Hey guys! I’m really excited today to be able to welcome Lia Habel to Once Upon A Time! She kindly agreed to take part in an interview for us and also has the honour of being my first author interview. Thanks Lia!

Credit: Winter Wolf Studios

Hi Lia! Thanks for stopping by. First of all, could you please tell us a little about yourself?

Sure! But this one is always tough, because I tend to think of myself as genetically uninteresting. I’m a writer, Neo-Victorian fashion nut, and eater of far too many Red Vines. I live in a small city in New York. I’m a mix of hyperactive, girly shyness and “whoo, chainsaw *and* pipe bomb!” horror and action movie fan-ness. If I were a My Little Pony, I’d be the unholy hybrid of Fluttershy and Pinkie Pie – with a grenade launcher. (Hannah: I will forever love you for this reference, I’ve always thought the same thing but without the grenade launcher but now you’re just giving me ideas..)

How long have you been writing?

Since forever – but never with an aim toward being published. I never thought I was that good (I still don’t think I’m that good!). I remember writing little stories as far back as first grade, and I constantly wrote to entertain myself as a child and teenager. DEARLY, DEPARTED started as a writing project to entertain myself and my friends, in fact. I emailed the chapters out daily.

What is your preferred writing environment?

My room – which must be either absolutely silent, or blaring with one of my “work” soundtracks (usually something by Hans Zimmer). I can usually be found at my iMac, earplugs in (if it’s a silent day), surrounded by scraps of coffee-stained paper. Organization? Ahahahahaha.

Where did your interest in steampunk begin?

Birth. I’m serious. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t in love with the Victorian and Edwardian eras – first in a childish, idealistic sort of “EVERYONE WAS SO PRETTY AND SMART AND EVERYTHING WAS BETTER AND THE MODERN WORLD SUCKS, MOMMY!” way, then in a more adult, realistic “I love you, sins and dirt and all” fashion. I found the steampunk subculture about six years ago, and was immediately on board – though I don’t actually consider myself an active part of it. I don’t think I’ve earned that designation. I’m too shy to speak to anyone, even online! (Which is why I’m so grateful when people reach out to me!)

What is it about steampunk that you love?

I love steampunk and Neo-Victorianism because it’s allowing me to realize my dreams! I really do get to live a little like a futuristic Victorian, now (which is my ideal aesthetic/philosophy – I’d rather incorporate elements of Victorianism into my modern life than try to retrocede entirely). If nothing else, I get to dress the way I’ve always wanted to dress, from bloomers to boots to hats.

For how long have you been collecting Victorian ball gowns and how many do you own?

About five years, now. I currently have four ball gowns and about eight “day” outfits of various sorts. This fall I’m expecting a new coat, another casual dress, and my fifth ball gown (my seasonal orders go out a few months ahead of time). I love shopping for and commissioning clothes, but probably the most expensive/annoying things I have to buy are gloves and fans…they have to be constantly replaced, especially white gloves and fans for balls, which have an unfortunate tendency to get stained and stepped on.

Why zombies, specifically?

I love monsters – and zombies are one of my favorite types. To me, zombies literally embody (as in, they ARE bodies) everything that’s GOOD about life and the human condition. These are people who drop, get up again, and keep going. I see them as strong, resourceful, and such a wonderful source of stories about loyalty, love, and letting go. I think when you’re dead, and you understand that you’re dead, everything comes into much sharper focus – that when you’re staring a limited second lifespan in the face, you have to become very true to yourself, and very clear about the decisions you’re going to make and what you’re going to do with the precious few days that you have left. I often think the world might be a better place if we all lived like zombies conscious of their condition – because, in a way, we are!

You can find Lia at her website and also on Twitter.

And now for the giveaway! I was sent 2 copies of Dearly Departed for review and so I figured the best thing to do would be to give away my extra copy, right? I figured you guys would appreciate this idea. I absolutely adored this book so I’m only giving away the one copy because I want to reread this someday and shutup. As I’ll be personally shipping it out, this particular giveaway will sadly be UK only. I’m very sorry but I can’t afford too much in the way of postage. However, I have at the very least kept it nice and simple, so all you UK folk need to do is enter your name and email address and click “I Did This!” so that I can contact you if you win and that’s it!

You will have to click “Read more” to see the Rafflecopter widget if you’re reading this on the main page.