Flying High

Author of popular YA novels works on film adaptations

Transitional Age: Lauren Kate (left) says her characters often start at age seventeen because "The liminality between childhood and adulthood and the risks that are required in that year of someone's life attract me."
Courtesy of Lauren Kate

Unearthly shadows and haunted memories trail after Luce Price as she enters the gates of the Sword and Cross reform school in Savannah, and it isn’t long before she is inexorably drawn to a stranger who seems impossibly familiar.

This is where we meet the protagonist of the film Fallen, a story of cursed teen lovers based on the 2008 novel Fallen by internationally best-selling author Lauren Kate. The series captured the imagination of readers all over the globe, topping the New York Times bestseller list, and the film rights for the book were optioned the day it published. Released first in Asia and Europe, the film hit US theaters September 8 and was released on DVD October 10.

Fallen author Lauren Kate—full name Lauren Kate Velevis Morphew 03C—graduated from Emory with majors in creative writing and French, and has gone on to write four follow-up novels to FallenTorment, Passion, Rapture, and Unforgiven—and a collection of short stories, Fallen in Love. The books came in at No. 67 on’s list of 100 Best-Ever Teen Novels in 2012.

The wide popularity of the young adult novels has been a happy surprise for Kate, who initially planned to study political science at Emory, only discovering that her love of writing could become a career thanks to an Introduction to Fiction Writing class with Emory creative writing Professor Jim Grimsley.

“On the first day of the course I remember he held up a book he’d been working on, and it showed me how real it could be, to make a life writing,” Kate says.

During the planning and production of the Fallen movie, Kate worked with the screenwriter and director, visiting the set in Budapest, Hungary, and meeting the actors.

“I had finished the whole series by the time of the filming, so I had perspective on the mythology of it. It needed to be gotten right in the first movie so the rest of series could follow,” she says. “I went to the set, and it was a great experience watching it happen.”

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