I discovered Buffy the Vampire Slayer when I was an ex-pat wife, living in Jamaica in the late 1990s. At home in the UK we only had four channels, here we had dozens, mostly pirated, though we did pay the proper fee to the cable company, we found that whether we did or not all sorts of programmes would crop up at random intervals. They would appear then disappear, probably because the company was having a crackdown on rogue suppliers.
Whatever the reason, we had no control over what was being coming over the airwaves from the USA. Most of it was stuff I’d never want to watch but then there was Buffy. A teenage girl with a mission to protect the world from evil, to fight vampires and other monsters and to do it alone except for her friends Willow and Xander.
From the moment I saw the first episode, Buffy nights were sacrosanct and family and friends quickly learned that as we had no way of recording the programme, I simply wouldn’t go out on a Buffy night. The action was quick moving, the dialogue sharp and funny and sharp and I loved the fact that Buffy was a real teenager. She was moody, rebellious and certainly didn’t want to be a chosen one. Buffy wanted an ordinary life, at least part of the time, but when she realised that wasn’t going to be possible, she accepted the responsibility and took her role seriously.
She was her own woman and that for me was the ultimate appeal. I like my female characters to have that quality of independence, to be able to question the status quo and make their own decisions. I want them to care, to relate to people, to stand up for justice and fairness, but also to be real flawed human beings, who don’t always get it right. Like Letty Parker, in “City of Secrets” who has a habit of speaking without thinking and putting herself and her friends in danger.
I also love the supernatural elements in Buffy. Apart from her own role, there is Willow who is learning to develop her talent for magic, Angel the vampire with a soul, and Dawn, Buffy’s mysterious little sister who comes out of nowhere and has vast cosmic significance.
The supernatural plays its part in my own books. There are the Dark Ones, the Nephilim, half human half angel in the Letty Parker series. Letty also has to battle with witches and encounters the powers of a voodoo priestess in the soon to be released “Island of Fear.”
In my adult novels, such as “House of Shadows” and “Belvedere Crescent” it is time slip that provides the supernatural elements. I am fascinated by the unknowable, the shadow glimpsed out of the corner of an eye, the question of what happens after death.
Hamlet tells Horatio, “There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamed of in your philosophy.” And these are the things that spark my stories.