Miscellany: “Teardrop” trailer, “Unbreakable” audio book, Gaiman talks “Ocean” and fantasy, Stiefvater and bagpipes

Lauren Kate’s “Teardrop” will be released on October 22nd! I was fortunate enough to be able to interview Lauren twice already and to see just how passionate she is about the “Fallen” series, so I’m excited to read “Teardrop” and to see her venture into a new world and a new series.

Never, ever cry…Eureka Boudreaux’s mother drilled that rule into her daughter years ago. But now her mother is gone, and everywhere Eureka goes he is there: Ander, the tall, pale blond boy who seems to know things he shouldn’t, who tells Eureka she is in grave danger, who comes closer to making her cry than anyone has before. But Ander doesn’t know Eureka’s darkest secret: ever since her mother drowned in a freak accident, Eureka wishes she were dead, too. She has little left that she cares about, just her oldest friend, Brooks, and a strange inheritance—a locket, a letter, a mysterious stone, and an ancient book no one understands. The book contains a haunting tale about a girl who got her heart broken and cried an entire continent into the sea. Eureka is about to discover that the ancient tale is more than a story, that Ander might be telling the truth…and that her life has far darker undercurrents than she ever imagined.

Entertainment Weekly has the exclusive on the book trailer HERE.


Another October release: Kami Garcia’s “Unbreakable” (October 1)! I’m excited for this as well.

I never believed in ghosts. Until one tried to kill me.

When Kennedy Waters finds her mother dead, her world begins to unravel. She doesn’t know that paranormal forces in a much darker world are the ones pulling the strings. Not until identical twins Jared and Lukas Lockhart break into Kennedy’s room and destroy a dangerous spirit sent to kill her. The brothers reveal that her mother was part of an ancient secret society responsible for protecting the world from a vengeful demon — a society whose five members were all murdered on the same night.

Now Kennedy has to take her mother’s place in the Legion if she wants to uncover the truth and stay alive. Along with new Legion members Priest and Alara, the teens race to find the only weapon that might be able to destroy the demon — battling the deadly spirits he controls every step of the way.

Kami Garcia and her publishers just announced that the audiobook will be narrated by the lovely Candice Accola a.k.a. Caroline from “The Vampire Diaries”! I love her! Yay!

There is a preview of the audiobook on Entertainment Weekly, but I think the media is blocked for users outside the US. You can still try, though! CLICK!


Book Riot interviewed Neil Gaiman recently. Par for the course with Gaiman, there are so many quotable quotes in the interview, but this is the part that I really loved and the part that made me THINK. Yes, making his readers think—and think deeply—is par for the course with Gaiman, too.

A recurring theme in all your work is that the magical and fantastical lies mere millimeters below the surface of everyday life. After creating these worlds where gods walk among us and fairy lands are a mere crack in the wall away, do you ever get bored with everyday life? For example, do you ever wish Odin was propping up that bar?

What I find fascinating about the real world is that fantasy is one of the few things that allows you to talk about the imaginary. From what I can see, the imaginary is the thing that occupies most people’s lives and allows them to function.

Money is imaginary. It is a concept, an idea. Here’s some pieces of paper and metal. We are claiming they’re scarce when they are not. They represent something.

Scotland is right now arguing if it should be part of the UK or not. National borders are imaginary things. You get up high and look down you cannot see the border. There is none. It’s an imaginary thing that is agreed upon.

Let’s go even further into it. The World Trade Centre getting blown up. If you stand a little bit further back, Islamic-Christian antipathy, Islamic-Jewish antipathy, Catholic-Protestant antipathy, has all the reality of Odin sitting at that counter over there. You take just one step back and it is a bunch of people willing to pervert and destroy, kill and change the world just to say my imaginary friend likes me better than your imaginary friend.

That’s all weird imaginary stuff. So the glory of fantasy is that it allows you to inspect that. It allows you to take one step away from a quotidian reality in which we accept imaginary things as real. Do you realise the amount of blood that has been spilled and is still spilled to this day about people arguing about whether or not a cracker, literally or metaphorically, becomes the body and blood of someone who may or may not have lived, and if he did, died 2000 years ago? And bombs go off. And people lose hands and lives. So, I figure that anyone who wants to tell me that fantasy isn’t dealing with the material of daily life is kinda missing everything that goes on in daily life.

Thank you for stimulating the Little Grey Cells, Sir!

