This is the last installment of the transcript of my interview with Lauren Kate, New York Times Bestselling Author of the Fallen series.
Meann: I read on Twitter that you tried balut. How was that?
Lauren Kate: Oh my gosh. It was scary. But it actually tasted pretty good. I was not able to eat the serious parts, but I had the broth and the yolk. This one came with a little bowl of salt and a little bowl of vinegar with chopped onions. So that was good; that was a good compliment to it.
M: How is your Asian Tour so far?
LK: It’s pretty wild to be over here. And actually, coming to the Philippines…coming back here kinda feels like a really nice homecoming. I’m still very familiar with it here, and the people are so warm. And meeting the people last year, I have kept up with so many of them on Twitter and Facebook, so it feels like familiar territory.
Whereas Singapore and KL, I’ve never been there. It’s all new experiences, but I love it. The people are wonderful, the food is so good, and it just feels really crazy to talk about your books on the other side of the world.
In Malaysia, they actually sell the books in a number of languages: Chinese, German, and French, I think, and Japanese. There was a couple of Chinese girls, and I got to sign their books, which were in Chinese…
M: What has kept you busy these past few months?
LK: I’ve just finished the 1st draft of Rapture. I’ve been working on that the whole winter and spring. After this tour, when I get home in August, I will do the revisions—probably two or three more rounds of revisions.
M: Can you tell us anything more about what to expect in Rapture?
LK: We have this main threat that all of the angels have to band together to prevent from happening; it’s something that both sides would hate to see happen. Their entire existence is being called into question. Everything is threatened. So we’ll see all the characters together again, which I missed a little bit in Passion.
For the first time, we see Luce and Daniel together in the present and in a good relationship for the whole book. That was fun to explore because, for all sorts of different reasons, we never saw that in any of the other books. Rapture is the first time…when I was writing it, it’s the first that I’ve ever been sitting at the keyboard and actually cried during the writing of a scene. It’s going to be a very powerful book.
M: Will there be more Shelby and Miles?
LK: Yeah, definitely. I really like their dynamic.
M: When Rapture is released, do you plan to go back here (to the Philippines)?
LK: I would love to. Next time, when I come back, I’ve got to spend more time here, and I’ve got to go and see some of the islands, have a vacation. I need to do it right.
M: I wasn’t able to ask about this before, but do you have any particular reason for choosing the titles of the books? Because we just keep joking about how Rapture is going to be released in 2012.
LK: Right, right. I always knew that Fallen was gonna be the title of Fallen, and that Rapture was gonna be called Rapture. I didn’t know what the two middle ones were gonna be; my publisher helped me find those titles. We had brainstorming sessions. Between my editor, my agent, my publisher, we probably came out with 300 titles and then chose the best ones for the books.
I wasn’t sure about the title for Passion or Torment at the time; now they seem very fitting. I think I was too close to the story during the time we were thinking about the titles to think that they were right. But I trusted that my team at Random House knew what they were talking about. I think titles are often very hard on writers for that reason, because you can be too close to the story to see what it’s about.
M: Did you have a working title or like a pet name for Passion?
LK: Passion, I was calling it Chaos for a long time. But Passion’s better, it’s a lot better.
M: We’ve seen your Passion playlist online, but some fans are asking if there’s a particular song that you associate with Fallen or Torment. Were there playlists for those?
LK: I didn’t do playlists for those. I should go back and do that, maybe.
I think for Fallen, the song by The Jayhawks called “You Look So Young”. I listened to that a lot when I was writing Fallen.
For Torment, I think a lot about the Bridezilla album. One of the songs, “Beaches”, I think, is on the Passion playlist, but the whole album… I’d just gotten it from my Australian publisher when I was working on revising Torment, so I listened to that a lot.
M: What’s your daily writing routine like?
LK: Usually, when I get up in the morning, I go for a run. I take my dog for a run. In the fall, I was training for a marathon, and so I was running a lot to do that. I’m done with the race now, but I’m still running; I’ve found that it’s really helpful to clear my head, and to focus myself.
