YA Wednesday: An Interview with Lauren Kate
How far would you go to find your true love? In Passion, the highly-anticipated third book in the bestselling Fallen series, the mortal Luce is determined to unlock her future by traveling through her past lives to find out about the mysterious forces that brought her together with her angel boyfriend, Daniel. We had an opportunity to talk to author Lauren Kate over email and ask her some burning questions about Luce, Daniel, Cam, and the true nature of eternal love.
Note: For readers who’d rather wait to find out what happens in Passion, stop reading now! There are some spoilers ahead.
Amazon.com: In Passion, Luce visits scenes from her past lives with Daniel, in an effort to find out more about their mysterious connection. How did you research the many places around the world and many time periods she visits?
Lauren Kate: Most frequently, I researched through literature. I was able to do some travel (Chitzen Itza, Versailles, and Milan), and of course there was some necessary historical research (fact checking online and such), but mostly, I read and reread novels set in the eras and locations I wanted to write about. When writing about Luce in Milan during World War I, I reread Farewell to Arms. When she’s in Moscow, I pulled from Bulgacov’s incredible The Master and Margarita. For her life with Daniel in Victorian Helston, I looked at North and South and The Woman in White. I went back to Shakespeare; I looked at Aida. This literary voyage was the most enjoyable research I’ve ever done, and I ended up with a very dynamic and exciting understanding of the journey Luce had to go on.
Amazon.com: Luce visits a dozen different past lives in Passion--our personal favorite was her life in Helston, England, which you wrote about in the very first pages of Fallen. Did you have a favorite as you were writing the book? Do all of the lifetimes have equal importance to the overall story, or is there one that we should pay more attention to?
Lauren Kate: Each life Luce visits teaches her something she couldn’t have learned any other way. I loved writing the Milan life, as well as the Versailles life, and I really loved filling in the gaps with Daniel’s experiences alone. Helston was special because the prologue of Fallen was set there and those pages have served as a sort of tease all through the series. I loved going back to that parlor scene and fleshing it out, especially now that I’ve grown so much closer to Daniel’s character. I particularly feel for his side of the story--his agony--in that setting.
Amazon.com: For someone in a relationship that is so heavily influenced by events that occurred in the past, does Luce really have the free will to choose Daniel? And vice versa?
Lauren Kate: Like so much of the literature on whose shoulders Fallen stands on, this series mulls over the question of fate vs. free will. But Luce and Daniel’s story is also a question of destiny vs. origins. Are they the same thing? When are they at odds? Does the pursuit of one eventually circle back to the other?
Most narratives look forward toward a destiny. Passion looks backwards in the hopes of understanding an origin, but in the process, I imagine Luce will find her destiny. There is an undercurrent of free will in all of this, but she--and the reader--will have to dig deeper in the series to find it.
Amazon: Luce undertakes an epic journey in Passion--not only to visit her past lives, but also a larger journey, in which she struggles with a lot of doubts about their relationship. Luce seeks to understand whether she truly has free will, as we just mentioned, but she also tries to figure out why Daniel loves her in the first place, and why she loves him. We thought these were very important questions for her to be struggling with, and it’s not something you often see in teen romances. Can you tell us more about what prompted you to introduce these doubts in their relationship?
Lauren Kate: Let’s begin with the idea that angels were created to adore. Now, take all the adoration Daniel’s character is supposed to be dedicating to God and transfer it over to Luce. We’re looking at six thousand years and a lot of adoration. It made me wonder how much room there was in the relationship for anything else. And I thought: This isn’t really so different from the way we mortals enter into relationships.
In my teens, I remember dating guys because they liked me. To be adored is a powerful thing, but it isn’t really enough. In Passion, Luce has to search the landscape of her emotions and her desires. She has to question the murky foundations of this relationship. She has to know herself in a deeper way before she can accept that Daniel loves her--as opposed to adoring some ideal of her. That’s when she can begin to feel comfortable with the term soul mate and understand the powerful implications of the questions: Why me? Why him?
Amazon: In Passion we learn more about the troupe of angels surrounding Daniel, and why they all have so much to lose or gain from Luce and Daniel’s choices in their relationship. We also learn that maybe the difference between “good” vs. “evil” is not as clear-cut as it might seem: for example, we see Cam in past lives, acting with much more honor and kindness than we might have expected. How do you view the lines drawn between the “good” angels and the “bad?” Is Daniel really a “good” angel?
Lauren Kate: When I started writing Fallen, I had no plans to redeem Cam. But the more scenes I wrote with him, the more I fell in love with him, and I began to wonder why. Inevitably, I found he had a back story, which is hinted at in Passion and which I’ve been expanding in my mind ever since. My angels are as dynamic and as flawed as any mortal character, so of course they all have their own journey to go on. Those journeys take them in directions that constantly blur the lines between good and evil—to the point where the connotations of those words began to mean nothing to me. This became one of my main fascinations in the series.
Amazon: Now more than ever, we’re curious about the very first meeting between Daniel and Luce, always hinted at but not yet revealed—can you give your fans any clues as to how they first met?
He leaned against the bar, crossed his arms, and said, “I didn’t know angels flew so close to the ground.” Just kidding--you’ll have to wait ‘til Rapture!