It's been about four years since Amber Benson, aka Tara on Buffy, visited the Sacramento area. Back then, she was talking about her time on Buffy and a new movie she made called Chance.
Last Sunday, she talked about that, along with her first book, "Death's Daughter" at Borders in Roseville. Her appearance drew a good crowd of Buffy and Whedon fans. She started by reading a passage from the book, which recalls Calliope Reaper-Jones' first visit to Hell, and her conversations with someone tied to a tree. The book is about a girl who discovers that she is the daughter of Death, and has to fulfill her birthright.
She credited her old writing collaborator Christopher Golden as a main reason why she decided to write the book. "I feel like I went to the Christopher Golden School of Creative Writing," she says. " I don't think this book would be if I hadn't met Chris. I really wanted to do something on my own, and this is what came into my head."
She also talked about another difficult part of the process: the perfect book cover. She said she didn't have much of an impact, but they had discussions about the color of the cover, and how the title character looked. "I always sort of saw Calliope looking like Zooey Deschanel," she says...although that could be a possibility if a movie is ever made.
Benson originally saw Death's Daughter as one book, but later decided to make it a trilogy.
She also calls it a homage to the Divine Comedy. "Maybe Dante would be writing chick-lit if he were around now." While the major story arc will cover three books, she says the possibility of a fourth book will be there.
She also talked about Drones, an office comedy with alien overtures. She and Adam Busch are putting the finishing touches on the movie. Johnathan Woodward will also be part of the movie. She also talked about her experiences with Chance, with James Marsters, and had lots of good things to say about him. (By the way, he is from Modesto, just south of Sacramento.)
With movies and books and web series, it's almost like she's trying to be just like Joss Whedon, who's doing everything from comics to award-winning internet musicals. She admits he's been an influence. "He's an empire," he says, "and it's amazing, like to work with him for three years and to see like him do all this stuff. I just learned so much."
She also talked about what has happened in her book tour. The day before, in San Francisco, she had problems with her contacts. However, when she started reading, she had to read with one eye because she forgot she had one lens missing. Still, she got through it just fine. She was also at ConDor, a convention in San Diego, but could only attend the first day before most of the attendees arrive.
Later, they asked her to do live commentary for "Family." "The woman who was doing it, I don't think she knew Buffy that well, because she put on the wrong episode. We literally watched half of it, and I'm not in it at all." Later, they got the right one, and she got to talk about working with Oscar nominee Amy Adams, who played Cousin Beth.
She also had great stories about Joss, including one interesting tidbit: "When Joss was prepping Firefly, he came over to me and said 'I've written this pilot and I based one of the characters on you. Inara, I based her on you.' I read it and I was like, 'oh, so I'm a prostitute?'
That drew a big laugh from the crowd, but she admitted that "I think it was more like she was very bright, and was very sweet and nice". So, although Amber was surprised to be the inspiration of Inara, " I thought that was kind of cool that some of her is a little bit of me".
She also talked about an interesting discussion by some book editors at the New York Comic-Con, and she really did say that they were discussing werewolf sex: "They're like talking about werewolf sex, and how you can't have like a human werewolf and a werewolf werewolf (?) getting it on because ut's another type of book." Sounds like Twilight gone horribly wrong to me, but it really puzzled her.
Afterwards, she signed copies of her book and posed for pictures.