Thursday, September 30, 2010

Interview with Lauren Kate ( Author of "Fallen" & "Torment")

Today it is an honor to welcome Lauren Kate to both my blogs.

Lauren Kate is an American author and she writes full-time. She grew up in Dallas, and is currently living in Los Angeles with her husband and their dog. Her debut novel, "The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove", was released in 2009 and is a re-telling of MacBeth, but it was her second novel that was going to be her big break-through.

"Fallen" was also released in 2009, and is the first book in a planned series about angels.

We meet seventeen year old Lucinda Price, who is sent to a reform school after the boy she likes is tragically killed in a fire, and she is believed to have had something to do with it.

"Fallen" became an instante hit, and was named nummer 4 on The New York Times best seller list in December the same year. I absolutely loved the novel.

The second book in the series, "Torment", is released in the UK today.

Lauren Kate's books are beautifully written, full of mythology, romance, suspense, mysteries and thrills. And they all have covers that are like candy for the eyes. They are among my favorite reads.

Want to get to know Lauren better? Here is an interview I did with her, when I was awaiting the release of "Torment":

Thank you so much for accepting this interview, Lauren Kate. Book number 2, in the Fallen series, "Torment", is out in the UK today. Can you tell us a little about this book?

I am so excited about "Torment". It picks up right where Fallen left off, though Luce is in a new place, with a whole new cast of characters. She’s looking forward to a future with Daniel—but of course, it’s not going to be that easy! First she has to look deep into their past together, and what she finds there will surprise her.

How many books have you planned for this series?

There will be four books in total. I’ve just started writing the third book, "Passion", which is a prequel that will trace Luce and Daniel’s past relationships in detail across history. It’s quite a task, but I’m having fun with it!

Wow, that sounds great. Where did you get the idea for the story initially, and why exactly did you want to write about angels?

The idea began when I came across a line in Genesis that talked about a group of fallen angels who were kicked out of heaven because they lusted after mortal women. I started thinking about what it would be like to be normal girl--suddenly the object of an angel’s affection. All the excitement and the challenges that would naturally spring from that. As someone who's been writing love stories my whole life, this angel angle seemed like the perfect way for me to up the ante and tell a really BIG love story, one that brought in questions about trust and betrayal, and preconceived notions good and evil.

You must have done a lot of research on mythology and angels in particular and learned a great deal about them. Did you learn anything that surprised you?

When I started researching, I was interested in the way good and evil intersected in various theologies. My reading took me back to Zoroastrianism, the earliest known dualistic religion (meaning there are two opposite sides). Good and evil are twin brothers, two parts of a whole, and born of the same place. In Judaism, God is both merciful (“good”) and just (occasionally punishing or distant). He is, of course, never described as “evil,” but many scholars make the case that the Hebrew god contains some of the same dualities as the pair of Zoroastrian gods. A hard side, and a soft side. In Christianity, there’s Satan. We all know about him. The fact that all three of these foundational religions have strong dualistic roots fascinated me. Can the lines dividing them really be that clean and that stark? No, in fact good and evil can rely on each other. And even if they are on paper—or in Heaven—what happens when you throw humans and their free will into the mess? What was black and white becomes grey.
How is a normal writing day for you, and when and where do you write?

I write at home, at a desk facing a large window that looks out on Laurel Canyon in Los Angeles. I like to go for a run in the morning to clear my head. I usually have sketched out a rough paragraph of what I’m going to write the day before and after an hour or so of procrastination in the morning—emails, twitter, playing with the dog—I sit down and focus on writing. I write hard for about four hours straight (which usually gets me about seven or eight pages), then I am usually completely catatonic! I take a break for about an hour, maybe take a walk or read a magazine. Then I go back and revise, expand, and edit my work, and begin to sketch out the paragraph synopsis for what I’ll write the next day.

Do you have the details in the story planned beforehand, or do you develop the story as you are writing it?

Both. Because the scope of the series is so big and so complicated, I had to map out the books in detail or I don’t think I could have known what I was writing about. So I typed it all up: character arcs, long synopses for each books, a map of the chapter for the first book, cliffhanger endings, the whole deal. Once I was comfortable with the shape of the story, I plunged. I had the outline to fall back on, but the freedom to stray from it when my writing momentum took me someplace else..
Have you always wanted to become an author?
When I was a little girl, I wanted to be a ballerina. When I was a teenager, I wanted to be a writer. Now that I’m working full-time as I writer, I want go to culinary school and become a chef. (While still writing books, of course!)

Is there any authors or books that have influenced you in your writing?

I’ve always loved to read. Growing up I adored anything by Roald Dahl and read all of his books over and over again. I love Lois Lowry, Patricia MacLachlan, Judy Blume, Phillip Pullman, and Suzanne Collins. My favorite “adult” authors are William Faulkner, Don DeLillo, Virginia Woolf, Charles Dickens, and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Right now I’m reading The Master and Margarita by a fantastic Russian author named Bulgacov.

The book covers for the Fallen - series are amazing. I guess you must be very pleased with them. Who designs them?

The cover art comes from a Brazilian artist named Fernanda Brussi Goncalves. We’ve emailed a few times and she’s incredibly warm and talented. I will be forever endebted to her for her beautiful beautiful work, which has really brought the books to life.
What do you associate with Norway? Ever been here?

Beautiful fjords, waterfalls, and Per Peterson, whose work I absolutely adore. "Out Stealing Horses"was one of the most incredible books I have ever read.

I would LOVE to visit. Maybe someday I could do to book signing trip!

Oh yes, I really hope you can one day. Anything else you would like to add?

Thank you so much for reaching out to me. It’s so exciting to have a chance to connect with readers across the world!

Thank you, Lauren Kate. Her book "Torment" is out in the UK today, and if you have not read her books before I would strongly suggest that you do so. The Fallen - series are among my favorite books, way better than Twilight I think.

Here is the final trailer for "Torment":

And here is the trailer for "Fallen":

You can find Lauren Kate' s website here!

My review for "Torment" will be published on saturday, but I can already say this much: You do not want to miss out on that book.


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