Full interview: In conversation with Neil Gaiman (Book Riot)


And lastly, Maggie Stiefvater’s “The Dream Thieves”—the sequel to the magical “The Raven Boys”—was officially released yesterday, September 17th. I’ve been reading an ARC for the past 2 weeks. I had reservations about the first book despite liking it, but “The Dream Thieves” just took a hold of me from the first line of the Prologue. I wish I can read faster so I can review it faster!

Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Ronan, Gansey, Blue, and Adam will be the same. Ronan, for one, is falling more and more deeply into his dreams, and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life.

Meanwhile, some very sinister people are looking for some of the same pieces of the Cabeswater puzzle that Gansey is after…

Goodreads posted this great interview with Maggie in celebration of the release of the book:


Miscellany: Prophecies and Fortune Cookies

If I were to wake up one morning to find out that I have acquired a superpower worthy of Heroes, I’d accept almost anything except for the power of prophecy. It seems like such a useful power if you think about it, but it’s also a burden knowing what the future holds because a normal human cannot just sit there knowing what’s about to happen and not do anything about it.

But it’s fun seeing prophecy in action in fiction, though. And if it’s Laini Taylor who’s writing about it, then I’m on board!

Richelle Mead, Lisa McMann, Michael Grant, Meg Cabot, Laini Taylor, and nine more of the hottest YA authors to hit the shelves explore the concepts of prophecy and prediction in this story collection edited by NYT bestselling author of The Forest of Hands and Teeth, Carrie Ryan.

Have you ever been tempted to look into the future? To challenge predictions? To question fate? It’s human nature to wonder about life’s twists and turns. But is the future already written—or do you have the power to alter it?

From fantastical prophecies to predictions of how the future will transpire, Foretold is a collection of stories about our universal fascination with life’s unknowns and of what is yet to come as interpreted by 14 of young adult fiction’s brightest stars.

Laini Taylor shared her thoughts about the anthology on her blog, and she also shared the first line of her story, “Gentlemen Send Phantoms.”

Once, when the moon was younger than it is tonight and not as plump, three girls gathered by a hearth to bake a dreamcake.

Damn. I think I have to read this book.

★ ★ ★

Lauren Kate released a short story set in the Fallenverse called “Daniel’s Gift.” It ties nicely into the Daniel and Luce Valentine story in Fallen In Love.

It kinda hurts reading about Daniel when he’s like this. 😦

★ ★ ★

During the Authors as Readers panel in the 2nd Filipino Readers’ Conference, New Lit author Mina V. Esguerra spoke about the 3 kinds of characters from which most—if not all—love interests are molded from: The Unattainable Crush, The Best Friend, and The Jerk. She blogged about it in more detail here: click! If you like reading romance stories, do check out her post; it’s a revelation. 😉

★ ★ ★

Rick Riordan revealed one of the new characters that we will get to meet in The Heroes of Olympus #3: The Mark of Athena:

This is Nemesis, goddess of Revenge. *cue Temptation of Wife theme music* *yes, here come the Korean drama references*

When I first saw her, I was reminded of War a.k.a. Scarlett, one of the Horsepersons of the Apocalypse in Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s Good Omens. I don’t know why; maybe it’s the motorcycle. Because the Horsepersons don’t actually ride horses. Because horses are like so last century…so Book of Revelations. (But wait, the Book talks about the future, so horses are so…next century? Ummmm… Processing… Okay, never mind.) Or maybe they’re hippies or something.

Anyway. Nemesis is apparently a shape-shifter and Leo will have an encounter with her in which he does some bargaining. I have a feeling “bargaining” may actually mean “aggressive negotiations,” you know, like in Star Wars Episode II. Or maybe it involves fortune cookies because she’s holding one. Like “you can bargain with me, but first, have a cookie!”

*cracks open a fortune cookie*

*reads out the ambiguous Chinese philosophical sayings*

*interprets the fortune just as ambiguously and makes it twistier than Red Vines*

*announces that it actually means “Sorry, Leo, you lose! I get to beat you up!”*

*drags Leo into a dark alley*

*demigod vs goddess Boss Battle!!!!*


Sorry, I got carried away. I don’t even know why I’m blogging right now when my mind is a mess from trying to hold in my fangirl squeeing (I am working in a public place right now) after watching some videos. If I did not make any sense at all, you can blame HIM.


