So today I have been joined by the amazing author of Fallen and soon to be released Torment - Lauren Kate, I sent Lauren an emailing requesting an interview and she responded:
Thanks for your email. I wanted to let you know that I have just started writing my third book, PASSION, and while I'm writing, I don't usually accept interviews or blog requests (because when I’m working on a book it’s usually hard enough for me to remember to eat, let alone take on other productive tasks!). (more after this but i edited)
Well Lauren it was better then OK...I mean book 3 already wohoooo so here's the questions that Lauren answered even though she is super super busy....She is a rock star and sent an email to me and many others answering many questions that get asked...keep reading to find out more
ABOUT LAUREN KATE:
When did you start writing?
When I was younger, I wrote often and across a lot of genres—poetry, songs, stories, lots and lots of diary writing. I started focusing mainly on fiction by the time I was in high school, and longer stories came more naturally to me than short stories. I majored in creative writing in college, and went on to get a masters degree in fiction—but I don’t think those things are necessary to being a good writer. Practice, curiosity, voracious reading, and diligence are more important than any degree. I finished writing my first novel right when I graduated college—but nothing ever happened with it. It look another six years before I had a book accepted for publication.
Did you read a lot growing up? What are your favorite books?
I’ve always been a voracious reader. I can’t go on vacation for a weekend without at least five books. Growing up, my favorite author was Roald Dahl, and I think I read each of his books ten times. My favorite children’s/YA writers are Lois Lowry, Frances Hardinge, Meg Rosoff, Maureen Johnson, Phillip Pullman, and John Green. A few of my favorite adult books are To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, and One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
ABOUT THE BOOKS:
What drew you to the idea of fallen angels?
I’ve been writing love stories for as long as I’ve been writing. To me, the most complicated romances make the most interesting narratives, so I’m always looking for new obstacles to throw in my lovers’ paths. When I was getting my masters degree in fiction, I was studying biblical narratives and came across a line in Genesis (6:1-4), which describes a group of angels who fell in love with mortal women. Putting this reference together with a mention in Isaiah and another in Palsm 82, biblical scholars conclude that these angels were actually cast out of Heaven for their lust. Which means—you could say—that these angels chose love over Heaven. I found this to be an endlessly interesting set up for an incredibly complicated romance. I started thinking about what kind of mortal girl it would take to attract an angel’s attention. And what it would be like for her to find herself in this position. What kind of baggage would an angel have? What would her very over-protective parents think? From there, this whole world unfurled in my head with fallen angels, demons, reincarnation, and the war between good and evil all battling for a piece of the action.
Who is Luce based on? Which character are you most like?
The physical traits of Luce (pronounced Loose) are based on my oldest, closest friend—the dark wavy hair, hazel eyes, tiny teeth, etc. When I first started writing her, I pulled some personality traits from this friend, but as I continued with her story, Luce veered away from my friend into an identity of her own. I share some traits with her—like her stubbornness and tendency to get swept away by romance. But if I had to which one I’m most like (though this is hard to imagine), I might be a crazy combination of Arriane and Penn.
Did you struggle in coming up with any of the characters?
Daniel was the most challenging, mainly because the full truth of his character has to come to light very slowly over the course of the entire series in order for the books to work. The reveal at the end of the first book was probably one that most readers saw coming...it is book about fallen angels after all! But there's a much bigger, game-changing reveal about Daniel to come later in the series. It's challenging for me to know what's coming and only be able to show the reader so much at this point. Daniel's character is difficult enough as it is! But I like to think of him as a work in progress, a developing story, and someone who, above all, knows Luce better than anyone else (including herself), and has her best interest at heart. 0
What happened to Trevor? Who is the good and who is the bad guy? Why did these angels fall? Why did you kill Penn? Why did Daniel give Luce the middle finger? Will there be another love triangle in the next book? Why did you end the book with so many unanswered questions??
That is the blessing and the curse of writing a series! I wish I could give you all the answers now, but please believe me that I have a reason for withholding some of the details! I must torment you until Torment comes out in the fall! In the meantime, check out the Sword and Cross Case Files at www.fallenbooks.com to learn a little bit more about who's who in Fallen!
Why did you choose to write it in third person instead of in first?
