Dear Fanboy Comic Readers,
If you’re a fan of Joss Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer, then the chances are good that you’ve read a story by the award-winning writer, Nancy Holder. Holder’s ties to the Buffy-verse are as strong as a certain Hell Goddess, and her list of contributions to the Slayer’s extended universe are as prolific as the Watchers’ Diaries themselves. Having written over fifteen novels taking place in Whedon’s vampire and demon-infested world, Holder is truly a proven member of the Scooby gang.
The FBC staff was overjoyed to hear that Holder was interested in writing a piece for our uber-geeky website! With the upcoming release of her masterpiece, Buffy: The Making of a Slayer (a book that no Buffy collection will be complete without), this blessing was clearly a sign from The Powers That Be, and it is with great honor that we welcome Holder to our corner of Geekdom.
Without further adieu, let me wrap things up and let the master (Nancy, not you fruit-punch mouth!) take the stage. Thank you, Nancy, for taking the time to share your recollections of Sunnydale with our readers and, of course, for all that you’ve contributed to our beloved Buffy-verse!
– Bryant Dillon (a.k.a. The Comic Book Slayer) FBC President & Co-Founder
I’m not sure I have ever been able to describe the complete euphoria I felt when I was told that Chris Golden and I had the green light to write the first original BtVS novel, Halloween Rain. I really couldn’t believe that we had scored it. We had sent in a dozen ideas, and we had the green light to get started in less than forty-eight hours. The catch was that we only had three and a half weeks to write it, but we made it (there were office pool bets on, we learned later!) and since then, I’ve written dozens of projects set in the Buffy and Angel universes.
I think that first euphoria was matched when I went through the Mutant Enemy gates and stepped onto the high school set for the first time. I was on set long enough that people recognized me and made a point of saving “cool stuff” to show me. I made friends. It was all heady stuff, and when the show ended, I was afraid that my days with Buffy were over. I’m so glad I was so wrong.
The book producers, becker&meyer!, asked me if I’d be interested in working on Buffy: The Making of a Slayer. I’m betting that you’ve seen b&m! books before—they’ve done all kinds of pop culture titles—Pixar, Star Wars, Star Trek, Alien, Marvel, Darth Vader, Transformers, Edgar Allan Poe, and many, many more.
Our UK client is Titan, and we have also sold to France. Our American client is 47 North, an imprint of amazon.com. The UK version features the book itself, while Amazon decided to kick it up a bit. For them, b&m! repackaged the book into a faux leather “clamshell” and included a black pouch of “Slayer Lore” removables—facsimiles of props used in the show, from the Spell of Restoration (spoken by Willow to restore Angel’s soul) to a recreation of the Shadow Men zoetrope, Olivia’s sketch of The Gentlemen, and a page from a Watcher’s Diary that is pretty humorous if you sit down and read it.
As I got to work, I rewatched the series and all the commentaries. I sought out online interviews and read other people’s books and papers—receiving a lot of help from the Whedon Studies Association, of which I am a member. With the assurance that Joss had green lighted the book, I felt confident contacting some members of the cast and crew and asking them for photos and sketches from their Buffy days. I received more than a couple “It’s somewhere in the garage,” but people did their best to dig things out for me. Todd McIntosh, Carey Meyer, John Vulich, and Cynthia Bergstrom (makeup, production design, special makeup effects, and costume) sent us wonderful things no one has seen before. Jane Espenson, Amber Benson, and David Fury consented to interviews, and Jane really helped me with so much, including personally asking Joss if that is the back of David Boreanaz’s head in “The Freshman” (4×01).
Then, of course, Amber did me the enormous favor of writing the foreword. It was beautiful—no surprise there, as Amber is an amazing writer. I was thrilled to write the introduction to a book that she has a story in—Zombies versus Robots: Women on War. Her story is totally kickass!
Amber, Jane, and I see each other at various book festivals and pop-culture events. I’ll be signing the book with Amber at Dark Delicacies Bookstore on December 15th at 2 p.m. I’ve also stayed in touch with major fandom figures, and they were super helpful putting me in touch with other fans to interview on various topics, such as Buffy’s move from the WB to UPN.
I was recently asked if my impressions of Buffy have changed in the fifteen years after it went on the air. They have changed a lot. Watching all the episodes (and doubling if there were commentary tracks), it really hit me what a grand, sweeping narrative Buffy is. Joss has said that Dickens is his favorite author, and I could see that in the serialized story that he told. I hope I conveyed my deep admiration for his skill, and the love I still have—after all these years!—for Buffy.
– Nancy Holder
Nancy Holder and a number of Buffy alums (Amber Benson, Camden Toy, Todd McIntosh, and John Vulich) will be signing copies of Buffy: The Making of a Slayer on Saturday, December 15th, at 2 p.m. at Dark Delicacies Bookstore in Burbank, CA. In addition, fans are able to pre-order copies of the book on Amazon.com; the book will be released on Tuesday, December 11th.