A Conversation with Kendare Blake about BUFFY, THE NEXT GENERATION
How psyched am I to have gotten to talk with Kendare Blake, author of the Buffy, The Next Generation series? Book two comes out today and I can’t wait to read about the further adventures of Frankie, our new slayer (actually, a slayer-witch AND Willow’s daughter!), and Scoobies both old and new. I only got into Buffy a handful of years ago, but since then, the obsession has taken over my life. My family and I watch Buffy on an endless loop. My office has become filled with Buffy items (as the pictures included in this post demonstrate). We even named our goofy little rescue dog Charles Gunn, after a character from Angel. I’m not lying when I say that losing myself in Buffy was about the only thing that got me through the early months of a diagnosis of major depression. To say I’m a fan is an understatement. So. All of that said, let’s get into it! And be sure to check out the giveaway at the very end!
Amanda: What’s your history with BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER? How did you end up getting to add your voice to the Buffyverse?
Kendare: Somehow, my Buffy secret must have leaked. I am what is known as an OG Buffy fan. A fan from the way back, the dinosaur days of no DVR, no streaming, when we still used to record episodes on VHS. I started watching when the show was in its second season, and for every subsequent year of my life I’ll just randomly shake my fists in the air and scream, “BUFFYYYY!” Because why not.
And someone at Hyperion publishing must have heard my cries, because in early 2020 my agent emailed and said that the editors there wanted me to write the Buffy: The Next Generation series.
Amanda: How much freedom were you given in writing this series as far as plot, creating new characters, and using the old characters?
Kendare: I had a lot of freedom. The Buffy team gave me a list of new characters and a little backstory on Frankie, the new slayer, and set up the concept with Willow being her mom and Spike being her Watcher, along with the inciting action of the explosion at Slayerfest that took the other slayers off the board. They also told me who the Big Bad would be for the series.
But, I got to bring the new Scoobies to life, and invent new demons and monsters-of-the-week, and I kind of got to have free rein when it came to books two and three. Also, joyfully, they’ve not yet said no to any original character cameos. I got to bring back some fabulous demons in book two, and I CAN’T WAIT for more originals to pop up in book 3.
Amanda: What were the benefits and/or challenges of writing a Buffy-less story, as Buffy (and indeed all slayers) are presumed dead?
Kendare: Okay—even though as a Buffy fan when I read the pitch I almost staged a revolt, the benefits of having Buffy taken (even temporarily, maybe) off the stage were clear. For one, had Buffy been there it would have been hard for it to be Frankie’s book. New slayer? Who needs her? Buffy’s here, and Willow’s here, the gang’s all here and they’ll handle everything. New slayer, go to school. Also, it gave Frankie a clear starting point as a new slayer: she’s slaying from Buffy’s shadow, and witching from Willow’s shadow, and those are two of the biggest possible shadows to fill. It gave me a very clear picture of the pressure Frankie would be immediately under.
Also from a personal standpoint I was too intimidated to write Buffy in the beginning. If Buffy had been there the book would have been: and then the vampires attacked and Buffy epically staked them, the end, wanna go to the Bronze?
Amanda: I really loved getting to see Willow as a parent. And Spike as a watcher! Did you have a favorite old Scooby to write? Favorite new Scooby to write?
Kendare: Willow as a parent has been a surprise delight. Watching her belatedly put herself in Joyce’s shoes…she’s handling it well but she has a whole new perspective on what Joyce went through. And Spike! Oh, he’s wonderful. The easiest original to write for sure. He’s always kind of had this admiration for Giles, that was disguised in sneering disdain, and now he’s a Watcher and a librarian and he’s just strutting around in tweed. It’s great.
But all of the original Scoobies are wonderful to work with. Thanks to the acting of Alyson Hannigan, James Marsters and Seth Green, the characters are so fully-realized and delineated—the actors depictions have done more than half the work for me! As for favorite new Scooby to write (besides Frankie, because she’s my ultimate favorite), that would be Jake. I never know what’s going to come out of his mouth but I’m always happy about it.
Amanda: Any teaser of what book three might bring?
Kendare: Well, we’re not through revising the final book yet, so some things may change, but I think if readers have been hoping to see a few more of their favorites on the page they won’t be disappointed 😊 And of course there are loads more references to the show. Cue the rewatch!
If anyone would like signed copies of In Every Generation, One Girl In All The World, or any of Kendare Blake’s other books, please order through Invitation Bookshop (invitationbookshop.com) in Gig Harbor, WA and include any personalization or doodle requests in the special instructions!
Meet Kendare Blake
Kendare Blake is the author of several novels and short stories, most of which you can find information about via the links above. Her work is sort of dark, always violent, and features passages describing food from when she writes while hungry. She was born in July (for those of you doing book reports) in Seoul, South Korea, but doesn’t speak a lick of Korean, as she was packed off at a very early age to her adoptive parents in the United States. That might be just an excuse, though, as she is pretty bad at learning foreign languages. She enjoys the work of Milan Kundera, Caitlin R Kiernan, Bret Easton Ellis, and Richard Linklater.
She lives and writes in Gig Harbor, Washington, with her husband, their cat son Tyrion Cattister, red Doberman dog son Obi-Dog Kenobi, rottie mix dog daughter Agent Scully, and naked Sphynx cat son Armpit McGee.
About One Girl in All the World
“A worthy successor to the Slayer stories.” —Booklist (starred review for In Every Generation)
Into every generation, a slayer is born. One girl in all the world . . . sort of.
Frankie Rosenberg is the world’s first slayer-witch, but she doesn’t have that slay-life balance figured out just yet. She’s still reeling from the deadly explosion at the anual slayer retreat—and new evidence that some slayers may have survived. And while she’s defeated her first Big Bad, Frankie soon realizes it was just a warm-up act. Bigger, badder forces of evil are just getting started.
The Hellmouth has been reawakened and its calling old friends home. Portals are opening between Sunnydale and other dimensions. And the Scooby Gang has too many demons to contend with—real, metaphorical, and sometimes absurdly hot.
Then an oracle warns of a new foe on its way: the Darkness. Could this be what attacked the slayers? And is it coming for Frankie?
New York Times best-selling author Kendare Blake takes readers back to the demon capital of the world in this sequel to In Every Generation.
Publisher: Disney Press
Publication date: 01/31/2023
Series: Buffy: The Next Generation Series
Age Range: 12 – 18 Years
Filed under: Guest Post
About Amanda MacGregor
Amanda MacGregor works in an elementary library, loves dogs, and can be found on Twitter @CiteSomething.
SLJ Blog Network