Author Interview & Book Review: Dearly, Beloved by Lia Habel
I’m not a huge fan of YA, but I cannot get enough of Lia Habel’s Gone With the Respiration series. It’s addicting! This is a series that I absolutely inhale. It is so different from anything that I’ve ever read. It’s refreshing and a breath of fresh air.
We see deeper into our favorite characters: Nora, Bram, and Pamela; as well as new characters: Laura, Dog, and Smoke. There are also characters that get a bigger role in this book which was very exciting to see: Michael, Vespertine, and Coalhouse.
Nora is still getting herself into trouble because she can’t not help someone in trouble. We see deeper into Michael’s past and his family, learning why he acts the way he does. We see his father and his work for a few chapters.
The second installment of this series leaves Company Z disbanded. The living are now fighting back. Things are falling apart. There is a new strain of the Laz virus that is spreading throughout New London. This time around, they have the zombie source in custody.
With everything falling apart, this book is darker than the first one… which I thoroughly enjoyed. Peoples homes are being attacked, anxiety is rising high, and thoughts of suicide are being debated.
A group called The Murder has sprung up. They are living humans that go after and kill zombies. They wear black masks that disguise their faces and distort their voices.
With Company Z is no longer active, the soldiers are scattered. Some are staying at Nora’s house to help Dr. Dearly. Others, like Hagen, formed a group called The Changed. This group is supposed to be a sanctuary for zombies so they can live peacefully, but with Hagens in charge things don’t turn out even the way she expected.
Pamela is having anxiety attacks and dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder with everything that has happened to her in these two books. I would like to give a huge thank you to Lia Habel for writing about Pamela and her anxiety issues. Growing up with and still battling General Anxiety Disorder, it really hit home for me. It is an exhausting disorder to live with, and does get extremely tiring to hide pretending like everything is alright.
I definitely recommend this book, especially if you’ve read Dearly, Departed. It takes the entire story to a whole new level of craziness and I can’t wait for more!
The fabulous Lia Habel is always so sweet and generous, as well as ever so glamorous. She was kind enough to do an interview to go along with this book review. Hope you enjoy it!
The Obscured Vixen: How many books will there be in the series?
Lia Habel: I recently sat down to work on the proposal to continue the series, and came up with the idea of five books. The rough outlines of the final three are now sitting in a Word file on my computer, waiting to see what happens on the business side of things. Bram is the lynchpin of the series, and the measuring stick by which it’s plotted — I have to give him a solid, exciting story arc and conclusion, and I think three books will work for that.
At one point I said that I could imagine myself writing about the characters forever, but now I realize that isn’t the case. Aside from the fact that I’ve found that I struggle with writing series (which I didn’t know before I sat down to write Beloved, my first-ever sequel), zombies are monsters with a limited shelf life, and I think that dragging the characters out would ultimately negatively impact their stories and voices.
TOV: When will the next book be released? I need more!
LH: It hasn’t even been written yet! I can tell you that the working title is Dearly, Betrayed (ooh, foreshadowing), and that we’ll finally, hopefully get across the Border and start looking at things from a Punk perspective. The plot will also start to get really heavy — I had no idea where Departed was going when I started writing it, and quite innocently said, “Sure, I can do that!” when my agent suggested expanding the book into a series. I’ve found, though, that it’s a very complicated, generational plot — that Nora, especially, will be dealing with things that happened long before she was ever born. I think Lopez solidified that for me, when I sat down to flesh him out for book two — I realized how far back a lot of my characters’ issues go. This isn’t shaping up to just be a “zombie apocalypse” story; it’s a story that talks about the turns you make in your life, how you handle your past, and how you have to pick yourself up and keep marching on.
TOV: Without giving too much away, how did you come up with the story line for Laura? Especially her green thumb?
LH: Laura was inspired by all the zombie movies I’ve watched, actually! I really like it when zombies are presented almost as earth elementals; when they’re accompanied by such metaphorical cues as dead plants, moss, grave dirt, etc. Think of the zombies that claw their way out of the ground and come out streaked with earth, or are covered with mold. I’ve even watched movies that use plants as a means of infection! So I wanted to take that idea and run with it, and I came up with the idea of a zombified Victorian flower girl. (Fact: Right up through line edits, her name was actually Sofia — I don’t watch Walking Dead, so I had no idea there was a pivotal character named Sophia on that show. I changed it at the last minute!)
TOV: Love seems to be in the air! Do we eventually see other characters besides Nora and Bram falling in love: Pamela? Vespertine? Coalhouse?
LH: Pamela is so not in the market for romance right now! I think she’s focused on overcoming her own issues — and maybe getting a little revenge? I am really excited about Vespertine, though; she’s a really interesting character to write. I’d love to do more with her and Ren…mainly because I think the other boys underestimate Ren. Protip, girls: Nerds like to be the best at EVERYTHING they do. Failure is not an option.
TOV: If you had the choice, would you rather have a Rolls Royce or a motorized stage coach?
LH: Oh gosh, do I have to pick? I’m going with the coach. Mostly because it might actually have room for all my dresses.