Author Interview + Review: Lovestruck by Kate Watson
Kate Watson is a fav around here, with her retellings and reimaginings full of heart and depth. Lovestruck, her latest, is no exception. We checked in with her about writing more fantastical this round, endings, and more. Check it out plus a review below!
Interview with Kate Watson
I loved the ending of Lovestruck. When did you know how it would end?
Thank you! I knew the ending really early in my planning stages. I’m a destination writer, so I always have an ending in mind and write to it. I’ll try to stay spoiler-free, but because I knew this story was about choice vs. determinism, I needed to have an ending that would reflect both. So much of Kali’s struggle is a self-fulfilling prophecy, in ways, and I think that is true to life for a lot of people, me included.
I also wanted to play with the idea of Deus Ex Machina a little, considering it’s a storytelling convention the Greeks created (man, I love the Greeks!). The ending isn’t technically Deus Ex Machina, because I do hint that there’s more to the situation than Kali understands and show that the lore on Olympus isn’t always rooted in truth. But on first read, I think it feels extra convenient to readers, and that was completely by design. When you’re playing with fate, why not?
Lovestruck does a great job balancing the adults in the story (as caregivers and as general people) and the teens. What was it like crafting the adult characters vs the teens?
Writing adults and writing teens are very different things, but the fact that, with the exception of Tony, all the adults in the story are also Ancient Greek deity compounded things a bit. I needed Kali’s parents (whom I adore) to be both wise and foolish–like typical parents–but in an exaggerated way, because everything with the Greek Gods and Goddesses is exaggerated in my mythology. I needed Artemis and Apollo to have an eons long push and pull that could explain their dynamic. It was funny to write Apollo as so much pettier of a character than any of the teens, and it was a bit tragic to write Artemis as someone so unlikely to advocate for herself, when she’s so much more powerful than the teen cast and just as powerful as her brother. Ultimately, the strengths and flaws of the teens are magnified in their adult counterparts, and that was really fun to play with.
Lovestruck is more fantastical than your previous two novels. What was it like to write something based slightly outside of reality and where did the idea come from?
I loved writing the fantastical in this context! Because I write contemporary, I wanted it to still feel grounded in our reality, as I hoped it would be more accessible to my readers who aren’t hardcore fantasy fans, but I still wanted it to be just otherworldly enough to catch people up in its spell. The trickiest part was giving just enough context to the mythology and to Mount Olympus that readers who aren’t overly familiar with Greek Mythology could follow along without having to reread a section or look something up online.
The idea came to me in a literal flash of inspiration. I was at work years ago, and I suddenly saw an image in my head of a teen cupid standing in a hallway after she’d just pricked herself with her arrow. That scene was clear as day, and it shows up very similarly in the book to the way it did when I feverishly recorded the idea at work all those years ago. From there, I had to find out what happened, so I asked myself questions that allowed me to expand it into a real, full-fledged story. It was the most fun I’ve ever had outlining a novel!
Lovestruck in a nutshell:
- Kali is a Cupid
- Buuuut she doesn’t want to be! She’s not sure this is her calling.
- Too bad; the Fates decided
- Accidentally matches people – whoops!
- Accidentally matches HERSELF with a mortal – MAJOR WHOOPS
- Little love triangle but easy choice!
- Awesome to see parents and other adults prominent in the story
- THE ENDING IS THE BEST
So yeah, I loved it. I loved watching Kali struggle with her fate and feeling like she had little control over her life. This felt real for what teens experience IRL (of course, without the whole god and powers business). This is the perfect summer romance – fun with a side of seriousness!