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Thursday, April 18, 2024

‘Fallen’ for Lauren Kate

Let’s face it: Supernatural fantasy is here to stay-and we’re not talking about vampires and werewolves anymore. Welcome to 2010.

Lauren Kate, who recently completed her Master of Arts in creative writing at UC Davis, is taking young adult fiction trends to the next level with her latest novel, Fallen. And in attempt to get your dark-fiction bloods brewing, Disney has purchased movie rights for all four books in the series.

The novel grabbles into the life of an estranged girl’s journey through a tragically dark romance between two fallen angels. The name and description alone should give you a sense of the imagination at work in Kate’s four-book series.

“Fallen definitely camps out more officially in the young adult paranormal genre than the other things I write,” Kate said. “But it was a refreshing experience.”

While sitting in on a comparative literature class that centers on reading the Bible as literature, Kate came across a reference to a group of angels who fell in love with mortal women. As a consequence, they were kicked out of heaven.

“I started thinking about what it would be like to be one of these women who was suddenly the object of an angel’s affection,” Kate said. “What would be the biggest thrill – or the most unsexy thing about it? What kind of baggage does an angel have?”

Having written love stories for most of her life, Kate grabbed her ideas and ran with them. In Fallen, she draws in questions about trust and betrayal, religion and mythology – as well as preconceived notions about the realms of “good” and “evil.”

Associate professor of English and fiction writer Lucy Corin worked with Kate to workshop an entire draft of the novel.

“Lauren really knows how to take the information she gathers from critiques and apply her new understanding of her work to the revision process,” Corin said. “I can’t overstate how difficult this is to learn to do. She’s an incredibly hard worker.”

There is also an extreme sense of passion in Kate’s tone as she speaks about her experiences in fiction. Recounting on her journey through creative writing and publishing, Kate always knew that she wanted to be in this field.

“I marvel at people who were biochemists until they woke up one morning and poured out a novel. I guess I’ve always been a bit more single-minded,” she said.

Her background in writing also helped foster a love of fiction. Having spent five years as an editor at a major publishing house after completing her undergraduate studies in creative writing, Kate decided to quit her job and move to California. There, she enrolled in the UC Davis’ master’s program, where she taught introductory creative writing courses, formed lifelong friendships, met her husband and worked on novels.

Christopher Bone, a senior English literature major at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, UK, enrolled in Kate’s writing class while he was an exchange student at UC Davis.

“My main motivation for reading Fallen was because Lauren had written it, but I ultimately enjoyed it and can see the success of it snowballing into franchise status,” Bone said. “And it’s no exaggeration to say that her class really changed the direction of my studies.”

This goes to show that Kate isn’t just passionate about writing; she also wants to pass on her accumulated literary wisdom. Her advice to young writers: “Every story has already been told, all we can do is make our own versions as fresh and compelling as possible.”

As for the writing process, Kate said the best method is to just write through them. “Write four pages of crap and hope the fifth is better. Chuck the first four,” said Kate. “I also just moved to Los Angeles and I have a really lovely canyon view from my office. That helps.”

These days, Kate is working on the revision of her second book in the series, Torment, which will be out this September. She is also doing a blog tour, as well as a few book readings and signings around LA – not to mention working on Fallen’s movie deal.

“I’ve spoken to the people at Disney and everyone seems very excited so far,” Kate said. “They’re starting to look for screenwriters this week – though I got laughed at when I asked for a shot at writing it myself. Maybe someday…”

In the meantime, Kate said she wants to take things easy for 2010. “All I’ve got on the docket is to get a dog, a part-time job in a restaurant kitchen and maybe learn how to surf.”

Now there’s some food for thought on life changing simplicities. For more information on Kate’s scheduled events and published works, go to laurenkatebooks.net.

VANNA LE can be reached at arts@theaggie.org.


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