I love talking about point of view and love playing with it in my books. In the case of Fallen, I didn’t intentionally choose this point of view. Most of the time when I start a new story, I’ll hear a line in my head before I start writing. In this case, it was the first sentence of Chapter One (more or less). The choice to say “Luce” instead of “I” was implicit, not something I was entirely aware of. I just started writing, but it felt true to the story to tell it from a close, close third, so I kept it. We’re almost in Luce’s head, but there’s that small point of view choice separating us. She remains just a little bit unknowable, which is how I wanted her character to be.
How long did Fallen take you to write?
I blazed through a first draft of Fallen in about two months. I write fast and furious and then take a break and usually go back for another month or two of heavy revision. I write in Microsoft Word on an old ibook with most of the keyboard letters worn off!
Do you have a playlist of songs for Fallen?
Not officially, but a few songs I listened to a lot as I was writing:
Drunken Angel by Lucinda Williams
You Look So Young by the Jayhawks
Not Dark Yet by Bob Dylan
I heart those of you who send me playlist suggestions, so feel free to pass them along.
What about your other book, The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove?
Betrayal is my first novel and was as much of a guilty pleasure to write as I hope it is for people to read. It’s a dark, funny, gothic story about one girl’s twisted path towards Queen Bee-dom. It’s a Cruel Intentions meets Friday Night Lights meets MacBeth (told from Lady MacBeth’s point of view), set in the contemporary south. People read Fallen and they ask me whether I went to a school like Sword and Cross. Not even close! Actually, it’s the school in Betrayal that is a thinly veiled version of my utterly enormous and insanely Texan high school. All the things Natalie cares about in Betrayal are very close to my high school heart.
Like Fallen, Betrayal is richly southern gothic—Fallen is set in Savannah and Betrayal is set in Charleston, South Carolina—so the same sort of wonderfully oppressive southern scenes are important to both books. But where Luce is struggling to find her place in a new, unfamiliar school, Natalie is a girl at the top of her game—and she won’t let anything compromise that. Like every complex character, they both have some pretty remarkable skeletons in their closet. Natalie is a bit naughtier than Luce, but I imagine they would be friends. Actually, Nat’s kind of like a type-A version of Arriane.
No plans (yet) to write a sequel to Betrayal, but you never know!
Can you give us a hint about what will happen in Torment?
I’m having so much fun writing Torment right now. I think I’m more proud of it than any book I’ve written so far. Really, it’s going to be GOOD. It’s hard for me not to spill everything right now so I can say, “Aren’t you excited? Won’t this be great?” But my publisher would probably have my head. So in lieu of that, I’ll reveal just three things:
As Luce learns more about her past, she comes into a host of powers she never knew she had—and they might involve the shadows.
After the second book comes out, a prequel (which will span thousands of years!) will follow before the final book in the series.
I’ve posted a preview on my blog! Check it out!
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
I've been writing stories since I was in middle school, so I love talking to people who are interesting in writing. One question I get often has to do with what to do when you get stuck, and the clearest advice I can give about that would be to look at the scene from a different angle and write through it. Say I'm trying to write a scene about two people having an argument at sunset and can't figure out how to make it interesting or fresh. Sometimes, when it takes me a while to get warmed up, I'll imagine how someone else--my husband, my best friend, someone I recently argued with--might see the same sunset. What would they notice about it that I wouldn't, or vice versa? Write a whole paragraph about the sunset instead of just a sentence. Then go back and look at what is strongest image you came up with. Which image reflects something new about your characters? Save that image, cut the rest. Eventually, those strong images will pop out first in your mind.
To those of you who are working on a novel or have finished one and are sending out your work: stick with it! I don’t think you can ever be too young (or too old!) to start sending out your work. In addition to Fallen, I have another novel I have been working on for eight years now and I know that someday I’m going to finish it! I couldn’t even begin to count how many rejection letters I’ve received over the years from agents, publishers, editors, and contest judges. What kept me writing was the support of other friends who are writers—and a dogged determination to someday get my writing published. There were times when I never thought it would happen, but now I’m so glad I kept writing. Find a writing-buddy, share your work, revise it over and over again, read it aloud, stay true to yourself and your voice, and don’t give up. An English or a Writing program are great ways to read widely and meet other writers. You can get a lot of great practice writing and revising in an academic program but I wouldn’t say the degrees you earn are necessary. If you’re looking for an agent, Writers Marketplace (the book) is a great place to start. There are also tons of publishing blogs out there with suggestions for agents. It’s mostly about finding someone whose tastes and sensibilities match yours.
To those of you who have asked, I’m sorry that I can’t agree to take a look at your own writing and offer feedback. I would love to have the time to do that, but I have to start working on my next book!!