By the time I’m finished running, usually I have the first paragraph of what I’m gonna write that day mapped out—that’s usually the hardest part for me, to get a little bit of momentum. So that way, when I sit down, I’m ready to go. I turn off my phone, I turn off my e-mail alerts, I turn off everything, and I just write for about 6 hours and then I’m totally brain dead.
Usually, to unwind, on an average night, I love to cook. It’s very hands-on and also mindless. I don’t have to think—I can just zone out, watch TV, do something with my hands—it’s very different from writing. Then I wake up the next day, and do it all over again.
It’s pretty boring when I’m working on a draft. I see friends sometimes, but I’m sort of hard to reach, and I’m just like in a little cave with my computer. So I’m happy when the first draft is over and I can go out, see friends again, and be a real person.
M: You don’t go to any special place?
LK: I like to write in my office—it’s quiet, there’s a window that looks out on this canyon where I live. I don’t like to go to coffee shops because I like it to be very quiet, and you never know what kind of distractions there’s gonna be.
I have a lot of writing friends in LA who go to coffee shops. It’s a big scene: everybody has their computers up, and you sort of look around and everybody’s writing. I can’t deal with that. I just have to be alone. It takes me so long to get into that place mentally that I would just be too distracted.
M: How much of Luce is based on you?
LK: Just very very little things. Probably on every page, there are little tiny details that have something to do with me. Something like her relationship with her grandmother. A very small detail—things that she remembers, or some kind of food that she likes or doesn’t like. Those things are sometimes based on me, sometimes they’re based on other people I know or no one at all. But the core of her character is not at all based on me. I can relate to her, I feel like we’ll be very good friends, but it’s a completely different… a separate entity for me.
M: You mentioned when I spoke to you last year that Luce is not initially how you envisioned her in Fallen. Now, has she developed more into what you envisioned?
LK: Yeah, definitely. And now I really care about her a lot, I think she’s wonderful. And actually, now, when I go back and read Fallen, I feel very differently about her. I went back and read the whole series to prepare for writing Rapture and I see her as something very different than I did before. I think that having different perspectives of her character changed everything.
I think that when we talked last time about some issues I have with Luce, it’s probably just issues I was having with my writing and with the story; it wasn’t her. So I can see her now as her own entity, and I enjoy her very much. I love the way she’s grown over the series. I’m really very proud of her right now.
M: Are there any developments with the movie?
LK: They are very close to finishing the script. They had written one script and it wasn’t good enough, I think, so they found a new writer. So they’re just finishing a new script, and everyone’s really excited about it.
M: Also you mentioned the idea for the new series? Can you tell us more about that?
LK: I can’t share anything about it yet ‘cause I’m still working on it with my publisher. But it’ll be a trilogy–there’ll be a new world, new characters. It’ll still have some otherworldly elements.
M: Have any of your fans sent you fan fiction?
LK: Yeah, I got one the other day, actually, when I was in Kuala Lumpur. I don’t go to the websites where they are posted, but I see every once in a while on Facebook, like a new one has been added.
M: Are you okay with that?
LK: Yeah, definitely. I think it’s very flattering, yeah, I think it’s really cool.
M: Some authors are very protective about their characters, and—
M: Yeah, I think Anne Rice doesn’t approve of it.
LK: I think it’s amazing, actually, that people can imagine your characters well enough that they can see them in scenes that you haven’t written about. That means you’re successful in writing something that’s real and vibrant, so I think it’s really flattering.
Thank you to National Book Store, esp. to Karla and Chad, for giving me the chance to be able to talk to Lauren again. Thanks to my talented photographer, Gary Mayoralgo. 😛 And thank you, Lauren, for being such an accommodating and funny and non-frightening interviewee. 😀
– Lauren Kate: The Passion Tour photos by Gary Mayoralgo
– Front page feature image: lib-art.com
– Previous excerpt — Lauren Kate: On the WSJ debacle and writing for teens
– Previous excerpt — Lauren Kate: On visual inspirations and angel wings
– Previous excerpt — Lauren Kate: On Luce’s lifetimes and writing bad guys
– An epic, romantic journey with Lauren Kate (on GMA News Online)