This past summer I was given the chance to read in advance the newest release from the International Bestselling author Lauren Kate. You can catch my review, here. Afterwards, I had a million and a half questions when I was through reading Teardrop. So I asked Lauren—a dear friend, a sweetheart, and someone with a huge giving heart—if she didn't mind to do an interview with me just in time for the release of Teardrop, which is TODAY! And she was happy to do one. So without a further delay!
Nollie: I want to start with seven questions that allow your readers to get to know you better.
Lauren: Let’s do it.
Nollie: Five adjectives you would use to describe your personality.
Lauren: Stubborn, passionate, intense, dreamy, evolving.
Nollie: Last three songs you listened to.
Lauren: Young and Beautiful, Lana Del Ray; The Wire, Haim; Broken, Jake Bugg
Nollie: Truth or Dare?
Nollie: Least favorite house chore?
Lauren: Dishes. I’ll cook until the cows come home, but I don’t want to clean up after them.
Nollie: Favorite Disney princess/movie.
Lauren: Ariel. I have a thing for mermaids.
Nollie: First book you remember reading.
Nollie: I remember how much of a sweet tooth you have and love ice cream, so what’s your favorite flavor?
Nollie: Before you start writing, your husband who is a musician makes you a playlist. Is there ever a time that you can’t find music that fits with your mood and/or with what you were writing about?
Lauren: Music reaches us keenly when we find a song that syncs up with what we’re going through—a heartbreak song in the midst of a heartbreak guts me in just the right way. But I find also music really helpful for accessing a feeling I’m not currently experiencing but that my character needs to feel to get through a scene. When Luce arrived at Sword and Cross for example, and was in a really tough place, I had just gotten engaged and was sorta floating on a pink romantic cloud. But when I turned to some trusted gorgeous melancholy music, I was able to find her voice.
Nollie: There was this scene, at the end of chapter two, between the heroine and her love interest that was really sweet, romantic, and completely organic. How did this scene come about and how did it help shape the rest of Teardrop? And knowing the inspiration, how did it feel to see what happened between you and your husband written down on paper?
Lauren: When my husband caught my tear, I knew the moment could be magical transposed onto a page. But I of course already had an intimate relationship with my husband, so I knew his intentions in that moment were to reach me, to console me, to support me, to know me even better than he did. I wondered what the same scene would mean between two virtual strangers, and that’s what led me to writing it into Eureka’s tale.
Nollie: The mythology for Teardrop is very unique and I can’t think of any other novel that has anything similar to what Teardrop has. With being this distinctive, what types of freedom did you have when writing Teardrop? Any disadvantages? Also what type of research did you have to do to help develop the Teardrop legends?
Lauren: I was amazed by the breadth of flood narratives I found to plumb from. Every culture has one, and, while there are a lot distinctions from culture to culture, there are also a lot of similarities. I was thinking for a while about how emotions create real worlds—how a person can live in his or her own pain, sorrow, happiness, or surprise—and so I started thinking about writing a character whose emotions literally created a world. That’s where I found Eureka.
Nollie: For a love story, there are a lot of darker undertones that some might not expect. How do you stay true to the essence of love, while having to tell a story of devastating heartache? And how might some connect with the emotions that are depicted in the story you are telling?
Lauren: I can’t really account for my books’ darkness, other than I try not to shy away from my characters’ difficulties. In Teardrop, I have another character note that Eureka feels “more powerfully than anyone in the world” but I think this is the way all of us feel actually, when we’re really feeling something.
Nollie: In Fallen, many of your characters were named or had traits after people you knew or liked. For example, Luce after one of your favorite singer Lucinda Williams and Cam was built off your husband. So for Teardrop, how did you come about naming the characters and learning their traits? And knowing that Eureka means “I found it” in Greek, does this have any ties to the possibility of finding a lost continent?
Lauren: You’re right about Eureka—and Atlas, who becomes an important oppositional force to Eureka later in the series means (in Greek) “I endure.” Ander is named for Leander, the love interest in the myth (and poem) Hero and Leander, which I find incredibly romantic. And Cat—she’s inspired by a Cat I know and love.
