Are angels the new vampires? One reason readers (and publishers!) have been asking that question is the success of Lauren Kate's Fallen series, beginning last fall with the opening volume--called, yes, Fallen--and followed this week by Torment, the next tale in the story of Luce and her fallen angel boyfriend, Daniel. We asked Kate a few questions about her series (concocted by one of our in-house Fallen fans), which we have posted on our page for Torment, but we saved one more for Omni, perhaps the most crucial question of all. Here's her answer (and you can find the rest of her replies after the jump):
Amazon: What's better, a human boyfriend or an angel boyfriend?
Lauren Kate: When I was teenager, my mom wanted me to grow up to be a therapist. She thought I was a good listener, that I had a gift for giving advice, that I could get anyone to spill all their secrets. I realize now she was probably just eavesdropping on the looong conversations I had every night with my friends about this boy or that break up—and that she probably wanted to find a way to legitimize the insanely high phone bills I would run up.
By then, I already knew I wanted to be a writer, but what I didn’t know was that being a writer—especially a writer of romances geared toward teens—has more to do with therapy than I could have guessed.
The day Fallen was published last December, I did my first reading at a bookstore. Afterwards, a girl came up to me and asked one of the best questions I’ve ever been asked. First, I should preface this story by saying that the passage I read that night at the bookstore featured a heated argument between Luce and Daniel, in which Daniel comes off like a bit of a jerk and Luce comes of as somewhat unhinged. (There are many of these moments, I know). But I was surprised when this girl came up to me afterwards and asked—very earnestly—whether I believed in a love as wonderful and true as the love Daniel and Luce shared. I told her, of course, that I did. I pointed to my husband who was standing across the store and I waxed on about how we first met. I asked her whether she was thinking of someone in particular when she asked the question. She was about thirteen and she shook her head very briskly, but said that she wanted to believe in this kind of love for the future. I was amazed and impressed and humbled that what this girl took away from the tumultuous scene I’d read was that these two characters were very deeply in love.
Since then, I’ve gotten lots of questions from readers like: What’s the deal with love at first sight? Aren’t people supposed to be friends first? How am I supposed to know it when I’ve met my soul mate? What do you do if you’re stuck in a love triangle and you don’t like either of the boys? Are bad boys ever a good idea? And now this one:
What’s better, a human boyfriend or an angel boyfriend?
(If any of you are actually struggling with this last question, please let me know. I have a few questions I’d like to ask you back…)
I like to think that one of the reasons readers come to me with these kind of questions (as opposed to the what’s-your-favorite-book questions, which I also love to answer) is because it comes through in my writing that I really do believe in crazy, complicated, passionate, seemingly impossible love. I had just fallen (pun intended) in that kind of love when I started writing Fallen, and this week I celebrate my one-year wedding anniversary. While I don’t claim to be an expert, I’m definitely committed to the cause of true love.
So what can I tell you about dating an angel? Obvious pros: They can fly. Which means you can fly. (It’s kinda like dating a boy with a car when you have no chance at your own wheels.) Also, the wings. Daniel’s wings exceed anything a costume store or a CGI engineer can come up with. For most of us, they exist only in our wildest imaginations. And maybe that’s a good thing because most of us would burst into flames if we were to glimpse an angel, wings exposed, in all his—or her—glory. That’s just the way it is. Maybe we should mark that part in the ‘cons’ category of dating the celestial?
Aside from possible death-by-glory, the biggest con that I can think of when it comes to relationships with angels (using Luce and Daniel as an example) is that there are secrets that an angel needs to keep. Granted they are temporary secrets. As we’ll see in Passion, everything will be illuminated to Luce at some point. But still, keeping secrets from the person you love most doesn’t sound very ideal, does it?
Which brings me to love and romance with mere mortals. No, they can’t fly (unless they’re a pilot—hot). And no they don’t have wings. (Unless it’s Halloween. Or Comic Con.) But two people who are in love can and should always strive to be honest with each other. That might be where mortal boyfriends trump the angel ones. It may not sound as glamorous, but to me, honesty is the biggest gift you can give to someone you love.
Temporary secrets—like what you’re getting him for his birthday—are okay. But honesty about bigger things—like what you want from your boyfriend, what he means to you, and how it makes you feel when he (or she) does x or y or z—are the building blocks of any true love. My husband is the greatest possessor of honesty and openness I’ve ever met. He inspires me, and my characters, every day. Yes, even Daniel, who will someday tell all. Just like my mom predicted all those years ago, I can get even him to spill his secrets.
[See the rest of our Q&A below]