into writing, actually. I got the idea for Dearly, Departed on a $30 bus ride to NYC to attend a steampunk/anachronist party - a last hurrah, seeing as my bank account was rapidly dwindling due to my continued un- and under-employment. When I got back, lazy thing that I am, I sat down and started writing instead of sending out resumes. And writing. And writing. Each day I sent the chapters I'd produced to my friends, and we all had a good time with it. At the end of my little opus, a friend encouraged me to seek publication. After lots and lots of rewriting and editing, I ended up winning the publication lottery, a fact which I still find rather confusing and surreal - but, believe me, I'm willing to go along with it!
I write zombies because I have a deep, abiding love of zombies - actually, of monsters in general. I wanted to create a series where the hero is defined by more than his good looks, and where the "supernatural" characters actually have to deal with their monstrous condition and limited shelf life. I've had a lot of fun creating zombie characters who are sympathetic and yet still (hopefully!) true to the zombie canon. At least, I think I've found a way to reconcile Romero shamblers with O'Bannon/Snyder runners! :D
I mostly read classics, honestly, and reading more contemporary fiction is something I am constantly striving to work into my schedule. My favorite books ever are The Phantom of the Opera, Jane Eyre, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Frankenstein, and World War Z. I also read lots of comics (I'm a total geek) and watch a ton of movies. I'm attempting to watch every zombie movie ever made - I'm at about 50 so far, at least that I've created official "reviews" for. I hope to start doing video reviews soon.
Morning person or a night owl?
Total night owl. I'm just about waking up, right now - although I did my writing work earlier in the day. I try to keep a normal schedule, but half the time I feel like I'm in a coma!
PC or Mac?
Mac, although I have a wee little pink netbook that runs Windows.
What did you have for dinner today?
Veggie pizza, salad, and water. I'm trying to eat more healthily, and improve upon my lifestyle.
Quick! Share 11 random things about yourself.
1. I wear wigs. I lost quite a bit of my natural hair a few months ago, due to a combination of stress and mysterious medical factors. I'm a very all-or-nothing personality, so when it got to the point where I was going to have to rock a combover, I said, "Screw it. I'm going to buy a wig in EVERY COLOR." And I did. I own twelve now, in all shades and styles, but I don the brown ones for professional gigs.
2. Most hilarious edit made to date: My wonderful editor was fine with the zombie who carts around his own useless eye, the headless zombie, the jokes about boxed lunches, my hero's cloudy dead eyes, the throat-ripping-out-scene, and even the zombie/living kiss - but, "Can Bram not be green? Can you make him really pale instead?" I happily obliged. :D
3. I could eat cheeseburgers every day of my life and never get tired of them.
4. I love going to Comic-Con. This year will be my fifth time.
5. The other day, I actually touched up my lipstick while killing Zeus in God of War III. I would like to think that I could be this bad-ass in real life, but alas, I doubt it.
6. When it comes to movies and shows, I have a high explosion/gun/violence quota. I don't like romantic comedies, or even period romances - too boring. And yet, I'm told that I write excellent romance. Go fig.
7. I have my BA in English Lit from SUNY Buffalo, and my Master's in Museum Studies from the University of Leicester, UK. The honorary degree recipients at both graduations were, respectively, John Walsh and Englebert Humperdink, which I think is totally awesome.
8. I love Victorian clothing, and actually wear it on a regular basis. In fact, I'm working on a new ball gown right now.
9. I have three kitties - Ebeneezer, Zarathustra, and Bloody Mary. I included them in my book as the cats that one of the zombies, Jacob Isley, owns. Think anyone would be interested in books "signed" by them? (With a rubber stamp!) I've been kicking that idea around, but I'm not sure if it'd be cheesy or really cute.
10. I have watched Nudist Colony of the Dead. It's a musical. If you'll excuse me....
11. I'm 28, and just learning how to drive. I never really needed to, before, so I just never got my license.
I'm so glad to be here! :D