Amazon.com Exclusive: Questions for Lauren Kate
Amazon.com: Luce and Daniel's story is very romantic. What inspired you to write a love story between a human and an angel?
Lauren Kate: 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.
Amazon.com: We've been wondering about the "mechanics" of Luce and Daniel's story (for lack of a better word). Does Daniel age? Or does he stay seventeen forever (while Luce grows older)? And with that said, what does he do while Luce is growing up in each of her lives? What was he doing before he met Luce in this life?
Kate: What’s important about angels is not their bodies but their souls. In their purest forms, they’re actually genderless, but for my story to work--for the angels to come down to earth and interact with mortals--they all assume human bodies and attach themselves to human genders. Daniel is eternal and will live on forever, but the body Luce sees him in (gorgeous as it is) is really just a shell for the soul that she loves. There’s not the feeling of a ticking clock in the background as there might be with, say, a vampire story. Right now I’m writing Passion, the prequel where we’ll see Luce and Daniel in a dozen other lifetimes, so I’m exploring a lot of these mechanics (a great word for it, by the way) between the angel’s bodies and souls.
The way Daniel occupies himself in between Luces varies from life to life. His soul is least at rest just after she’s died, before she’s incarnated into another life--when she is “in between.” During her lives, even when he isn’t with her, he is always aware of her age, what she’s going through, how she’s doing. He has a sort of internal Lucinda clock. Sometimes he meets her as a child, sometimes he tries to stay away from her as long as possible, to give her as much of a life outside of him as he can. In the years leading up to the life where they meet at Sword and Cross, Daniel was living on Skid Row in Los Angeles.
Amazon.com: Fallen and Torment talk a lot about the history of Heaven and Hell, the different classes of Angels, and the rules of human-angel interaction. Obviously these themes are explored heavily in religious texts, but were there other sources that informed your story?
Kate:It’s interesting because there is actually very little in the Bible about angels--a few mentions in the Old Testament, a few more in the new. And the mentions that we do have are often vague or contradictory. Most of what we think of when we think of angels today comes from secular or cultural contexts. Seventy-five percent of it might have come from Milton alone. I worked with a biblical scholar at UC Davis who pointed me toward some apocryphal texts (books written during the same as the bible, but which were not included in the book when the canon was closed). Books like Enoch 1-3 and the Dead Sea Scrolls are chock full of angel references. I also read a trilogy on Satan and a book called the A History of Heaven both by Jeffrey Burton Russell, as well as a great book by Harold Bloom called Omens of the Millennium.
I got so engrossed in all of the research I did for Fallen that I had a hard time knowing when to stop reading and when to start writing. I had to realize that it was okay for me to pick and choose things from various accounts, to look past contradictions, and to come up with my own angel mythology. That’s what Milton did, after all!
Amazon.com: What is Cam's deal? We're not convinced that he's totally evil--in Fallen, he seemed to be trying to protect Luce by keeping her away from Daniel, and in Torment he and Daniel reach a mysterious truce, again to protect Luce. Will we be seeing more of him in book 3?
Kate:Speaking of Milton, isn’t it fascinating that Satan is the most interesting character in Paradise Lost? From the start of this series, I have wanted to test the boundaries between what is “good” and what is “evil.” How and when do those terms get applied? Are they black and white or is there some flexibility along the spectrum? Obviously it’s much more interesting if Heaven and Hell/good and evil work as binaries: opposites that orbit each other and are pulled toward each other with a mutual gravitation. We see that at the end of Fallen and in Torment with Daniel and Cam’s truce. The idea that good and evil rely on each other is as old as the oldest dualistic religion, Zoroastrianism (on whose shoulders both Judaism and Christianity stood).
So yes, there is more to Cam than pure evil! (Especially since his character--the charming side of his character anyway--was based loosely on my husband.) We’ll see a lot of him in Passion and will even begin to understand how he got where he is today.
Amazon.com: Can you tell us a little bit about book 3? Will we find out more about Luce and Daniel's past lives?
Kate:Passion is going to be the craziest, coolest book I’ve ever written! I’m halfway through the first draft right now and it is so rewarding to finally get to delve into Luce and Daniel’s past lives together. The history these two share is the stuff of epics, and I am learning so many new things about them as I write. For any reader out there feeling tortured by the teasing hints of so many thrilling past lives: Passion is your book! Everything--well, almost everything--will be illuminated.
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From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up–This sequel to Fallen (Delacorte, 2009) continues they complex tale as Luce tries to uncover the truth and break the cycle of falling in love, dying young, and being reincarnated. Daniel, her lover through the ages and a fallen angel, institutes a truce with Demons to protect her from the Outcasts, who would do her harm. For her safety, Daniel hides her at a boarding school for the Nephilim, children of human and fallen angels, and cautions her to remain on campus and learn all she can. Unfortunately a little knowledge can be dangerous and Luce's naive attempts to manipulate her powers constantly put her and others in danger. Some of the rescues employ a deus ex machina as is the case when Arriane inexplicably arrives in Vegas and saves the day. At times the story plods along, with a full chapter devoted to a fencing lesson. Daniel regularly returns to check on Luce and there's lots of swooning, passionate kissing, and playing at being in love, though it often ends with bickering. Interest is piqued with the hint of a love triangle, and the suspense is ratcheted up in the heart-pounding final battle scene. In the end, readers won't be much closer to unraveling Luce's mystery and will need to stay tuned for the next installment. It's unlikely this title will garner new fans for the series, but those already hooked on the epic romance won't want to miss it.Patricia N. McClune, Conestoga Valley High School, Lancaster, PA
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