Readers are taken back to Sunnydale and the Buffyverse for a new Slayer-witch journey in Kendare Blake’s In Every Generation. Part of an upcoming trilogy, the book follows the new vampire, Slayer Frankie Rosenberg’s journey. Frankie and her group of Scoobies go against an unknown evil while trying to find answers about what happened to all the other Slayers. Fans will meet new characters and even some fan favorites returning from the television series.
This world is brought to life by New York Times bestselling author Kendare Blake (Antigoddess), whose work is sort of dark, always violent, and features passages describing food from when she writes while hungry. 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.
Recently, we had the opportunity to interview Blake. She talks about writing for the various characters, a favorite moment in the book, the writing process, upcoming projects, and more.
Note: Some spoilers beyond this point.
Nerds & Beyond: I have to begin by saying I love the names of your dog and cat children.
Kendare Blake: Thank you! This pleases me greatly, as they’re the center of my universe.
Nerds & Beyond: Congratulations on In Every Generation! It honestly was hard to put down, and it brought me back to the original feel of when I first found the Buffy the Vampire Salyer series.
Kendare Blake: Thank you AGAIN! That’s precisely what I was aiming for: that classic Buffy feel. That’s what I wanted more of: the quips, the camaraderie, the exasperated Watchers. The bitchin’ fight scenes.
Nerds & Beyond: How did the concept of bringing the Buffyverse back in a trilogy come about?
Kendare Blake: I don’t really know. By the time the publisher came to me, they had the premise and the three-book structure, and it had all been signed off on by the Buffy creative team. Very enthusiastically, I was told.
Nerds & Beyond: How much liberty did you have with writing or mentioning the original characters like Willow, Oz, etc.?
Kendare Blake: I had pretty much free rein. Of course, I never really tugged on that rein. Like, I never tried to kill Oz just to see if they’d allow it. Why would I? I wanted more of those classic characters, and I wanted them to be as true to themselves as I could manage. It was nerve-wracking to start out, honestly. But after those first scenes, it was the best time. I really miss them. Let’s see them on screen again! Come on; everyone’s doing it!
Nerds & Beyond: When writing for characters so many people are familiar with, was there anyone in particular that you were nervous about writing for?
Kendare Blake: Willow. I feel like she’s the one who, as a fandom, we are the most protective of. And much like Buffy, Willow contains multitudes. She’s awkward yet bold. Easily wigged out yet such a warrior. Even her tones and mannerisms are varied, so it was a challenge to pin her down and make her feel definitively Willow because Willow is so many things. Take, for example, her famous “resolve face.” It’s adorable and a little babyish, but at the same time, you don’t doubt her resolve.
Aside from Willow, though, I do have to mention how completely intimidated I would have been writing Buffy. I mean, she’s Buffy. I didn’t want her to be missing and presumed dead any more than anyone else, but I was relieved to not have to tackle her from page one.
Nerds & Beyond: And speaking of characters, readers are introduced to new characters with big shoes to fill. Where did the inspiration for them come from?
Kendare Blake: Frankie being Willow’s witchy daughter was in the pitch. So was Jake being Oz’s nephew/cousin and Hailey being Vi’s little sister. Sigmund, who joins the group as their necessary scholarly component (since Spike is definitely not filling that role), was noted to be a Sage demon, but I had to figure out what that was.
For the most part, I turned them loose and let them figure things out. There were a few drafts where I wrote extra scenes, shoving them together, like screen tests for chemistry. I’d put Frankie and Sigmund in a room to see what happened. I’d let Hailey and Jake or Jake and Sigmund be on their own for a minute and get a read on how they played off of each other. Those scenes usually didn’t stay, but I love that kind of character work. It’s fun.
Nerds & Beyond: I love the character of Frankie and am wondering which Hogwarts house would she be in?
Kendare Blake: Frankie would be…a Ravenpuff? No, she would be a Huffle-dor. Frankie is very caring, and she keeps an eye out for people’s feelings. She’s very loyal, even when she’s being bristly with Jake. And she’s brave. She is not, however, the most natural slayer. She fights like Sailor Moon — falling on her face, spinning out of the way while wailing — and while that will get better with practice, I don’t think it’s ever going to go away entirely.
Nerds & Beyond: Do you have a favorite moment in the book when you were writing?
Kendare Blake: The times when Frankie can land a good quip mid-battle. I love those moments that pop up where she’s like, holy crap; I am a Slayer. And then she promptly almost dies. Also, there’s a scene with Spike early on where Willow does magic on him for practice, and he freaks out. I love Spike when he’s a big baby. A Big Bad Baby.
Nerds & Beyond: I know this can be a hard question, but who is your favorite character from Buffy?
Kendare Blake: This used to be a harder question, but lately, I’ve come to realize that my favorite character is Buffy. She’s the one. That scene in season 7 with Spike in the abandoned house right before she goes to beat the crap out of Caleb? I could give her that speech. Hang on, that sounds creepy.
Nerds & Beyond: Do you have a favorite episode of Buffy?
Kendare Blake: No. I can’t pick a favorite, favorite. I can point to the same standouts that most fans can: “Hush,” “Once More With Feeling,” “Becoming Parts One and Two,” “Band Candy,” but I love so many moments from that series. The scene from season 6 where Buffy gets stuck in the time loop trying to sell that mummy hand? Sarah Michelle Gellar slapping that mummy hand and saying, “It’s not dead, it’s just playing dead! Little Scamp!” is on repeat in my head right now.
Nerds & Beyond: Does the writing process or style differ from an already created world or one you are creating from scratch?
Kendare Blake: Of course! Most of the work is done for me; now, I just have to remain faithful to the rules. But there are still opportunities to stretch the mythology, which is both fun and intimidating. And it’s kind of a warm fuzzy knowing I’m working in a world that so many people already love. And it’s absolutely paralyzing knowing some of those people are going to hate what I’m doing to it.
Mostly though, writing in Sunnydale was a joy. Utter, gleeful joy. I have never had more fun with work. Every time I got edit notes, I was like, YES, MORE TIME IN SUNNYDALE. Even changing things, reworking scenes, it was still basically me at my desk screaming, WHEEE like that little pig in that old Geico commercial.
Nerds & Beyond: What do you hope readers will take away after reading In Every Generation?
Kendare Blake: Classic Buffy feelings! Nostalgia! I hope it makes them remember all the things they loved about the show. I hope it feels kind of like watching a lost episode. And I hope it makes them want to rewatch the series for the hundredth time.
Nerds & Beyond: What’s next for you? Any upcoming projects you can mention?
Kendare Blake: Well, there’s more Buffy coming in 2023 with the next book in the trilogy. In book two, our Scoobies are a cemented, close-knit team, so I have a lot of fun with relationships in that one, evolving them and throwing them curveballs.
And in Fall 2023, my next fantasy (book) comes out, which currently has no title but is about a girl training to join an order of mystical women warriors. Until it has a title, I’m calling it AMAZON JEDIS, which should give you the basic vibe.
Nerds & Beyond: So, for my last question, here at Nerds & Beyond, obviously, we love embracing our nerdy side. What are some things that you like to nerd out to?
Kendare Blake: Some things I nerd out to: 80’s music, Final Fantasy, Buffy (obviously), Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, the movies of Val Kilmer, Gargoyles, Game of Thrones, Stephen King, and Rick and Morty.
Thank you, Kendare Blake for taking the time to answer our questions. You can get your copy of In Every Generation here!