I've been a fan of Lauren Kate's bestselling Fallen series since the first book came out in 2009. (See our previous conversations with Lauren about TormentandPassion, and don't miss this thought-provoking guest blog in which Lauren unpacks the pros and cons of having an angel for a boyfriend.)
Rapture, the fourth and final book in the series, comes out this week (look for it in our Summer Reading store for kids and teens!), and Lauren was kind enough to answer my burning questions about Luce and Daniel's otherworldly romance, her feelings on finishing the series, and what she's working on next.
Amazon: Rapture is the fourth and final book in the best-selling Fallen series"”how does it feel to have finished writing this story?
Lauren Kate: I wept while writing this book"”a first for me. At this point, I just feel joy at getting to share the story. I'm ready to release Luce and Daniel into the universe. The three of us do each other proud in this book: Luce transforms into an inspiring force of nature and Daniel proves himself worthy of her love. These two outcomes were not inevitable at the start of the series. I have given them an ending I think is worthy of their journey--it was the only possible ending for them. I hope it makes readers say, "Yes, that's right."
This sense of closure does not extend to the other characters in the series. I'm working on a new book now, set in a completely different world, with an unrelated cast of characters. The other day I was writing a scene, and I kept having to stop myself from thinking: You know who'd know just what to say here? Roland!
Amazon: In Rapture we finally find out how Daniel and Lucinda meet"”I won't spoil it, but I will say it was an amazing revelation. (I did not see it coming, and I totally cried.) When you started writing Fallen, did you already know how Daniel and Luce first met? Or was it something that came to you while you were writing?
Lauren Kate:It was Luce who determined that this first meeting become so revelatory, not me. I didn't realize how much it mattered until she kept bringing it up. (Having parted ways with the cast of Fallen, I see how the characters' autonomies resided at the limits of my subconscious. When it seemed as if a character knew more about a situation than I did, I learned to follow his or her instinct to the edge of the universe.) In Passion, the at-first-sight moment's elusiveness was like a delicious cupcake floating in front of a winged horse: If only Luce could work hard enough, go back far enough in time, she was bound to find it. And it was bound to tell her everything, right? This is a girl, remember, who's had hundreds of lives, hundreds of origins, but she was looking for the most primal one, the source.
I didn't know the details of Luce and Daniel's first meeting until I wrote them. I knew there would be a moment when she would think she'd arrived at the start of all her love, which would feel strangely hollow and lacking. When Luce finally arrives at the source"”like most elusive, long-sought goals"”it's not what she was expecting. By then her perspective has shifted so radically that a thousand other things matter more than the first moment she laid eyes on Daniel. But she still needed to get there, to realize how much she'd grown. It's good to have ambitious goals in life, if only to be usefully disillusioned when you realize them.
Amazon: Luce and Daniel have a love that transcends time, but throughout the series, Luce is still very much a normal modern girl, with normal insecurities and problems. How do you hope Luce's metamorphosis in Rapture might resonate with young women today?
Lauren Kate:Evolution of character is happening to all of us all the time. Whether we welcome or reject it determines the nature of our evolution, but nothing stops us from changing. All change is not progress"”Luce makes missteps throughout the series"”but there is one way that she is consistently admirable: She's open to change. Her metamorphosis at the end of Rapture did not surprise me. I don't mean I knew what was going to happen--I didn't. I mean she began in a place where she decided to open herself to the world, so it was only a matter of time before that openness would bring her to a place that was previously unimaginable to all of us.
Young women today: Sometimes evolution sucks because it so inevitable. Surround yourself with those who support your changes, who like to watch you grow, who want to help you become the person you're always on your way to being. And don't be afraid to own your failures.
Amazon: Let's talk about Lucifer"”perhaps the most infamous of all angels in the Bible, and a major player in Passion and Rapture. In this series you've played with the blurry boundaries between good and evil, and in Lucifer we see this idea personified. How did you go about characterizing Lucifer, and how did you approach thorny questions like his motivation for what he did? Did you base his character and actions off sources you've previously mentioned, like Paradise Lost, or was his character entirely your own invention?
Lauren Kate:I write love stories. More specifically, I write love stories that slip love into the inception of a familiar myth or story. My first novel, The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove, takes Macbeth and introduces thwarted lust into the backstory, so that unrequited love predates the fierce ambition of Shakespeare's narrative. In the Fallen series, we get to know Lucifer very well. The Lucifer we meet in Paradise Lost is motivated by pride. But from where does such extreme pride spring? Rapture proposes an answer.
When love is impossible it creates a dangerous and violent world. We see this in characters from Jay Gatsby to Humbert Humbert to Quentin Compson to Romeo Montague. Characters are worlds. They have their own atmospheres.
Amazon: What are you working on now? Will you revisit the angels from the Fallen series?
Lauren Kate:I'm working on a new series that slips love into the origins of a beloved myth. It's challenging and invigorating to make a fresh start, like moving to another country and making all new friends. I hope they let me stay awhile.