Wednesday, 29 April 2009

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

Here's the second part of my interview with Christopher Golden, author of many TV tie-ins and YA novels. In the second half of this interview, he talks about comics, Ghosts of Albion, King Kong, and what's next for him. You can read part one here.



You’ve written a lot of Buffy/Angel comics over the years. Which is your favourite to write: novels or comics?

CG: I’m not sure if you mean just Whedonverse novels and comics or in general, but either way, novels. I’m passionate about comics, but writing scripts is a totally different discipline from writing novels. In a novel I can paint the entire picture, explore the minds of characters, and take as many pages as I like.

When writing comics, do you have to put the text to the already completed artwork, or does the artist work on that after your initial script has been written?

CG: It depends entirely upon which artist or publisher you’re working with. Sometimes you write an outline, even page by page, and the artist works from that and then you add the dialogue and captions. Other times you write what’s called “full script,” which is certainly my preference.

Ghosts of Albion

Do you have any plans to write more Ghosts of Albion books with Buffy actress Amber Benson?

CG: Amber and I have many things we plan to write together eventually. Right now, there are no plans for more GHOSTS OF ALBION, but that’s up to the publisher, not us. If it was our choice, we certainly would be doing more novels in the series. I’m sure you’ll see something more of Tamara and William eventually.

How did you and Amber come up with the idea? Why did you choose to set it in Victorian England?

CG: I’d been toying with an idea for something else, though it was modern day. A friend of ours at the BBC contacted me, saying that his department (BBC interactive, their online group) was interested in us writing a Victorian-set supernatural animated series for them. They had read the Willow & Tara comics we had done together. Their ideas, however, were way too similar to Buffy and we weren’t interested in doing that. Amber and I talked and went back to them with a pitch for GHOSTS OF ALBION, which took the modern-day concept I’d been working on and mixed it with the Victorian setting the BBC wanted and a lot of mythological stuff Amber wanted to explore, and they went for it pretty much straight away.


Prowlers is a series about werewolves. If you had to choose, would you go for vampires or werewolves?

CG: Define “go for.” :) Fortunately I don’t have to choose. I like them both.

Your YA novel Soulless is about mediums and spirits. What inspired this?

CG: I love zombie stories, but I’ve always been dissatisfied by the fact that so few of them have third acts. Comet goes by, zombies rise and eat people, the end. I wanted to set up a situation where a third act resolution was definitely possible, so I needed a different kind of trigger for the zombie uprising. I’ve always been fascinated by mediums. 99% of them I believe are full of shit, but I think the other 1%, while they may not actually be communicating with spirits, they BELIEVE they are. That’s pretty interesting to me. Self-delusion. That’s not what SOULLESS is about, of course, but it’s at the base of my interest in mediums.

You wrote the novelisation of Peter Jackson’s 2005 King Kong movie. Can you tell us a bit about the process of adapting a film script into a book?

CG: Gaaahhhh. Brain melt. Universal wouldn’t release the script. I had to fly to Los Angeles and go to the studio. For three days I would go and sit in an office and the script would be brought to me. I could not make a photocopy of it. I could not leave the office with it. I was ostensibly there to “take notes,” as if it would have been possible to write a novel based on nothing but notes. Instead, of course, I spent three days transcribing the entire 160 or so page screenplay. A totally absurd exercise, but a labor of love. Otherwise I really enjoyed it. The editor I worked with, Ed Schlesinger, is a great guy, and the licensing manager at Universal, Cindy Chang, was great. I had e-mail access to the producers so that I could clarify certain things. The original KONG was one of my all time favorite movies. I lobbied for the job and am really pleased I had the opportunity to do it.

You’ve also written books based in the Battlestar Galactica and X-Men worlds. Are you fans of both?

CG: When I’m offered media tie-in work, if I’m not a fan, I say no. So yes, of course.

What’s next for you?

CG: More novels, more comics, more scripts. Fans of my past YA work and of the Buffy novels I wrote will probably love THE WAKING, a trilogy I’m doing for Bloomsbury under the pseudonym Thomas Randall. The first book, DREAMS OF THE DEAD, hits stores in the US November 1st. 2010 will see a variety of things, including new projects (both comic and book) with Mike Mignola, a new dark fantasy YA novel, and more collaborations with Tim Lebbon. Follow along at


Thank you very much, Christopher! If you've never read a book by him, I HIGHLY recommend them. They're all brilliant!


cupcakewitch said...

I just started watching Buffy... I need to start readint these books!

Kate said...

I will start watching Buffy.... eventually :)

Chicklish said...

This interview's fantastic - thank you so much!

And I love Amber Benson.

LOL at "define 'go for'" !!

KD said...

I need to start watching Buffy! :D and I saw that you are reading Jessica's Guide! Hope you like it!

So Many Books, So Little Time said...

Wow, you had a lot of qustions for him!

Cat said...

Thank you so much for this interview (both parts) it was fascinating to read. As a huge Buffy and Angel fan I was excited to see these posts. :)

I haven't actually read any of his books (I am not a novelization fang, generally) but now I know there's more out there and I might go pick something up.

Diana Dang said...

Soulless is amazing! =D