TL: Who would win in a fight, werewolves or angels?
LK: Having spent hours yesterday writing an insane battle scene for Torment, I’m going to have to put my money on the angels. I’ve never talked smack about a werewolf before, and it makes me a little nervous. But angels, though just as ruthless as their opponents, have this incomparable grace and cunning that gives them a wing up. Plus, no offense to Jacob, they’re just easier on the eye. Very important for us mortal spectators.
TL: Do you think angels are the new vampire?
LK: I think what draws us to angels is probably similar to what draws us to vampires, or werewolves. Most of us grow up with some sort of angel mythology–whether it comes from a religious upbringing, or a cultural context. We have an idea of what they’re supposed to look like (flawless features, fluffy white wings), how they’re supposed to behave (always perfectly benevolent), and what they’re supposed to do (well, I suppose biblically, they’re messengers of God, culturally there’s the idea of a “guardian angel”). For readers, there’s an almost built-in collective conscience about angels–which is great because it’s familiar and therefore accessible. For authors, there is so much room to play off these existing expectations, rewrite old stories, and experiment. So there’s something in it for all of us. Which is good because they seem to be here to stay.
TL: How would you summarize your book in one sentence?
LK: At her new reform school in Georgia, Lucinda Price is torn between two otherworldly hotties, unaware that they are fallen angels who have battled over her for centuries.
TL: Why did you decide to write about the Nephilim/fallen angels?
LK: The idea began when I came across a line in Genesis that talked about a group of angels who were kicked out of heaven because they lusted after mortal women. I started thinking about what it would be like to be normal girl–suddenly the object of an angel’s affection. All the excitement and the challenges that would naturally spring from that. As someone who’s been writing love stories my whole life, this angel angle seemed like the perfect way for me to up the ante and tell a really BIG love story, one that brought in questions about trust and betrayal, and preconceived notions about good and evil.
TL: What kind of research did you have to do for Fallen?
LK: Beyond the few biblical references of angels, I looked to the books of Enoch as well as the Dead Sea Scrolls, which are extra-biblical texts. I also loved Omens of the Millennium by Harold Bloom, and A History of Heaven by Jeffrey Burton Russel. I think this is the book where I found the first mention of the Grigoris (which inspired Daniel’s character) and the Nephilim, which you’ll meet in Torment. I refer to The Dictionary of Angels a lot for terms and definitions. To round out my story, I also read some books about the other side including a trilogy by Jeffrey Burton Russel: The Devil, Lucifer, and Mephistopheles. It was so much fun to read up on all of this angelology, at first it was hard to stop researching and start writing!
TL: Is there a chance for Daniel’s redemption?
LK: Definitely not.
Just kidding. Isn’t that what we’re all in this for? Let’s just say there’s a chance for all sorts of unexpected things to happen!
TL: How do you choose your characters’ names?
I’d say about fifty percent of the names I choose for sonorous reasons (i.e. I just like the way the sounds roll off the tongue), and the other half have some meaning relevant to the story. Probably not too far from the methods parents use to name their kids. Daniel Grigori, for example, falls into the latter category. Daniel is the first book in the bible where an angel (who happens to be Michael) makes a choice independent of God, and I thought this first moment of independence suited Daniel’s character. The Grigoris are (allegedly) a group of angels who “fell” because they lusted after mortal women.
Matt King’s name (in The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove) is probably a little bit more self-explanatory—though his first name was originally Mike but I changed it when my editor pointed out that it rhymed with Nat! ‘Matt and Nat’ was a little too cute for Natalie’s story.
TL: Your book has been optioned by Disney. Who would you like to see star in it?
LK: I kinda love Ed Westwick on Gossip Girl and think he’d make an excellent Cam on the big screen. For Luce? I thought Dakota Fanning nailed her two minutes of darkness in New Moon. With the right dye job…I could see it! It’s harder to think about whom to cast for Daniel, though I know Disney has been kicking around some top secret ideas.
TL: Name your top 5 favourite angels from literature or movies.
LK: I get to pick from the fallen ones too, right? Then first, I gotta say that Satan in Paradise Lost is pretty charming. As is Matt Damon in Dogma. I think Wings of Desire is beautiful. And of course, It’s a Wonderful Life. I also always like when devil/angel avatars pop up on cartoon character’s shoulders. Like Tweety Bird and Garfield. Does that count?
I’ll be queuing up to see Legion when it comes out too!
TL: Do you have a guilty pleasure read?
LK: My guilty pleasures are usually magazines—fashion mags like Vogue and InStyle, gossipy ones like US Weekly, and I love cooking/food related magazines. I don’t really think of books as guilty, but for vacation/beach read stuff, I love wry, sassy writers like Maureen Johnson. And I love F. Scott Fitzgerald so much he feels like a guilty pleasure even though his books are all classics and therefore good for you.
Catch the rest of Lauren Kate’s Blog tour:
January 11th: Beatrice/Galleycat.com
January 12th: Through a Glass Darkly
January 13th: A Patchwork of Books
January 14th: The Reading Zone
January 15th: The Children’s Book Review
January 20th: TeenReads.com
January 21st: The Book Butterfly
January 26th: CynthiaLeitichSmith.com