Well, today I am super-crazy-dance-happy to share with you a guest post from Lauren Kate author of Fallen (out now) and Torment (released October 2010). As you know, I am an angel girl and so what else could I ask Lauren to tell us about? This post is so fascinating!
Fallen is out now in paperback!
One of the hardest things about writing Fallen was knowing when to stop researching and when to start writing. There was just so much information to absorb—and so much of it was riveting, but so much of it was also contradictory. Just when I thought I’d found the answer to a simple question—Aha! So it took the angels nine days to fall to Hell after they were kicked out of Heaven!—I’d crack open another book that claimed the fall took just from sunrise to sunset of one day, and another that claimed the angels fell for a thousand years.
At the time, I was working with a biblical scholar at the University of California at Davis. I sat down with her and explained my predicament. There were so many wildly varying accounts about almost everything having to do with angels. They’re sexless; they’re all men; there are men and women, too. They fell before man was created; they fell during the time of Noah’s Arc, they fell when Jesus was alive. This list of seven makes up the list of arc angels; no, it’s this list of seven angels. They’re solely spiritual or they’re physically embodied. They can or cannot die.
With book after book telling me something quite different, how would I ever know which was the definitive story?
The professor laughed at me and shrugged. “You’ll never find “definitive” anything in angelology. You have to pick and choose the bits you like. Create your own mythology. What do you think Milton did?”
Pick and choose? Could I really?
After sleeping on this, I felt as though a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. Of course that was what Milton had done with Paradise Lost. And Dante with the Inferno. And Tony Kushner with his brilliant Angels in America (which I just watched last night).
I was beginning to realize that so much of what we think of angels today does not come from a definitive biblical or historical source: From the fluffy white wings we see on greeting cards, to the pure intentions referred to when we bring angels into metaphors (Sheryl’s not just nice, she’s a perfect angel), to the guardian roles they play on TV shows like Highway to Heaven—all of these things are cultural connotations synthesized from countless books, poetry, and music that make up our current angelology.
Which meant, if I was going to enter into this tradition of angel lore, it was up to me to piece together a mythology that worked for my story and my characters. I remember it was nerve-wracking at first—to flat out dismiss some sources and adhere to others, just because they suited me—but the further I get in the series, the more comfortable it’s become to perfect my personal angel mythology. By now, I love the freedom and the creativity this affords me. The world in the Fallen series seems to grow stronger and more tightly woven with every book I write.
© Lauren Kate, 2010
Thank you so much for sharing this Lauren. I cannot wait to find out more about your unique angel mythology.
I am quite wishing right now that I was an angel myth scholar and not a children's librarian but we can't have it all, can we?!
If you haven't already visited the Fallen website, you should really check it out. Here is the link.
In case you haven't been to the cineam to see Eclipse yet (like me), here is the Fallen trailer that Random House are screening:
Discussion: Do you have a favourite aspect/ myth about angels?