“Fallen In Love” by Lauren Kate

Title: Fallen In Love
Author: Lauren Kate
Read Date: March 2012
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Review Preview: Something fun to read while waiting for “Rapture” (no, not the doomsday thingy.)

Unexpected. Unrequited. Forbidden. Eternal. Everyone has their own love story.

And in a twist of fate, four extraordinary love stories combine over the course of a romantic Valentine’s Day in Medieval England. Miles and Shelby find love where they least expect it. Roland learns a painful lesson about finding—and losing—love. Arianne pays the price for a love so fierce it burns. And for the first—and last—time, Daniel and Luce will spend a night together like none other.

Unexpected. I wouldn’t say Shelby and Miles’ romance was entirely unexpected. Okay, let’s just say that a good number of Fallen fans have been shipping them since Torment, but of course only Lauren Kate had the power to make them a couple or just have them remain good Luce-chasing time-traveling buddies. But I really like that Lauren went there because this series needs an uncomplicated romance—something sweet and fun and affirming amid all the doom-and-gloom surrounding everyone else. Hurrah for Miles’ Rogue Cap!

Unrequited. I still cannot shake the images of Roland going all tower-climbing Romeo on us (and falling), or of him being so clumsy while attempting to kiss a girl, or of him being a failure at poetry. It’s different from the confident Roland of the present, but then again, it seems like the common theme with Roland, Arianne, and Cam is that their great loves have had such a profound effect on them and we can see how much it changed them.

I like that even though I am conditioned to believe—because of religious prejudice, I think—that Roland is “evil” because he’s a demon, Lauren still managed to convince me that he is capable of acting honorably, and that it’s an integral part of his character.

Throughout the series, the portrayal of the “demons” often surprised me. They don’t seem inherently “evil,” they’re just beings who chose the other side in an epic if-you’re-not-with-me-you’re-against-me battle, and Roland’s story here attests to that.

Forbidden. Arianne’s story has got to be the most heartbreaking one in this book.

Tess tempted Arianne, challenged her, and questioned who she was and what she really believed in. And if it were possible, Tess would have died for her. Theirs is a love that began before they made The Choice, so really, if you’re keeping track, their relationship is marred by big double heartbreaks.

The forbidden aspect of their relationship—Tess is a demon—mirrors Luce and Daniel’s romance, so it’s telling that when Arianne walks away from Tess, scarred, she goes to find Daniel and Luce “to fight for the kind of love I believe in.” Arianne believes that Daniel and Luce’s love does not “require the other to betray her nature,” but in a way, Daniel already made that choice and committed that betrayal, and if we take all the hints seriously, soon, Luce would also have to make a choice that may just be as important as the one that Tess wanted Arianne to make.

And yes, I was surprised that Arianne’s great love was portrayed as a woman. I’m sure there are strong reactions to this revelation, ranging from “Lauren is just pandering to the call of character diversity” or “yay!” or “ugh!” But I do remember from my interviews with her that the angels in the Fallen-verse are more like souls who take up whatever form they fancy (“Passion” Spoiler Alert! – come on, The Evil One took up gargoyle form).

…their physical traits don’t really matter that much—they matter to the readers, they matter to me as a writer, to be able to visualize them—but literally, they don’t matter. Their bodies are sort of just shells—they can change it anytime and look like something different, like when we see Daniel in China, he’s Chinese. It’s really what their soul looks like, which is a hard thing to describe. And so I think that it manifests itself in their physical characteristics so that I can paint a picture for the readers and for myself. I think probably the closest that I get to who they really are is when I describe what they look like. I think that’s how I get closest to what their souls look like, if that makes sense.

So whether it’s all deliberate or contrived or Arianne whispered to her that this is how it has to be, I’m excited to ask her about this, and I hope to be given the chance to do so if she ever comes back here. 😉

Eternal. Of course the Daniel and Luce story here was sweet, but forgive me when I say that it didn’t make much of an impact after those first 3 stories, especially Arianne’s. *hangs head in shame*

The novelty of Fallen In Love is that we experience these stories within the same backdrop of Medieval Valentine’s Day, and they are structured in such a way that the transition from one story to the next is natural and continuous, it almost feels like we’re reading a single tale if not for the story divisions.

If you absolutely can’t wait for Rapture, then this is a good way to pass the time without leaving the Fallen-verse.

For those who keep landing here on my blog after googling “lauren kate rapture excerpt,” here’s some Search Term Indulgence. Of course I can’t post the excerpt which was included in Fallen In Love, but I’ll give you an idea.

