Our Kendare Blake interview tackles writing a Buffy the Vampire Slayer novel (In Every Generation), creating a brand new Slayer, and what’s next for Frankie.
The Buffyverse is home to some incredible heroes, wild villains, and passionate fans—and when I read In Every Generation by Kendare Blake, I knew she belonged in that last group (and maybe a little of the first one too).
I was thrilled when I found out I had the opportunity to conduct this Kendare Blake interview because it must be no easy feat to jump into this world knowing it’s impossible to please everyone. Even the show is divisive—Team Spike vs. Team Angel is just the beginning, after all—and there are a myriad of ways to take a new story set in the Buffyverse.
From previous interviews, I knew the publisher came to Kendare with the premise and structure of this trilogy, all of which had been signed-off by the Buffy creative team. The author would be set to bring everything alive—from the tiniest details to the larger action sequences.
As you could tell from my In Every Generation book review, I absolutely fell in love with Willow’s daughter, Frankie, and the way she tackled her new life as a Slayer. Not only did she have to figure out what happened to the other Slayers, but she even had her own Monster of the Week and Big Bad to contend with.
But you’re not here to listen to me gush about this book all over again. You want to know what Kendare has to say about the process and maybe get a little hint at what’s to come, right? Right!
Kendare Blake interview – ‘In Every Generation’
Buffy is one of those shows with a long history and a wide-reaching canon, and it seems like In Every Generation didn’t forget a single thing that happened to the original Scoobies. What did you do to prepare to write this book, in terms of remembering and incorporating all those events and various demons? What happened when you weren’t sure about a certain detail and had to double check the lore?
You know, the thing that I had to look into the most was the spelling of things! Demon names, spells, there were so many that I’d only heard and never read. So few had names in English like The Gentlemen, and fewer were shown spelled out on screen. Though I did know how to spell ‘Turok Han’ thanks to Giles’ helpful drawings. I started writing In Every Generation at the same time that I started a Buffy rewatch (plus the crossover episodes of Angel), so between the show and the book it was a summer of complete immersion.
Seeing Willow as a mom is a side of the character we’ve never witnessed before, and I appreciated how she took Frankie’s calling as a Slayer in stride instead of locking her up to keep her safe! After all, she’s seen Buffy die on more than one occasion, so no one could blame her for wanting to protect her daughter. Could you talk a little bit more about the choice to go in this direction?
It seemed the most natural choice for her. She understands the dangers, but she also knows slayers, and she was around for the most successful slayer’s entire run. This is something new for Willow, and she touches on the idea of being the new Joyce, and I’m sure she’s developing an appreciation for everything Joyce must have gone through when they were kids.
Speaking of Frankie, you make a point to distinguish her from Buffy in a number of ways, and even from her mother, despite the fact that they can both do magic. Buffy made mistakes when she was a Slayer, but Frankie feels like an everywoman kind of Slayer and that makes her very relatable. How important was it for you to show her tripping and falling throughout the book?
I LOVE the way that Frankie fights. I think it would be so cool and also hilarious to see on screen. Don’t get me wrong, she’s still a slayer, and she has acrobatic stunts and speed, but there’s always a moment during Frankie’s battles where the soundtrack could be “Yakety Sax.” At first, it felt natural to go that way: she would be overwhelmed and in her own head, completely intimidated by Buffy and her legendary badassery, but after a while I kind of realized that bulging eyes, ducking, and spinning while shrieking softly was just Frankie’s signature style.
What do you think would happen if season 2 Spike and Watcher Spike ended up in the same room together? What would they say to each other?
Firstly, thank you for putting this image into my head. Here’s what I think would happen: they would circle each other warily, like blond, sexy cats. Then they would trade insults until they realized how charmed they were by their future/past selves, and things would get weird. But the truce wouldn’t last. They would ultimately be forced into conflict by their soul/lack of soul, and Watcher Spike would prevail, but only after season 2 Spike imparted some very hard wisdom that made Watcher Spike completely re-evaluate his positions on things. Then season 2 Spike would straighten his leather coat, give Watcher Spike one last look and say he never knew tweed could look that good, and drive away in Watcher Spike’s car with so much bravado that no one would immediately realize he’d just stolen it. Now, the real question: is there ANY way I could possibly work this scene into one of the future books?
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I saw you were a little relieved you didn’t have to write Buffy into the book because those are some big shoes to fill, but are there any other characters you were nervous to bring to life (whether or not they showed up in this one)? What about some you didn’t have room for, but would love to write in upcoming installations?
Hmm. Oz. I was a little afraid of Oz. He doesn’t talk much, for one, but he’s still so expressive through the things he doesn’t say. Nonverbal can be tough to do on the page. And he’s still just too cool. I have a storyline planned for him and the Osbourne werewolf clan though, so I hope that pans out. And I’ve gotten to write a little bit from his POV, which was interesting, but thankfully not as philosophical as when Buffy read his mind in “Earshot.” As for someone I’d love to write: Wesley. I loved Wesley Wyndam Pryce, and I wish he hadn’t died. It would be fun to reunite him with the Buffy gang and watch him unintentionally slide backward into peevishness.
It’s obvious you’re a huge fan of the show because it comes through on each and every page. What element of your own personality or interests did you want to bring to the Buffyverse? What part of In Every Generation is 100% Kendare Blake?
None of it, I swear! I tried to keep myself out as much as possible. My only job was to be a Buffyverse vessel, to recapture the tone and feel, to grab that nostalgia and hold tight. I tried to structure the book like a pared down season of the show, with episodic monsters of the week and smaller arcs tied into the overarching mystery. It was great fun cooking up a new Big Bad! Buuut, something was bound to sneak in, so Frankie’s eco-witching, that’s kind of me. And there’s a scene in a demon bar that takes place away from New Sunnydale, and that scene had bits of my voice and proclivities. But only bits.
Can you give us a totally out of context hint about the next book in this series?
There’s a magical stone given to Frankie by the Hunter of Thrace, and it’s called the stalker’s stone, so naturally Jake has fun with that. And oh! Don’t you love those classic Buffy demons? Don’t you wonder what they’re up to? Wouldn’t you like to see a few of them again?
I love that you’ve codenamed your new and upcoming fantasy series AMAZON JEDIS, not least of which because that immediately grabbed my interest. Is there anything else you can share about what we can expect from that one?
Ha, thank you! I wish I could just keep on calling it that, because it really captures the heart of the story. It’s about an orphaned girl who is taken in by an order of mystical women warriors, and her determined quest to join their ranks. There are lots of mentor and apprentice vibes, immortal horses, and even a swoony, beefcake hero, if you’re into that sort of thing. Comes out in Fall 2023.