I am so excited to be joining this blog tour for Kiersten White’s Slayer, a book that ended up being one of my favourite reads in 2018! Slayer takes place in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer universe and introduces a new cast of characters, so it is perfect for anyone who has seen Buffy, or hasn’t!
I adored the characters in this book, they are witty, smart and really fun to follow around as they figure out each of their situations and personal struggles. I love a good personal discovery story, so this was right up my alley. Kiersten White’s fantastic writing really shone through in this novel as she did an amazing job building her own unique set of traits and characters in the existing Buffy the Vampire Slayer universe, I was sucked right into this story and flew through it!
I had the absolute pleasure to interview Kiersten White for the release of Slayer (which is officially out as this post goes up, January 8, 2019!) Thank you to Simon & Schuster CA for the opportunity, and I hope you all enjoy the interview!
Interview with Kiersten White
Nina and Artemis have a really special sisterly bond, was this something that was important to you to include in the story?
It was always part of it, from the moment I started imagining Nina. I really love sibling dynamics, and particularly sisters. (I have three of them myself.) It’s such a strange tension, where you are downright vicious to each other—and at the same time, if anyone else is mean to them, you’ll straight up murder in your sister’s defense. And to have identical girls feel both chosen and rejected in different ways played nicely into the whole concept of Slayers and Chosen Ones.
Slayer has plenty of action scenes, but also lots of slower scenes filled with humour and/or focus on relationships, do you prefer writing one or the other more?
Oh gosh, action scenes are a nightmare! For the same reason kissing scenes are: WHERE ARE THE HANDS, WHY DO YOU HAVE TO DESCRIBE WHERE THE HANDS ARE, HOW MANY TIMES HAVE YOU USED THE WORD “HAND” IN THIS SINGLE PARAGRAPH. They’re really difficult to choreograph. They have to move fast to convey the sense that everything is happening rapidly, but also have enough punch that the reader feels the action. If I could write a book where everyone is formless, shapeless, HANDLESS entities floating in a black void having incredibly delightful, funny, sparkling conversations, I absolutely would.
I love the cast of characters in this book, especially the main group of friends. Does your process of developing new characters remain the same for most of your books or do you find it quite different for each book?
It’s usually the same. You know who your main character is, and then you fill in around them. Who will support them? Who will challenge them? Who will compliment them or bring out the worst in them? Side characters have to feel like fully formed people in their own rights, but they also serve really specific purposes. In an earlier draft there was an extra Watcher named Harry who existed to have a crush on Nina and then die/be horribly injured almost immediately. But he didn’t impact the story, so he served no real purpose and instead of dying he was deleted out of existence. RIP in that formless void, Harry.
What was the process like for you of plotting/planning your story around the existing Buffy universe?
I got to rewatch all the seasons of Buffy and sit on the couch reading the graphic novels, and if my family needed me for something I could just say, “Sorry, I’m working.” It was definitely a challenge finding a space to fit my story where it wouldn’t contradict any of the canon—which was very important to me!—but I loved diving into the Buffyverse and gathering details and ideas from all its delicious dark corners. Also, making my own Slayer was and is an absolutely surreal experience.
Was it a challenge to write a novel based on a story you already love, or did your interest in Buffy the Vampire Slayer make the process easier?
It made it easier at first—I’ve never been so excited to write something!—but it was definitely a different emotional experience than my other writing. Normally I write for myself first and an imaginary audience second. But with Slayer, I went in knowing people are already invested and connected to the world, and that they’d come in with their own expectations and hopes and preferences. Buffy means so much to so many people; it was a lot of responsibility!
Are there any other TV shows you would love to write a novel based on? (or see any of your favourite authors write on?)
Oh, that’s a tricky one. I’d love to write Star Wars or Jessica Jones, or even fun modern updates of way older shows. But I already got my dream job with this one!
Lastly, I have to know, how much Buffy did you watch while writing Slayer?
I did a single rewatch of the entire series, with some repeated viewings of related episodes. But I also did a lot of reading—show guides, episode summaries, comics, every Buffy “nonfiction” book, etc. It was the best research ever!
Thank you so much to Kiersten White, I had a blast reading Slayer and coming up with these questions!
And thank you to you for reading! Have a wonderful day,