It’s the prologue and the first chapter of Rapture, which is exactly where Passion left off, in that little cabin near Sword and Cross. The angels, Shelby, and Miles helped smuggle Luce back to her home so that her parents didn’t notice she was even gone. The next day, everyone’s gathered at the Sword and Cross library to figure out their next move when an earthquake happens. Oh wait, no, according to Cam, it’s a “seismic shift in time,” which could only mean that The Great Evil Gargoyle (sorry, can’t help it) is getting closer and that their time is running out.

♥ ♥ ♥
Special thanks to Leia, who loaned me her copy of the book. 🙂

I’ve “Fallen in Love” with the cover of Lauren Kate’s “Rapture”

It’s no secret that I’m quite invested in Lauren Kate‘s Fallen series, especially after being given the chance to interview her (twice), and to get a glimpse into the kind of work she puts into each of her novels.

One of the things that I love about the books is the striking book design and cover art. Brazilian artist Fernanda Brussi Gonçalves photographed and edited all of the cover images, and, if I’m not mistaken, she’s also the model in the photos.

Yesterday, Lauren revealed the cover art for Rapture, the conclusion of the Fallen series, which will be released on 12 June 2012.

I’ve always thought that we would finally see Luce’s face on the cover of the last book after that bit of a tease in Passion, but I like how this turned out. It feels right that Luce is wearing white (Rhyme on!) It also makes for a dramatic contrast with the darkness of Fallen, the sadness and isolation of Torment, and the colors of Passion. Together, the covers tell the story of Luce’s journey from darkness to enlightenment.


But before that, Lauren will also release Fallen in Love on 24 January 2012.

Unexpected. Unrequited. Forbidden. Eternal. Everyone has their own love story.

And in a twist of fate, four extraordinary love stories combine over the course of a romantic Valentine’s Day in Medieval England. Miles and Shelby find love where they least expect it. Roland learns a painful lesson about finding-and losing love. Arianne pays the price for a love so fierce it burns. And for the first -and last- time, Daniel and Luce will spend a night together like none other.

Lauren posted a chapter sampler from the Shelby/Miles story on her website: click! It’s super cute, especially if you like the idea of pairing up Shelby and Miles. (I do!)

In other book-related news:

– Rick Riordan announced that he will release the Kane Chronicles Survival Guide on 20 March 2012. “Fans of The Kane Chronicles series will adore this gorgeous primer on the people, places, gods, and creatures found in Rick Riordan’s #1 New York Times bestselling series. Boasting lenticulars, an easy-to-assemble trading card pyramid, and full-color diagrams and maps, this deluxe, lavishly illustrated guide teaches readers how to compile secret messages, read hieroglyphics, and recite ancient magic spells. Featuring enough information and extras to satisfy avid followers and budding Egyptologists alike, this guide will cast a spell on readers of all ages.” Looks like it’s the same concept as the Percy Jackson Ultimate Guide. This comes before the publication of the still untitled Kane Chronicles #3 on May 2012.

– Publisher’s Weekly recently posted their Best Books of 2011 list, and two of my favorites, The Scorpio Races and Daughter of Smoke and Bone are on it.

– Scholastic is going to release a bunch of movie tie-ins and companion books for The Hunger Games to mark the release of the film. May your fandom budget be ever in your favor!

Lauren Kate: On Rapture, writing, future projects, and fan fiction

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—

LK: Really?

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. 😀

Image Credits:
– Lauren Kate: The Passion Tour photos by Gary Mayoralgo
– Front page feature image: lib-art.com

Related Articles:
– 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)


Lauren Kate: On Luce’s lifetimes and writing bad guys

This is the penultimate installment of the transcript of my interview with New York Times Bestselling Author Lauren Kate last July 15th. Here, she talks about Luce’s past lives, free will vs. destiny, and Bill. (Muwahaha!)

Spoiler Warning: Some plot lines and outcomes in Passion were discussed here.


Meann: In Passion, how did you go about choosing which time and place you would like to include in the book?

Lauren Kate: There were different reasons. Some of them are vacation spots that really affected me, like her life in Chichén Itzá. I went there 2 or 3 years ago, I think. I always thought the culture is so startlingly different from anything I know—it’s so fascinating how violent they were, but how much they value their lives. That strange juxtaposition of those 2 things really startled me.

