We have a really, really exciting post today, dear readers. We are so grateful and honored that Kendare Blake, author of “In Every Generation”, the upcoming “One Girl In All the World”, “All These Bodies”, “Anna Dressed In Blood” and so many more amazing horror and dark fantasy novels, has agreed to participate in a Q and A. Kate has been loving her new “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” books, and in anticipation of the newest “One Girl In All the World” we have some fun questions and answers about horror fiction, historical influences, and, of course so many things “Buffy”. A special thanks to Kendare Blake for being willing to do this, and to Hanna Lindsley for arranging it all!
Q: What first got you interested in the dark fantasy and horror genres?
A: I don’t know, actually! My favorite fantasy movies as a kid were “The Neverending Story” and “The Last Unicorn”, which both have some dark themes/moments, so that probably had something to do with it. Also the fact that I loved Freddy Krueger on sight and picked up my first Stephen King book at age 10.
Q: In other YA horror books you have written, you have used influences from historical events to shape some aspects of the story (The Countess Bathory in “In Every Generation”; Starkweather and The Clutter Murders in “All These Bodies”). What is it like melding historical fact with horror fiction during your writing process?
A: I have a thing about re-examining women in history who I think may have gotten a bad rap. Caril Ann Fugate, who was Charlie Starkweather’s hostage or accomplice, who served as inspiration in my novel “All These Bodies”. Cassandra of Troy, who I used in my “Antigoddess” series. And Countess Bathory in “In Every Generation”. Of course sometimes in my re-examining I end up making things worse, like making the Countess a Big Bad in Sunnydale. But I hope I made her a fabulous big bad, and I did want to make sure that someone mentioned the possibility that she was historically completely innocent, and the claims against her were invented to get her out of the way for those who wanted her lands and titles.
Q: Besides “Buffy”, what other vampire lore and stories have influenced you in your work?
A: Besides “Buffy”, the vampires of my youth were Anne Rice’s, and that 80s hair band of vamps from “The Lost Boys”.
Q: What was it like writing new characters for “Buffy” and having them interact with some well-loved characters from the source material? Did you find it challenging to bring them together for the story you are trying to tell?
A: Haha, sometimes scenes would get crowded. Like, I felt the weight of the TV writers, who need to have everyone in the scene for story purposes but then also have to give the actors something to do? Like, I felt pressure to give everyone a good, quippy line or something.
At first, I was worried how the new Scoobies (Noobies?) would fit in with the OGs, but as it turned out, Hailey and Sigmund felt like they were Scoobs from way back. And of course Frankie and Jake felt like Scoobies by virtue of their last names alone.
Q: Who has been your favorite “Buffy” character to write in your books so far? Has that lined up with a favorite character from the series?
A: When I first watched the series, Willow was my favorite. But she’s surprisingly hard to write! Alyson Hannigan does A LOT with her facial expressions, and the tempo and cadence of her voice. And even beyond that, Willow is a complex character with a lot of layers and a weighty past. She and I had some growing pains together as we tried to figure out her new role as a slayer’s mom, and a John-Wick-witch-coming-out-of-retirement.
But one character who has been a complete delight has been Spike. Thanks to the range of James Marsters, Spike can do anything. He can go from the heights of clever insightfulness to the basement of whiny baby-man in the space of a page and it’s all in character. I wish there’d been more page time to give him more of an arc–I had wishes for arcs for all of the OGs–but these books were for Frankie and the New Scoobies, and unfortunately some of that just had to be cut.
Q: What is your favorite “Buffy” episode?
A: An impossible question! Band Candy. No. The musical. No. Life Serial. No. Becoming, parts 1 and 2! No. Band Candy! No. Something Blue. No–
Q: Are there any other classic fantasy or sci-fi series you would love to write new stories for?
A: Not really? There are very few properties that I feel like I have the street cred to write for. “Buffy” was one. “Gargoyles”, might be another. And they might be the only two.
A deep and heartfelt thanks again to Kendare Blake for taking the time to answer these questions! Look for Kate’s Review of “One Girl in All the World” next week, and take a look at her previous reviews of “In Every Generation” and “All These Bodies”!