Nollie: Eureka is incredibly imaginative. In chapter one, you write that “her mind fled to wild destinations she didn’t try to avoid.” By being this imaginative, what layer does it add to Eureka’s character and who she is? And was there at any point that you could relate to what she was visioning or the need to escape reality?
Lauren: Eureka’s depression makes her inaccessible to many of the other characters in her story, but I never wanted her to feel inaccessible to the reader. Developing her imagination allowed me to fully explore her character—and it was nice to feel like I was giving the reader private access to her that most people don’t get. I strongly relate to the experience of feeling like you’re a different person than the rest of the world perceives you to be.
Nollie: In my review for Teardrop, I mentioned that there was something about the South that could be agreed upon that was purely magical. And I have never know an author to describe a location the way you can. In Fallen, I felt like I was seeing in a sepia tone filter the world of Sword and Cross. Whereas in Teardrop, I was seeing Louisiana in Technicolor with dull edges. In both though, the way you describe the settings, draws in readers into their world, set the mood for the rest of the story and can be perfectly pictured. What exactly sets Louisiana apart that made it the prime location for what happens in Teardrop?
Lauren: That’s so nice of you to say. Like many authors I admire, I see setting as a character—it needs to have a dynamism in order to earn its place in the book. When I visited Savannah, the place stuck with and to me. I can only say I had a very similar experience when I visited New Iberia, Louisiana. Originally, I thought Eureka was going to be a Southern California girl. I actually wrote a few chapters with her set in LA. She didn’t become herself though until I found her in Louisiana.
Nollie: Unlike Fallen, which some might have suspected would deal with some religious undertones, some might not expect the amount of Catholicism Eureka mentions. Knowing the region though that Eureka lives in, is this something that she truly believes in, or is it a matter of who, how and/or where she was raised?
Lauren: Faith is an important part of who Eureka is, and her faith is tested in this series, which I relate to and wanted to explore. Yes, part of her faith is decided by who she was born to and where, but the pull to explore that faith is deeply personal for Eureka (and for all of us, I think!)
Nollie: By the time that Teardrop is released, your daughter, little Matilda, for which you dedicate the book too, will be almost nine months old. Parenthood changes every aspect of how you live, see and feel things. Exactly how has Matilda changed the way you see, feel and enjoy the world? And how might it spill over into how you write? And what is the one message or lesson that you hope your daughter will learn from you?
Lauren: Matilda has made me a stronger and a more vulnerable person. Actually, maternal love impacts me in much the same ways that romantic love impacts me. Seeing the world through her eyes is one of the most fascinating experiences of my life—it changes everything and it changes every day. More than anything else, I hope my daughter grows into a passionate (and compassionate) person.
Nollie: For those who might have just picked up Fallen, the book is being made into a movie. A book and a movie are two different mediums to work with. Exactly how has the process of turning Fallen into a movie any different, or maybe similar, to when you started working on the book years ago? Also with all this excitement for the movie from those in the fandom, are there ever any fears that you might disappoint some with what choices have been made?
Lauren: Filming for the movie hasn’t started yet, but so far I can say that the choices made have been really thoughtful and true to the spirit of the books. I’m happy with the script. I adore the director, Scott Hicks, and I’ve loved what I’ve seen so far about the three principal actors. Its impossible to know how the finished product will turn out, but I am optimistic.
Nollie: The amount of support you have received over the years, I’m sure, has been overwhelming. You have traveled, met and talked to thousands of your fans, and are still making new ones to date. You have seen hundreds of fan work for Luce and Daniel, heard stories from fans about how they found their own love, and felt the love they have for you. Is there anything you would like to say to those who have supported you? And what do you look forward to in the future with fans?
Lauren: I want to say that the way you’ve phrased this question brought tears to my eyes. You described my experience experiencing my readers over the past few years so gorgeously. I feel unendingly grateful for the inspiration I’ve gleaned from my readers. What do I hope for the future? A deepening of my bond with them—and their support in my future writing endeavors.
Many thanks for Lauren for doing this interview. And for those fans who want to catch Lauren while on her Teardrop tour, should check the stops and dates here. You will love every moment if you meet her!