50 Page Fridays: Lia Habel


Every Friday, we here @ Del Rey Spectra will place a 50 page excerpt of a selected title on Unbound Worlds. Whether it is science fiction, epic fantasy, alternate history, horror, urban fantasy, paranormal, the possibilities are endless.

Dearly, Beloved is the steam-punk, zombie-romance sequel you’ve been waiting for. Following the captivating first book of the series, Dearly, Departed, author Lia Habel picks up right where she left off. Her star-crossed couple, a living girl named Nora and her lovable zombie boyfriend Bram, prepare for battle as anti and pro-zombie factions take to the streets. Read on to hear what it was like to write the second installment of such a unique series from the author herself:

“My first book, Dearly, Departed was created in a spirit of play. I never imagined that more than two people would end up reading it, let alone that it would get this far. Thus my writing was incredibly egoless, innocent, and divorced from judgment — I ended up creating for the sheer joy of creating, adding all the elements that I loved (even if I had to stretch the story’s internal logic to the breaking point to mash them together), and ducking the stodgier points of creative responsibility at every turn. I don’t think what I ended up doing was so much “worldbuilding” as “idea-vomiting.” I was not a photo-realistic painter carefully considering each move of my brush, but a visual artist dropping buckets of paint onto a canvas from five floors up.

And it was glorious.

The sequel was a different animal altogether — for better and worse. Writing with the knowledge that other people would end up reading my work was absolutely terrifying, and dampened my enthusiasm for a long time. Realizing that I did have to treat the story seriously made my inner class clown want to curl up in a ball under her desk. I ended up second-guessing every decision that I made, double-checking the definitions of words I’ve known since childhood, and otherwise doubting myself to the core. Soon realizing that I could not write under such conditions, much less well, I had to make the conscious decision to recapture some of the “honey badger don’t care” spirit of my debut. Otherwise, there would be no book — or, if a book did manage to take shape, there would be no “me” in it.

Ultimately, I found this more rewarding than writing the first book. The second time around I was forced to openly acknowledge the fact that I was making ridiculous connections, knitting together inherently silly elements, and eventually twisting everything to my own ends — to please myself. The first time it happened, it was effortless. The second time it happened, it was a choice. It gave me a new perspective on the story, my career, and my own mind.

Taking those ridiculous story elements — good-guy zombies, heteromortal love, outlandish vehicles (this time around — well, I won’t spoil it!), Victorians with cell phones, all-out living/dead gang warfare, etc. — and using them to craft what is, ultimately, a story about seizing the day and doing good while you still can is incredibly rewarding for me. However, writing my first sequel has taught me that in the end, that’s not enough — I also need to enjoy the writing process itself. Just like it’s sometimes necessary to sit down and force yourself to write, even if you don’t feel like it, I’ve learned that occasionally you must also force yourself to adopt a certain attitude while writing. I’m grateful for this lesson, and will always cherish Beloved for that reason.”

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Please enjoy this excerpt of Dearly, Beloved by Lia Habel, on sale September 25th!

DEARLY, BELOVED by Lia Habel, Excerpt