October 22rd I was so lucky that I got an interview with the author Lauren Kate. She’ve published three books(“The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove”, “Fallen” & “Torment”) and two books in the fallen series coming out during the next year.
Rebecca and I met Lauren at a the little lounge at The Hilton Birmingham Metropole.
LINDEA: As a writer, have you ever experienced self-doubt in your writing skills or your manuscript before submitting any of your manuscripts?
LAUREN: Lots of it. I wrote two novels before writing Fallen, and I got a lot of rejections from publishers. At several points I thought about quitting, but all it would take to succeed was only person to say yes.
And it got a lot easier once I got an agent.
LINDEA: What kind of research did you do before and during writing [Fallen]? Do you have any special religious background?
LAUREN: I don’t think my background has a ton to do with what’s in the books. I tried to do logically research but not necessary in a religious sort of way. I had a scholar at graduate school, an angelologist and she led me to a lot of texts. I did a lot of research about two years ago, before I started writing Fallen, so I read a lot. About the devil, three books on Satan and then I read by the same author, Jeffrey Burton Russell, The history of heaven, and I have an angel dictionary which has the different names of the different kinds of angels. And I really like Harold Bloom, which is a scholar I think is very great on angelogy and research.
I have also read the bible, which have less angel references than you might think. And they usually are in the extra biblical texts. Like “the Dead Sea scrolls”.
I have “the other bible” where all those text are included.
LINDEA: What do you think is the best writing tips out there?
LAUREN: The first tip is to be really open to new experiences and think that every opportunity can go into your books. And to have a blog, it makes you available.
I also think that “finishing what you start” is a overlooked piece of advice, because it’s so easy to start something and be inspired and then quit when it gets a little hard. So I always try to finish what I begin, through the ruff parts ‘til the end.
And then a third thing: Finding a sort of reader which you trust, someone who can read your work and offer feedback. It’s important to have someone else’s eyes to look at it.
LINDEA: Now days there are a lot of writing rules. Any where you look at the web you find “rules for writing.” Rules like: never use the word “would” more than twice in a page and not use adverbs. What do you think of these “rules”?
LAUREN: I think those rules are meant to be broken. I think that using adjectives and adverbs sparingly is a cool idea and it’s really impressing when I read book like, J. M. Coetzee. My favorite book is “Waiting for the barbarians” [by J.M. Coetzee], and he uses adjectives like once every fifty pages.
I think it’s a really brave way to write but I don’t think it’s for everyone. People can use the world “would” in a story a thousand times and still make a great book.
You can break any rule you like and still tell a great story.
LINDEA: You attended Comic con this year. What was it like?
LAUREN: It was big, because most of the experience I have that can compare is just a big festival sort of thing.
They had a lot of visual things going on, people dressing up, and I was on a big panel with a many other paranormal writers. A lot of angel writers and a lot of vampire writers.
It was really nice to meet all the other writers and see everybody dressing up.
I had a great time
LINDEA: What inspired you to write? Did you always know you were going to be a writer?
LAUREN: I always wanted to write, for a long time this was what I wanted to do. So I have been working forward to it. Studying and college, I was at publishing houses, and I got a masters degree in writing.
It’s probably the authors I loved who inspired me the most. Growing up I loved Roald Dahl and Luis Sachar. I just read so many novels, I loved, [F. Scott] Fitzgerald, [Charles] Dickens, [Richard] Wagner. So I was just reading a lot, and I wanted to tell stories.
LINDEA: Do you know how many books there will be in the fallen series?
LAUREN: The will be four.
“Fallen” and “Torment” are out, the third book called “Passion” is coming out next summer, and then the fourth book will be called “Rapture” and it will be released six or seven months after “Passion”.
REBECCA: It’s a very long time until the next book releases…
LAUREN: Yeah, it feels like that, but when you write it’s like a blink.
I talk to people who won’t read series now until all of them [the books] are just about to be out, so they can just tear through them all.
LINDEA: Do you plan your books in advance or do you just sit down and start writing?
LAUREN: I try to make an outline, but most often it doesn’t go the way I planned, the story takes off in a different direction than I had expected. But it’s fun to let the characters take off on their own and develop themselves.
And it’s also nice to have to plot or an outline to fall back on when I can’t see what’s going to happen next.
LINDEA: Did you have any input on the book covers?
LAUREN: My publisher sent them to me, and I just wanted to get down on my knees and say thank you, because I really loved them form the second I saw them. And I’ve been really lucky to get such beautiful covers all the way along.
LINDEA: That’s actually why I bought “Fallen” in the first place, I saw it in the book story and I just had to have that book.
LAUREN: I’m very grateful to the artist who did them, but they had nothing to do with me.
LINDEA: Once I did actually burn myself on that one, I bought a book with a really nice cover and I could barely get through 50 pages.
REBECCA: Haven’t anyone ever told you to never judge a book by its cover?
LAUREN: I know, but it’s really tempting though. I want people to judge my books by their cover. A great cover really does something for the book.
REBECCA: Rules meant to be broken.
REBECCA: That’s something going on in the Young adult genre right now. All books are either with a black background or…
LAUREN: A great cover gives your books kind of a reputation of what you write.
REBECCA: Do different countries get different covers?
LAUREN: They often do, but I haven’t seen the any of the fallen books who doesn’t have the same image. They often have a different font or have the text in a different color, but it’s always the girl.
REBECCA: Have you seen your books in any other languages?
LAUREN: Yes, a lot of them today. In Italian and I’ve seen it in Korean. It’s a really cool feeling to see the foreign editions.
LINDEA: I was going to ask who your favorite author was but it was written on your blog.
LAUREN: Yeah… but it changes a lot and I have so many.
LINDEA: I know what you mean; right now I’m hooked on “The hunger games”.
LAUREN: They are so great.