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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

“When I’m not writing” with Lia Habel



This week, we have a guest that I’m extra excited about: the talented Lia Habel! Lia is the author of Dearly, Departed, a young adult novel that combines steampunk, romance, and zombies in a wildly imaginative way. I’ve just started reading it and it’s blowing my mind so far.

Keep reading to find out what Lia does when she’s not writing!





I know it’s lazy as anything, and probably something I shouldn’t admit, but I just spent the better part of a month doing precisely this – not writing. I still consider myself a newbie, an amateur, someone who stumbled into curtain of publishing cobwebs and is still flailing her way around blindly, and so the last three years have been a whirlwind of activity and emotion that I’m just not used to. I needed time off, so I took it. I hate the fact that my work had to wait while I gulped in some air, but I’m also glad it did.

Finding time to recharge is something I tend to struggle with. On paper, I’m perfectly poised for ultimate author efficiency – I live in a quiet house with one other person, who’s gone at least 30 hours a week; I’m single and childless; writing has (so far!) paid enough that I can count it as my sole profession. In practice, though, sometimes it doesn’t work out. The way I write consumes a lot of time and energy – not only the fact that I draft rough and rewrite again and again and again, but the fact that when I’m in “book mode” the real world tends to stop mattering, and I’m likely to turn into a hermit who resents every intrusion on her writing time and figuratively nips at everyone’s heels until they go away. And when rewrites take forever, that state seems to last forever, and by the end I’m a nasty, exhausted, emotionally shaky shell of a human being with several apologies to make.

With this kind of work ethic/pattern, I’m learning that occasionally I need to take a protracted vacation to recover. To do what? Well – decompress. I live a fairly boring life, and I’m content with that. I love to take long walks, especially in the woods or the snow. I play a lot of video games (I honestly think they’re a fantastic modern storytelling device), read a lot of books (almost exclusively nonfiction) and chatty blogs, explore new music, watch garbage TV. Basically pretend I’m part of a frat for a week or two. Alternately, I love to travel. Occasionally I get the insane urge to just walk out the door and wake up in a new city on a different continent (although I rarely act on these urges). I love heading to NYC every now and then, and attending steampunk and book conventions. I nearly always come back from conventions recharged, especially if I give myself time to enjoy them as a con-goer, and don’t allow work to absorb my attention every moment of every day.

Wow, reading back on this, it really sounds as if I’m incredibly lazy, like I’m a shirker. I don’t think that’s the case. I think instead it’s a matter of work hard, party hard – and live hard. Too often I think we allow our ambitions to take over (and I’m guilty of this, too), constantly looking forward instead of looking around. I’m getting to the point in my life where I’d much rather spend time enjoying the moment – and ought to, really, given how anxious I can become about the future, and how much mental and physical energy creating for that future sucks out of me. And maybe I ought to learn to stop apologizing for that.

The other day I told my mother that if there’s one aspect of the modern social networking/Internet culture that I can’t understand, it’s the need to take photos and video of everything and share them. People take photos of their morning coffee, random trees they pass, every event they attend. I can see the value in doing this, but I also wonder if those people are actually enjoying the things they’re doing while they’re doing them. It’s that sense of mindfulness, of centeredness that I’d like to work on achieving in 2012. And taking long, Skyrim-filled breaks is definitely part of that.


Thank you so much for joining us today, Lia! I strongly encourage Skyrim breaks. Such a great (and addictive) game! ^_^

Want more Lia? You can visit her website or blog, or follow her on Facebook, Twitter, or Goodreads.


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 disease 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, steampunk meets 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.

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

Read an excerpt

Do you guys have suggestions for who you’d like to see featured on the blog? If so, you can make your suggestions on this page. No guarantees that your favorite authors will be able to participate but we’ll try!

Authors, would you like to visit and share with us? Please email me at jennblogs (at) gmail (dot) com and we’ll set it up!


Born and raised in the Toronto area, Jenn moved to St. John's, Newfoundland, eight years ago for school. She's still in school (thankfully on another degree!), now trapped in her dissertation. When she's not dissertating, which happens more often than it should, Jenn spends her time reading, watching movies, playing volleyball, travelling, and enjoying the local music scene. Her latest addictions: yoga and Almond Crunch cereal.

3 People left their mark' :

  1. I really can't wait to read this book now .. It's on my shelves and I'm planning to read it very soon !! Thanks for the post Tynga :)

  2. Thanks for the interview. I read Dearly, Departed last summer and absolutely loved it. Can't wait for Dearly, Beloved!

  3. Wonderful post! Thank you for sharing!