I love Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I've loved it since I was an angsty teen recording episodes on the VCR in my mom's basement. Buffy was my style icon and her broody, tortured relationship with Angel was everything I wanted in a boyfriend. Oh, and I loved how she kicked ass.
I've gotten (a lot) older since I was watching Buffy in my basement. But thanks to Netflix, I recently got to rewatch the entire series. My love for Buffy lives on, but the show resonated with me differently as an adult.
First of all, Buffy is still my style icon. But wow, her relationship with Angel is tired. Do you know what's actual fun? Having a boyfriend you can talk to. I also reconsidered the later seasons of the show, after Joyce dies and Buffy starts working at the Double Meat Palace to make ends meet. I thought it was so dark at the time. As an adult, it just seems like life. Sure, you need to save the world, but also you need to pay the mortgage and banks don't care about supernatural threats.
Joss Whedon said the original idea for Buffy came from turning a horror trope on its head. What if instead of the helpless young girl getting murdered in a dark alley, that girl was the one hunting monsters? The thing is, it would have to be a teenager. Because who else has the time to do nothing but fight evil? Also, who else would get told they were the Chosen One and be on board with that?
Buffy struggles to acclimatize to adulthood. Slaying takes up for much of her time and her development is stunted. Trying to balance Slayerhood with adult responsibilities provided the germ of an idea for my book, The World Between Worlds.
Cleo is in her mid-30s, a recently divorced single mom with a young son about to start school. She's picking up the pieces of her life when she's told that she too is gifted with special powers. Peacekeepers are found throughout the world, but they're usually identified at a younger age and brought to a training academy. Cleo is the oldest trainee they've ever hard and it is a constant source of tension for her and the Granville Group that she's unable to give herself over wholly to her duties.
I was also inspired by Principal Robin Wood, whose mother was a slayer who was killed by Spike.
I already worry enough about my kids. Imagine if you had to parent and also knew the world was filled with real monsters? Robin's mother died young and left her son behind to be raised by her Watcher. That's Cleo's nightmare. She doesn't want to get killed and leave her son behind.
Anyone who has a kid knows that the second that child is born, he or she becomes the most important thing in your life. But what if your other responsibilities include saving the world? What if Buffy had to fight the Master and then rush home to relieve the babysitter? These are the kinds of things I wrestle with in The World Between Worlds.