I remember thinking at the time, I’d love to write about those, but I’m not gonna write a whole book about a character who lives there. So it’s really cool to just drop her [Luce] in for a chapter, let her sit there and deal with it, and then take her somewhere else.

A lot of them actually were based on novels that I really liked and settings that I had read about and wanted to explore, like when she’s in Milan, that’s A Farewell to Arms. So I reread that, and pulled a lot of those images and little bits of the story there into the book. Same thing with the Halston, England chapters; I’ve always loved Victorian novels. Further back, some of them are just fantasy, settings that I’ve always been intrigued by and wanted to learn more about.

M: I really love the Egyptian one.

LK: Do you? I like that one, too.

lauren reads

M: Which one was the hardest to write?

LK: The earliest ones—the ones that appear latest in the books, or earliest in time—those are just so foreign to me. It’s a lot easier for me to write about the 1920’s, the 1940’s, or even Shakespeare’s time because we’re so familiar…or I guess American culture is so obsessed with Shakespeare’s time that we see it a lot in movies, we read about them all the time in school.  But yeah, like the Egypt chapter, and the Shang dynasty chapter—I had to take a different approach to ground the reader and myself in the scenes.

M:  In the China chapter, I kinda envisioned her looking like Mulan.

LK: [laughs] Yeah, me too, me too! I don’t know… That’s funny, but yeah, me too.

M: I like the Mayan one, too. It was kinda scary. And there’s an actual pit where they throw in their human sacrifices?

LK: Yeah, it’s like this very green, acid green water, and you can still see the skeletons there.

M: Did you have any discarded ideas for places or time periods?

LK: Yeah. Yeah, I have a scrap pile that has little bits and pieces from here and there. I’ve gotta figure out what to do with them. Someday, I’ll figure out a format, whether it’s online or something in print.

M: What do you think Luce and Daniel would have been like in a Philippine setting?

LK: [laughs] They would’ve eaten a lot of balut. I can picture them on a little deserted island, one of the 7,000 islands here.

M: Bill. Is he really who we think he is… you know…

LK:  Yeah! He really is. Bill is going to be a force to be reckoned with in Rapture.

M:  He was fun, though, when he was a gargoyle.

LK:  Yeah. He was a very interesting character to write. Obviously, I knew exactly what was going to happen to him, I knew exactly who the readers are going to find out he was in the end.  But I had to make him… I think most readers are suspicious of him, at least in the beginning.  But those characters, there’s always a fine line between how much evil should I show, how much darkness should I show.  We still gotta stick around with this guy for several thousand more years, so you have to make him enjoyable, but also the foreshadowing has to be done just right.

M: And he’s also the guy in the Prologue.

LK: Yeah, he is. Yeah.

It’s hard for me to write bad guys; a truly vicious bad guy is no fun to read about.  You’ve got to give them some sort of charm. And then when I do that, I start to like them and I start to not want them to be quite so bad. I had to figure out how to do that.

Passion Tour Manila

M:  In Passion, we go back to The Very Beginning. I had a sort of Hermione Granger Time-Turner thing going on in my head when Daniel went back to the very start and realized that it was his intervention that changed everything. Can you explain a bit more about how that works?

LK:  I don’t think I should; that’s going to be in Rapture. The first meeting [with Luce] that he thinks he’s going to, he doesn’t end up there. He ends up further back—he ends up in Heaven before he ever met Luce. That moment, that is like the Elusive Mystery Moment of the whole series: when did they actually meet, why did they fall in love originally? And I’ve been teasing and teasing and teasing it, and I gave a little bit in Passion, but still, I’m backing away from it. But we’ll get there in Rapture.

M:  There’s also the element of Luce’s choice alluded to in The Ethereal Monarch’s judgment. Can you also explain that a bit, or is that going to be in Rapture as well?

LK:  Those are probably the biggest issues in Rapture. Because she’s not aware of it yet in Passion, I don’t think I should disclose it to the reader yet.

M:  The choices that the angels and Daniel make, I like that part in the book because the choices themselves are not really black and white, or good and evil, and not exactly a bad choice or a good choice. Someone said before that “Free Will is an illusion,” but is it, in the context of the mythology of Fallen?

LK:  That’s a good question, because even the characters that are operating as if they have free will, it was given to them by God. But I think what Luce and Daniel are proving is that free will is a very very difficult thing to achieve, but they’re always in pursuit of it. Their choice to love each other is constantly being swatted away, and the forces of good and evil are always trying to suppress it. I think, if and when they succeed, they’ll prove something about free will—that it’s possible.

