Two authors, two days! Today we welcome Lauren Kate, the author of Fallen. I’m about halfway through reading the book right now and I can’t put it down. I have all of these pesky essays to grade and I find myself wishing I could just sit back and finish Fallen! Not to mention, I have a pack of girls haunting me to finish the book and pass it on to them. A few girls picked it up from my desk, read the flap copy, and demanded I finish it immediately so they could read it. You can look forward to a review in the near future.
But for today, please welcome Lauren Kate!
****The Unroyal We****
I was in the midst of some long overdue holiday shopping when I got one of the most exciting text messages of my life: Fallen was debuting at number five on the New York Times Bestseller List. I dropped the overpriced tin of mint chocolate-covered marshmallows I was considering buying for my brother and bolted out of Williams Sonoma. I had to tell everyone I knew. Immediately!
I called my husband, my parents, my mother-in-law, my best friend—and every time I relayed the good news, I found myself saying the same thing. We made the list. We’re number five. Not “I,” not even “Fallen,” always “we.” I didn’t feel right saying anything else.
It has always baffled and half-charmed me the way Queen Victoria referred to herself as a plural entity: “We are not amused.” “We thought it best to arrest him.” Mark Twain once said “only kings, presidents, editors, and people with tapeworms have the right to use the editorial ‘we.'”
I’m no king and I don’t have a tapeworm, but I feel the need to add myself—or at least my writer self—to this list. Because the day I got that message from my agent, it became clear to me that any celebratory feelings related to the book must include every single person who had a hand in getting Fallen onto the shelves.
People have asked me recently how it feels to publish a book, and what the most surprising thing about the experience has been. And I can navigate away from saying how humbling the experience has been. I never imagined that half the things that have happened surrounding Fallen would have happened—and sometimes I feel like I had very little to do with it. I mean that in the best sense possible. I mean, all I did was write the thing.
But I have a brilliant editor-agent team who helps me rein some things in and tease other things out. And a design department at Random House and the artist who created the breathtakingly gorgeous jacket—which made all the difference in the world. I have a family that supports me, a husband who eggs me on and makes me laugh. I have endlessly resourceful publicists who put me places where I get to interact with readers. That’s the best part. Real-live readers at the end of the tunnel. Every one of these people make up my Unroyal We.
Writing is such a solitary act—and to me that’s the hardest part about it. Working steadily for months and months on a draft of a book leaves me brain-numb and socially inept. I have a hard time forming sentences with my mouth after a day of writing them with my computer. My favorite, favorite part of writing is finishing a manuscript, coming out of the cocoon, and re-entering the world.
There are three more books in the Fallen series left to write (and hopefully many more books after that), and before “we” go back into the tunnel to write the next book, Torment, it’s great to have glimpsed what’s waiting—for us all—on the other side.
Be sure to follow Lauren Kate on the rest of her blog tour. Tomorrow she will be making a stop at The Children’s Book Review.