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Friday, 9 July 2010

Guest Post: Angelology by Lauren Kate

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?


So Many Books, So Little Time said...

Fantastic post! It makes me want to research angelology! And I agree with you Becky, being an angel myth scolar sounds lieka seriously great job.

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

I love that she really did her research. That rocks. Major kudos!

Christina/Book Addict said...

Yay! A guest post from Lauren Kate- that's so awesome! I'm loving that she researched as well. I dig angels- so much more than vampires and werewolves. Thanks for sharing this, Becky!

Lynsey Newton said...

I'm an angel girl too :D

I went to Eclipse and was looking forward to seeing the book trailer but it didn't show :(

A really interesting post Becky, I love reading about things like this :)

Dwayne said...

Fab guest post! More insight on Angelology. I think rather highly of angels, fallen or otherwise, because they would always remain to be heavenly beings to me. I don't have a particular favourite aspect about them, but I do have a fascination with their appendages, lol. Who doesn't want wings? For that matter, who does not want to inspect angels' wings? :D

Becky said...

Sophie, ah the joy of hearing about the lives of the angels. I want to hear more about Gabriel and Michael *sigh*

Juju, I know. Isn't it the coolest!

Christina, if you didn't, I would no longer be able to call you my book twin! ;-)

Lynsey, I feel like you deserve a high five fellow angel fan!

Dwayne, wings yes. But also the halo and the inner light and the ability to heal. Ah I love them!

Nina said...

Wow, I never knew that you could study angels at the university. That sounds amazing! I need to buy this book asap!

Jazzie Casas said...

I was looking for a greeting card for a friend. I had zero luck finding what I was looking for. I told a group of friends about this problem one night while we were having a few drinks. We proceeded to get smashed and make up a bunch of greeting cards we found funny. I had been writing down the cards we made up and the next morning I read them. Much to my surprise the cards were still funny even when sober.