An interview with Lauren Kate

Lauren Kate recently finished her M.A. in Creative Writing at UC Davis, where she also teaches. She lives and writes in an old farm house in Winters, California. Her first novel, The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove goes on sale one month before Fallen. Lauren very kindly spoke to Fantasy Book Review in November 2009.

Fallen is a supernatural fantasy book that will appeal greatly to the young-adult/teenage demographic. Did you set yourself boundaries, in regards to language and subject matter, that you felt were important to stay within to avoid upsetting/offending your readers (and possibly their parents)?

I haven’t reached a place where I needed to censor myself yet—and I don’t plan to. Maybe that’s because I wanted to keep Luce as accessible as possible (both to teens and their parents). For all the bad rap she gets, she’s basically a good kid, not really prone to much hard livin’. I think telling the story though her clean lens gives me a little leeway to pepper the story with some more risqué characters, like Arriane or even Cam.

Of course there’s still the whole issue of “the war between good and evil,” which can seem like a heavy or controversial topic. But I’m not interested in making any pronouncements about right or wrong, just in opening up a conversation, maybe challenging a few pre-conceived notions…just to be contentious.

Read the Fantasy Book Review of Fallen

Do you believe that boys/men will enjoy Fallen as much as their female counterparts?

Yes! Though maybe it will just be a decoy to attract female attention: “Look at that cute boy on the train reading that sensitive romance novel. I must go introduce myself!”

We Brits love nothing more than coming across British references while reading books by American authors. Fallen’s prologue is set in England, and then there are a couple of references, one to Albert Finney, and the other to The Smiths. Do these references reflect your own personal tastes?

Is this the part of the show where I admit to being an anglophile? Yes, okay, you’ve got me. You guys just do everything so darn smartly.

How large a part did your M.A. in Creative Writing play in the writing of Fallen? Would the book have been possible without it?

I’ve been taking writing workshops for about ten years so I think I was already comfortable with the benefits of a writers workshop. I applied to my masters program so that I could have more time to write. Before that, I was working long hours as an YA editor at HarperCollins (yet another place I indulged my anglophile tendencies—I got to work with people like Louise Rennison and Frank Cottrell Boyce). Anyway, back to the M.A. Time is really one of the most valuable things a beginning writer can have, and I really had about a year to just write, which was fabulous. In the process, I also met some wonderful writers and got to read a lot of great works. So yes, it was a good thing.

Are there any fantasy books from your own childhood/teenage years that are still special to you?

Oh, this list could go on and one! I loved all the Narnia books. And anything by Roald Dahl, Lois Lowry, Lewis Caroll. More recently, I love Meg Rosoff and Frances Hardinge. Right now I’m reading Frances’ The Lost Conspiracy—and loving it.

For more information on Lauren Kate, visit

Fallen book trailer