M:  So is it more free will or destiny for Luce and Daniel, again, in the context of Fallen?

LK:  It’s very hard to tell one from the other, I think, especially with regard to their relationship. At times, it seems a lot like destiny, but in the end, I’m leaning towards free will. This is what bothers Luce a lot—she’s frustrated by the fact that they love each other because they’re supposed to. That they love each other for the right reasons is something that she’s thinking about a lot.

M:  Which is also part of the reason why she went back.

LK:  Yeah.

M:  Why did Daniel go back to that time with Cam and Lilith?

LK:  Oh.  Ummm…we’ll see.  We’ll see more of that.

M:  Because it was a little different from the other times; Luce wasn’t there.

LK:  There are a couple moments when he sort of loses track of Luce, like in the Greenland one.  I like those scenes where she’s not in it.  I mean, her role is obviously the most important, but it’s fun to show the other characters talking without her there.  That Greenland scene is one of my favorite ones.


Next time:  What to expect in Rapture, random bits of Fallen Series trivia, playlists, the movie, future projects, and Lauren talks about writing.

Image Credits:
– Lauren Kate: The Passion Tour photo by Gary Mayoralgo
– Gargoyle front page featured image from travelpod.com

Related Articles:
–  Previous excerpt — Lauren Kate: On the WSJ debacle and writing for teens
–  Previous excerpt — Lauren Kate: On visual inspirations and angel wings
–  An epic, romantic journey with Lauren Kate (on GMA News Online)

Lauren Kate: On visual inspirations and angel wings

Here’s another excerpt from my July 15th interview with New York Times Bestselling Author Lauren Kate. As promised, we talk about Justin Bieber, Barack Obama, and Lady Gaga. 😛


Question: The angels are very vividly described in you books. Did you have any specific references or any inspiration for why they look the way they look?

Lauren Kate:   I think so. Like Luce is loosely based on my oldest best friend—the way that her hair is, the way that her face is shaped, the way that her body moved—I think I did that just because I’m very familiar with the way she looks… So it was easy for me to think of her and channel her when I was writing Luce in the beginning. But in terms of personality, she’s not like her.

I don’t know how it happened, but I think I started more with their personalities. Like I started with Arianne—the way that she’s so insane, and the things she says helped me understand what she looks like, how wraithlike she is, the way that her arms flail when she talks, things like that.

I think also that the better I got to know the characters, the easier it is to picture them. Especially with angels, their physical traits don’t really matter that much—they matter to the readers, they matter to me as a writer, to be able to visualize them—but literally, they don’t matter. Their bodies are sort of just shells—they can change it anytime and look like something different, like when we see Daniel in China, he’s Chinese. It’s really what their soul looks like, which is a hard thing to describe. And so I think that it manifests itself in their physical characteristics so that I can paint a picture for the readers and for myself. I think probably the closest that I get to who they really are is when I describe what they look like.  I think that’s how I get closest to what their souls look like, if that makes sense.

LaurenQ: Just for fun, if you were an angel, what would your wings be like?

LK: That’s a great question… They’ll be silvery-white, and probably very long and maybe iridescent like Arianne’s.

Q: Just for fun again, what about famous people like…Justin Bieber?

LK: Oh, what will their wings look like? That’s a really good question. I think Justin Bieber’s wings will be thick, fluffy, white, and not very long…kind of thick and stout…I’m just making this up. [laughs]

Q: What about Barack Obama?

LK: I think they would be marbled, and very muscular, and very broad… I’m gonna write this question down.

Q: Lady Gaga?

LK: They’ll probably be mirrored, with spikes on them.

Q: Have you imagined what Michael and Gabriel and the other angels… what do they look like?

LK: Gabriel is actually the character Gabbe; she represents Gabriel in the books. I don’t have a Michael. Raphael is Roland, and Cam…Camriel is one of the Archangels.

Yeah, I don’t have a Michael because my agent’s name is Michael, and it’ll be weird if I had that be one of the main characters. [laughs]

Q: Do you have specific visual inspirations for Sword and Cross and Shoreline?

LK: I have specific geographical sites where they will be located. Sword and Cross is supposed to be set in a part of Georgia where there’s an old, abandoned military fort called Fort Pulaski.  It’s sort of out on the edge of the sandbars.

