Thank you for your questions, comments, blog reviews, and support! It is really amazing to me how many people are already excited about the series. I have just finished writing Torment and I hope it will to give you plenty of reason to stay excited!
(And if you haven’t read my books yet, beware, there are some spoilers below…)
ABOUT THE BOOKS:
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.
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? 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.
- Even though, of course, Daniel is Luce’s one-and-only, a new character is introduced in Torment that offers him some stiff competition.
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 this week had to do with how to write description, and the clearest advice I can give about that would be to take your time. Say I'm trying to describe a 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! 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!!
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.
Can I send you a letter?
PO Box 461514
Los Angeles, CA 90046
ABOUT PUBLICATION AND PROMOTION:
How many Fallen books are you writing? What's the publishing plan for the series? When is the next book coming out?
Fallen is the first book in the four-book series—though I will be writing a prequel to explain some of the things that have happened before the narrative of Fallen began. Torment picks up right where Fallen left off and will be published in hardcover in September, 28 2010. Sounds far away, doesn't it? But it'll be here before any of us can believe it. There will be two more books after that, Passion in the summer of 2011(this will be the prequel), and a final (currently untitled) book in December 2011.
*The books are available in stores, online, and also on Kindle and on audio! They audio version is really cool.
Will there be a movie?
It looks like there is a real possibility! The film rights for all four books were optioned by Disney/Mayhem Productions last week. I got to have lunch with the Disney people and they seem really excited about getting the movie going. More to come! I will keep you posted on my blog. (Also, there is no connection to the other movie called Fallen, which came out in 2008.)
Can I be in the movie?!?!?! Please.....??
I wish we could ALL be in the movie! All my friends and relatives are asking the same thing. I don't know anything about casting yet, but I promise, if I hear of an open casting call from Disney, I will post it on my blog!! And thanks to those of you who sent along casting suggestions. I too think Ed Westick would make a great Cam. I’ll pass it along!
Do you have any readings/signings coming up?
I’ll be at ComicCon in San Diego on July 23rd speaking at a panel and signing from 3-5 pm.
I will also do another tour in September and will be making stops in northern California, Memphis, Nashville, Atlanta, Portland, Seattle, NY, Chicago, and other places. I am also in the midst of planning a UK tour in late October and an Australia/New Zealand tour in 2011! I am keeping track of the places where readers are asking me to visit, so keep asking! Someday I would love to be able to make it to your neck of the woods. Please check my website for updates!
Is there going to be a Torment T-shirt?
Yes, but the art is not finalized yet, so I can’t share the picture that I’ve seen. Just know that it’s going to be lovely and I believe it’s going to be carried at Borders books.
Tell me more about the cover art! Where can I buy that dress!
Many people have asked about my involvement in the cover art. I actually had nothing to do with it (which is a lucky thing for all of us)—and no, I am not the girl on the cover! She’s a model from Brazil (though I don’t know her name), the artist’s name is Fernanda Brusi Goncalves, and the cover was designed by a very talented team of designers at Random House. I did a little grateful grovel when I finally got to meet them a few months ago. I’m sorry I don’t know who designed the dress, though I’ve been told Morgan LaFaye has a very similar one in her wedding collection (which also comes in black!).
When my editor first emailed me a jpeg of this art, it took me about thirty seconds to wrap my mind around someone else’s image of the world and Luce’s character, but quickly after that, I fell in love with it. I had the same reaction to the just released Torment cover. And I want both of the dresses!