Happy Halloween everyone! I’m thrilled to have author Lia Habel on “That’s Swell!” today!
Check back for my review of her debut novel, DEARLY, DEPARTED in the next couple of weeks.
A little bit about yourself…
1. Dearly, Departed is set in a futuristic Steampunk Victorian era — with zombies. When I first read the plot, I said to myself: “This is the book I’ve been waiting for!” What do you like most about the Victorian era, the Steampunk genre and zombies?
I’ve just always loved Victorianism – why, I’m not entirely certain. I don’t think it’s any one thing. When I was a little girl, I loved what I perceived to be the beauty and the high ideals of the era. When I got smarter, I ended up loving the cynicism, industrialization, and era-specific personalities and conflicts. I originally got into steampunk because it gave me an excuse to weave some of these threads into my own life – the subculture is so dynamic, and offers vast opportunity for play and invention. And as for zombies – well, who doesn’t love zombies?! But seriously, I would describe myself as a monster-lover first. I’ve always found myself drawn to monstrous characters, especially those that balance a hideous exterior with a fantastic personality or beautiful soul, what have you. That type of character really gets my imagination going. With zombies specifically, I love how human they are. They’re a monster that isn’t too far removed from us, after all. I think that’s why they’re so effective both as agents of horror and agents of tragedy.
2. You have a M.A. in Museum Studies. How fascinating! Why did you choose this particular field? What is your favorite museum?
I basically went into MS because I like old things! I’ve always loved museums, and I thought I might make a place for myself working in one. While I loved my studies, unfortunately, I was never able to pin down a museum career. As for my favorite…hard question! I love The Victoria and Albert in London (clooooothes) and The Mutter in Philadelphia. The latter is quite morbid – it’s a 19th century medical museum – but it’s fascinating to visit. I do a lot of medical research for my zombies, because it’s those little details that make the difference.
3. Your bio pics feature in you several ballgowns. They are stunning and so are you! How many do you have and what prompted your interest in them? Have you ever done any professional Steampunk modeling?
Thanks, but – haha, no! I’m actually not that photogenic.I was extremely lucky to work with a fantastic photographer for those shots! I’d love to do more, though. As for the dresses – I’ve lost count. I think at last count I had four ball gowns and more than ten day outfits, and of course all the little accessories like bloomers and gloves and fans. I absolutely love Victorian-styled clothing, and I’d always wanted to try dressing that way. I started buying gowns when I had the money, and because I thought that if I was ever going to have an excuse to wear them, it was because I’d published a steampunky book! One day I’ll box them all up in a trunk and pass them on to someone else.
4. Why do we wear costumes on Halloween? I’m not sure why we limit ourselves to Halloween, because I think we should get to wear whatever we like whenever we like!
I love Halloween for that reason – it’s great to look around and see people dressing up for fun, for play, little caring what anyone else thinks.
5. What was your favorite Halloween costume as a child?
My grandmother made me a beautiful black velvet cat costume at one point – it was a jumpsuit with a hood with ears attached, and paw mittens, and a collar with a cute little heart charm dangling from it. I think I wore the collar until it started honestly hurting me – in my imagination it was a black choker like a Victorian lady might wear!
6. What is your earliest Halloween memory?
I remember one Halloween – I don’t even know how old I was. Very young. It might have been the infamous Halloween that my mother made my costume, in fact – which was the stuff of legends. She dressed me up as a baseball player in one of my own sweatsuits, my own cap, my own plastic bat – and then drew a moustache on me with an eye pencil and wrote my “number” on a paper plate and hung it around my neck! When I see the photo of it I’m torn between absolute horror and insane laughter and being really moved by the fact that my mom did what she had to do, when she had little money, to make sure I had a good time. But, long story short – a guy gave out action figures that year. That was pretty sweet.
7. What is your favorite classic Halloween movie and why?
We watch a lot of them, but probably the original Nightmare on Elm Street (I’m not fond of the reboot). Freddy’s such a fantastically outlandish character, and Nancy’s the original tough horror girl. She took him ON.
8. Complete this Halloween superstition: If you hear someone’s footsteps following you on Halloween night, you shouldn’t turn around or else, you…
…will smack straight into the poor beast and make him lose a tooth, and do you know how expensive custom dental work is for six-inch fangs? You’ll ruin his whole night!
9. Your car breaks down a few miles from a hotel. A nice man offers to fix your car, but he can’t figure it out. He then offers you a free night in his hotel. What do you do?
Lock myself in the car and wait for sunrise. c_c
10. Why are orange and black considered Halloween colors?
Because Saint Tim Burton said they were? I’ve no idea. I’m going to guess that the orange derives from pumpkins and fall foliage, and the black from the Western association of black with mourning, death, etc. I’m not inventive enough to come up with a silly reason for this!
Bonus: Have you ever used a Ouija Board, held a seance or experienced anything paranormal?
I have used a Ouija board – I made up all the answers. I had the board telling my friends all about this ghost girl who’d died of cholera…in a house built in the sixties…okay, that part doesn’t make sense in retrospect, but at least I spelled “cholera” correctly.
Welcome to the SPOOKTACULAR GIVEAWAY HOP on “That’s Swell!’
The Hop is hosted by I Am a Reader, Not A Writer and The Diary of a Bookworm.
I have 2 prizes to give away…well more like 4 but I’m considering one a bundle!
1 Winner will receive…
*All copies are UK versions. Why? Cause I think they are pretty and spooky!
and that’s not all….
1 Batcat Bookmark designed by Tara Fortin!
The bookmark is a reproduction of an original painting by Tara Fortin. It is laminated to protect image. They are glossy and surface is water resistant. The bookmark features a small black eyelet with black ribbon that has been fray stopped at cut end. The back of bookmark is a wide black and white striped paper.
Visit the BlackLilyPie store on Etsy for more info!
Please follow the terms and conditions for the contest listed on the Google Doc form!
Just fill out the form…I’ll add up the entries. No need for you to worry about it
Thanks for stopping by “That’s Swell!” I hope you come again! I feature terrific reviews of everything from literary fiction to children’s books! I host author interviews and other givewaways!
Make sure to stop by on Halloween for a special spooky interview with Lia Habel!!
“In My Mailbox” is hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren
(Feel free to use my button, please just link back to me.)
- Fall Pumpkins: Orange and Plump by Martha E. H. Rustad
- Watch Over Our Water by Lisa Bullard
- The Auslander by Paul Dowswell
- The Hangman in the Mirror by Kate Cayley
- Dust by Joan Frances Turner
- The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson (so sad my UK cover did not come with the little butterfly in the picture)
- Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel
- The Night Strangers by Chris Bohjalian
Bloomsbury, Lerner Publishing and Annick Press for sending me the books to review!
What did you get in your mailbox?