But the fort obviously is nothing like the school; the school was a complete invention in my mind. It’s become such a real thing in the books that it’s hard for me to remember how I came up with the little details. But I know that they were just very organic at the keyboard. Like the cemetery having that concave shape, or the gym…the natatory being a church. All of that was just sort of surprises at the keyboard, like whoa, that would be weird if I did this and it becomes reality.

Same thing with Shoreline. Shoreline, I based it on a site in Fort Bragg, California where there’s actually a winery; it looks over the ocean and it’s such a breathtaking sight. But in my mind, I took away the winery and planted this really beautiful school there.


Next time: Lauren talks about Luce’s temporal adventures

Image Credit:
– Lauren Kate portrait by Gary Mayoralgo

Related Articles:
–  Previous excerpt — Lauren Kate: On the WSJ debacle and writing for teens
–  An epic, romantic journey with Lauren Kate (on GMA News Online)

Lauren Kate: On the WSJ debacle and writing for teens

When I interviewed Lauren Kate last July 15th (thank you, folks from National Book Store!), I asked her a lot of questions to cover all my bases for the article that I’m submitting to GMA News Online, but also to satisfy my curiosity as a fan.

The write-up is already with my editor, but I think it’s safe to post this excerpt from the interview even if that hasn’t been published yet because this didn’t make it on to that piece anyway. Update: The piece, “An epic, romantic journey with Lauren Kate” is now live!


Lauren Kate Question:  You’ve probably heard of that infamous Wall Street Journal article (“Darkness Too Visible” by Meghan Cox Gurdon) about books for teens, right?  Most of the authors I follow online have already said their piece about it.  What did you think about it?

Lauren Kate:  The easiest thing to point out about this story is: whoever this woman is who went to the store and couldn’t find anything obviously didn’t look very hard. She obviously didn’t ask a single bookseller. There are so many different kinds of books.

What’s most disturbing is that the author wrote about a girl who wanted to read dark books that her mother didn’t want her to read…I don’t really know…I think she took the books away instead of asking her “Why are you interested in a book about eating disorders? Is there something that we need to talk about?”

What’s wonderful about the audiences that I have is that a lot of them are mother and daughter. The mothers are reading the books, and the daughters are reading the books, and they talk about them. To have an open dialogue with your mother about issues that you’re having as a teenager is such an amazing revolution; I didn’t have that when I was growing up. My mom is completely supportive and wonderful but wasn’t choosing to embark on the same kind of stories that interested me and were powerful to me so that we can talk about it. And I think that that’s a great thing that parents are doing these days.

It seems silly that the writer of that article, she took for granted that these authors who write dark stories are doing them with teens’ best interests in mind.  Most of us are engaged with our readers and we talk to them about problems. I get letters from people telling me about their broken hearts all the time and I take it very seriously. I think it’s very important that we are open and able to have a relationship with these people. When you write things for this audience, you have a responsibility to them.

There’s a group of YA writers that started an anthology called Dear Bully. I think it was started last fall after a few teens committed suicide because of school bullying. And so now Harper Collins is publishing an anthology, and each [writer] had a little poem or short story or a diary entry or something. I submitted an essay, and it’s coming out this fall [August 2011].

So I think we’re all engaged in a sort of social awareness of what’s going on–what is hard about being a teenager–and none of that was highlighted in this article. It’s just a very stodgy, old way of looking at things.

Q:  Did a reader write you in particular about Fallen having an impact in his or her life?

LK:  Many.  Lots of them do.

There are several different kinds of reader interactions. A lot of them are just like “Love your books. Can’t wait for the movie,” that kind of thing. It’s great when you hear someone who says “I never read before, this book got me reading, and now I’m reading other books.” But then there are the very personal ones that say “This reminds me of my own heartbreak and here’s what I’m going through, and here’s what I’m thinking about.” A lot of times, I’ll write personal letters back to those readers.  But also another thing that I started doing is thinking about the situation that they’re describing with their relationships and finding some way to respond to it in Fallen–writing a scene in the story that addresses the questions and issues that this particular girl or guy is going through.

I just did that with a guy. I got a pretty disturbing letter…a very depressed letter from a guy who is going through heartbreak. I did write him back, but I also wrote a scene about that situation using Luce and Daniel into Rapture.


Next time:  Lauren talks Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, and Barack Obama.  Yes, you read that right. 😛