Honestly, my love is a very complicated love. When I was a little girl, I think it was more about the prettiness and perceived "goodness" and "innocence" of that age - obviously, I didn't know better! In reality the Victorian period was really just as gritty, dirty, and mean as our time is. And as an adult, capable of understanding shades of gray, I find myself adoring both the beauty and the squalor, the technological advancement and the relative "simplicity," the lords and ladies and the uppity street urchins. It's just such a busy, fabulously engaging time. It offers me a ton of material to work with. (And at heart...I'm still all about the prettiness. The Victorian aesthetic is just in my blood. It's what I respond to.)
2. I tried to wrap my mind around it a few hundred times but I just can't see a connection between the Victorian era and zombies. What inspired your deep love for the undead? Perhaps you have a forbidden love with a Bram fellow of your own? ;D
Yes. I have a corpse I regularly visit. *poker face* Not really. XD But the Victorian age was definitely full of cheap horror fiction - penny dreadfuls were everywhere, Gothic chapbooks. Real Victorian young people were seriously gobbling down stories about vampires and ghosts and teenage suicides and moaning crypts and being buried alive and then hiding the material under their pillows lest their parents find out. I think if someone put D,D in an actual Victorian girl's hand, she'd totally understand at least that part of it.
As for the zombies - I just love monsters! I was raised on horror as a kid, but unlike my mother (from whom I got the bug) I was never frightened by the monsters on the screen, only fascinated by them. I decided to go with zombies to tell my story because they're just really unique monsters, in terms of their humanity - they are us. There's great horror and great tragedy in that.
If I were reincarnated...I think I'd want to come back as Lily Elsie (a gorgeous Edwardian actress) or some writer from the Victorian or Edwardian period, like Gaston Leroux. (The Phantom of the Opera is my favorite book ever!)
4. What are some of your favorite books/movies/TV shows about either zombies or the Victorian era that you think everyone should watch/read?
I read a ton of classics, and a lot of classics are so different from the legacy they've inspired, so I always recommend going back to basics. The Phantom of the Opera, for instance, has a whole cast of amazing side characters that almost never make it into modern interpretations (including strong female characters and characters of color!). Frankenstein (which is Georgian, not Victorian) is partially told from the point of view of the monster himself, and he has such an amazing, heart-breaking voice and story. And of course I love costume dramas.
As for zombies, or other paranormal things to watch - Dark Shadows, definitely. A movie is coming out based on DS in April, and I'm determined that young people everywhere will sample the source material, which was a HUGE inspiration to me in my youth. I used to tape it (yes - cassette tape) every day and rush home after middle and high school to watch it. It's a soap opera from the 1960s, but it was actually gothic/paranormal - after including a vampire, Barnabas Collins, to boost ratings, the show went delightfully insane. Satanic ceremonies, witches, zombies, werewolves, time travel, it's all there. It can be slow-going, because it is a soap opera, but I think it physically shaped my brain growing up. Part of Dearly is definitely in there.
I also love zombie movies like Boy Eats Girl, Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things, and Zombieland.
5. Can you possibly share anything about any future work of yours? Whether it concerns the Gone with the Respiration series or something new. Your fans and are DYING to know!
I'm working on book two right now, and I'm not going to say anything! But I'm also working on some non-zombie things, too, for my own amusement. These projects are unsolicited (meaning no one's seen them, and no one's paid me anything for them), but I always have to have something I write for me. One involves creatures from the deep, and the other involves creatures from deep underground...
I'm very honored to have had Lia on the blog today, this is such a great interview and she's such a great personality I can't wait for more from her!
Check out more from the lovely Lia Habel on her website LiaHabel.com. Her Twitter: @liahabel and Facebook.
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