Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Author Interview: Christopher Golden - Buffy Extraordinaire (Part I)

I am very excited about this interview, as I've been a fan of Christopher Golden's for over ten years now. He has written numerous Buffy the Vampire Slayer novels, guides and comics, as well as the novelisation for Peter Jackson's King Kong movie, and YA books Soulless and Prowlers. He's the author of some of my favourite Buffy books (The Gatekeeper Trilogy, Immortal, Spike & Dru: Pretty Maids All in a Row, Child of the Hunt), and has written too much stuff to mention. Basically, he juct rocks!

Anyway, here is part one of what is rather a long interview. I asked quite a lot of questions (ten years worth!), so part two will be up tomorrow.



How did you get into writing TV and film novelisations and comics?

CG: They’re two different things, really. I’d always been interested in comics and started trying to break in to that even before I sold my first book. I honestly don’t remember the first comic book assignment I got, but it might well have been the adaptation of Joe R. Lansdale’s novel THE DRIVE-IN, which I did for Dark Horse. But then Lansdale and Dark Horse had a difference of opinion and the project was dead there. Years later it was published by another company. As for media tie-ins, it all started with a DAREDEVIL novel. I’d already had several books published and done a number of comics, and I’d been approached by a book packager who were going to be doing a whole series of Marvel comics novels. They wanted me to be an editorial consultant on the book series. A few weeks went by and they decided they were going to use in-house staff only, but as a consolation prize, they offered me my pick of the characters they had licensed, and I chose Daredevil. That’s a story in its own right. From there came the X-Men novels that I’d done, and that experience was helpful in scoring the Buffy gig and others that came after.

Do you prefer writing for a YA or adult audience?

CG: I don’t discriminate. They’re different voices for me, but I love writing for all audiences.

On average, how long does it take you to write a TV tie-in novel?

CG: An original tie-in novel, about two months. A novelization (which I’ve only done once, with KING KONG) is a little faster. Maybe six weeks.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Were you a Buffy fan from the beginning?

CG: I’d never seen the movie, but I watched the very first episode on the night it aired and fell in love instantly. I’d been talking to Nancy Holder about collaborating on something together, and we talked the day after the pilot aired and said “that’s it! That’s the thing! Quick, let’s find out who has the rights!”

You co-wrote a lot of Buffy books with fellow fan Nancy Holder. How did you go about this? Did you each agree to write a certain number of pages, or did you each take different storylines?

CG: Most of my collaborations follow the same basic pattern. You work on the prologue or first chapter, kick it back and forth a while until you find a voice that suits you both, and then you play tennis. Usually that means I take a chapter, then my collaborator takes a chapter, then me, etc. Sometimes it’s two chapters each. Sometimes just two scenes. I’ve never written anything where I took only certain characters’ storylines and my collaborator took others. I could be wrong, but I suspect that would be detrimental to the overall voice of the book.

What research did you have to do in order to write a Buffy novel?

CG: Umm…watch Buffy? [Jenny: I need a job like this!]

You’re my favourite Whedonverse author in terms of getting the character’s voices right. Did you find this difficult to do?

CG: Nah. I loved both Buffy and Angel because of the characters. At first I studied the scripts to get the vocal cadences of the various characters, to pick up the idiosyncrasies, but later just watching the episodes was enough.

Do you have a favourite Buffy/Angel episode or season?

CG: Favorite episodes of Buffy, of course. Passion. Hush. The Body. Those are all freakin’ great television. My favorite thing about Angel was ALWAYS Lorne. And Andy was such a sweet, sweet, and talented guy. His death was tragic.

I particularly like your Spike & Dru book, Pretty Maids All In a Row. Which were your favourite characters to write about?

CG: It depended on my mood, I suppose. I loved Spike and Dru, though I’m aware my interpretation of Spike was unpopular with certain segments of the fan base. I loved writing Xander in the books and Xander and Anya in the comics. I also always loved writing Willow and Tara as a couple, and when Sniegoski and I wrote MONSTER ISLAND, I loved showing the first encounter between Fred and Tara.

Of all the Buffy books you wrote, which is your personal favourite? (Mine’s The Gatekeeper Trilogy!)

CG: Definitely PRETTY MAIDS ALL IN A ROW. I had so much fun writing that book, especially the submarine sequences.

The Lost Slayer series sees you writing about an alternate future Season Four timeline, in which Giles is a vampire. Was it fun to write his character as an evil, powerful vampire king?

CG: Totally. I love Giles as a character, and Tony Head is a funny, charming guy. Even when Giles wasn’t Ripper, you could see the old Ripper-ness trying to get out. As brilliant as he is, and as knowledgable about magic and slayers, and as ruthless as Ripper had been, I don’t think there would be a more deadly adversary for Buffy than Giles as a vampire. In fact, though I had to write it with her being victorious, I absolutely think that if Buffy went up against vampire Giles, vampire Giles would kill her.


Check back tomorrow for questions about comics, Ghosts of Albion, Soulless, King Kong and lots more!


Chicklish said...

Oh, this is absolutely fascinating - all of it! Thank you so much, both of you.

"I watched the very first episode... and fell in love instantly" Ooh, snap! (Except I didn't watch it on the night it aired, being in the UK and all!)

Brilliant interview.

So Many Books, So Little Time said...

I think I need to watch Buffy, I know, I know, I've never seen Buffy. Don't kill me!

the epic rat said...

Awesome interview! I haven't read any Buffy books or graphic novels - but perhaps I will! :) Fascinating on how he "researched" to write the books :)

I miss this show!

Fantastic Book Review said...

Great interview! I'm a big fan of Buffy The Vampire Slayer. I've watched all of the episodes, but I haven't read the books.

Kate said...

Great interview. I should watch Buffy but, I have a list of things to do at the minute. I will in time though.

Little Willow said...

Fantastic! I'm so glad that you got to interview him. :)

Diana Dang said...

Great interview! I absolutely adore his book Soulless! And became a fan of him since! Sadly I still have to start cracking on his Buffy novels!