Author has written 2 stories for Buffy: The Vampire Slayer.
First of all, I don't know where to put my disclaimer so I will just say, for and on the record, that copyright to any and all characters in Buffy or Angel resides solely and irrevocably with Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy and/or Warner Bros, not with me. I will not make any money from my story or stories, and that's all there is to it, now and forever.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy Drusilla's Roses and Drusilla's Redemption and, with trepidation, ask for your reviews, bearing in mind that the version you can see is not italicised or arranged exactly as I would like! I'm not an IT wizard. I am, however, a 54-year-old Scottish ex-librarian, not altogether unlike Giles, long a fan of Buffy but nowadays under the thrall of Drusilla, whom I found to be bewitching, vulnerable but sadly underdeveloped.
I always wanted to know what happened to her after Spike dumped her (literally on the ground), and secondarily, what might have happened to Buffy & Co. right after Chosen. Drusilla's Redemption is probably the only story in existence which properly develops and redeems Drusilla. Drusilla Revenant, the last part of the trilogy, contains an astonishing twist and is being held back at least until Dear Miss Landau, my non-fiction novel about the real-life tale related to the trilogy, was published in March 2012 by Chaplin Books (www.chaplinbooks.co.uk). I have also completed the standalone Spike & Dru tale, Spike & Dru : the Graveyard of Empires, which, it seems, brings my quartet to a close.
In addition, Dear Miss Landau is now being turned into a stage musical (dearmisslandaumusical.com) and I have become a blogger for the Huffington Post (UK). One of my articles (The New Buffy Movie, Really) details how a new Buffy-related movie could be made.
Please also read the written interview with me on Chaplin Books website (I'll add the draft version below), and if anyone wants to see the original, properly italicised versions of Roses and Redemption, please contact me.
Here is the draft interview:
1) How did you first get interested in Buffy the Vampire Slayer?
“Without giving too much of Dear Miss Landau (DML) away, let’s just say that Buffy’stales of knights, demons, redemption and quests, relocated from the green and pleasant fields of King Arthur’s England and Hammer Films’ Transylvania to the stucco and adobe-adorned small town streets of Sunnydale struck a deep and abiding chord with me. The “all for one and one for all” camaraderie of the Scoobies was a badly-needed contrast to some of the nasty sides of human nature I was seeing at the time. Buffy really was a chink of light during a very dark time, and did lead to a real-life quest.”
2) What appealed to you about the character of Drusilla in particular?
“The absolute truth about my relationship with Drusilla is reserved for DML, but I will say that despite being an insane demonic killer, underneath the mask of the vampire was a shy, sweet girl who was a lot more pleasant than the racist xenophobes myself and a black colleague had been putting up with.
“In a word, the demon was kinder than the human, and I loved her dearly for it.
“As people with autism are generally not that empathic, I would say that my abnormally strong emotional connection with my dear old Dru is worth some academic study.”
3) You went on to write a trilogy of novellas about Drusilla. Is this when you first made contact with Juliet Landau?
“DML will detail the stops along the way to Sunset Boulevard, but when I began to write Drusilla’s Roses, the first tale of the trilogy, I basically went on a complete creative bender. I wrote, I would say, not a story about Dru, but the story which should have been written for her at the time of Buffy but wasn’t.
“In my opinion, the character of Drusilla had not been developed as fully as the other members of her vampire family – Spike, Angel and Darla – had been. It was as if Dru herself chose me to finish the job. I know how strange that sounds, but that’s how it felt at the time. There are any number of technically proficient writers around, but she needed someone who also loved her passionately, with all his heart and soul, and would fight to the last drop of his blood to bring her back.
“She needed her noble knight, and she found him.
“Then, when it was all over, there was nothing else I could do except put Dru in the care of her creator. So I sent Drusilla’s Roses to Hollywood, to an actress I did not know, whose middle name was Rose…”
4) You travelled alone across the US to meet her: what aspects of this did you, as an autistic man, find most difficult?
“You’d think the tale behind my last answer would be extraordinary enough for one lifetime, but yes, despite being tired, damaged, middle-aged and autistic, I broke with my routines and travelled alone across America.
“I am high functioning and I had done it before, but that had been twenty years earlier; and there’s many a man who remembers the days of his youth and dreams he may return to them, but knows deep down they’re gone for good.
“I mentioned quests before, and every grating moment I ground through the bureaucracy, the grudging return to shared dorms in backpacker hostels, the long roads across the US and the crossing of the Mojave, the image of my lady was ahead of me.
“Drusilla was my guide along the way, but Juliet was my muse.
“No great experience comes without hardship, and any man who embarks on such a road must be willing to fight to the last drop of his blood.
“And I told her, not long after, that I’d do it all again in a moment, even if I had to walk.”
5) What was the best moment of your trip?
“The original aim of the trip was to see the Californian locations I’d used for Drusilla’s Roses – Point Lobos and the house on Candlewood Drive – but in the end it was all for my dear Miss Landau.
“The best moment? Each and every time I saw her was the best moment.”
6) When were you first diagnosed as autistic?
7) What strengths do you think Autists possess that ‘ordinary’ people don’t have?
“It is an irony of the modern world that the greatest achievements are often only achieved after fifteen to twenty years of focused work, and often only by the minority who can achieve such focus. In general, the majority of ordinary neurologically-typical people (known as neuro-typicals) tend to be less focused and more prone to multi-tasking than the minority of people with autism. The majority of people are therefore (and I do stress that this is a huge generalisation) less likely to achieve exceptional results in a single area of study. With my “Asperger focus” (the name for the intense focus Autists canbring to bear on a single subject) helping me to develop my writing ability, it was perhaps more easy for me to reach the level I did than it would have been for a neuro-typical.”
8) Have you always been interested in writing?
“Writing has always been my best asset, but I’m not always interested in it. I also like girls. Especially shy vampire brunettes. The latent ability, however, was always there. I won a Daily Expressshort story competition in my early teens, won College Colours as a result of something interesting I did in my creative writing course, and edited the script for a film which won Glasgow University’s 1993 MacTaggart Prize. Then – after fifteen years trying to write the Great Scottish Novel – came Dru.”
9) Do you have a writing routine?
“I ought to stress to every young writer that they should be focused, diligent and practice every day; and that it is 95% perspiration and 5% inspiration. All of this is true, but I’ve grown increasingly tired of literary pretension, jargon and writers’ groups over the years.
“Granted, my creative writing tutor was a great man, and I did do my twenty years’ apprenticeship, but I broke every rule in the book writing Drusilla’s Roses while Dru looked happily over my shoulder. I had no plan, did not do that many drafts, and most of the time had no idea what I was going to do next. The primal beast got out, it was like Rocky Balboa going after Ivan Drago, and it was the greatest creative experience of my life.”
10) What’s your next project?
“Well, my story gets even more incredible. After I finished Drusilla’s Roses, Dru refused to allow herself to be pensioned off, so I then wrote Drusilla’s Redemption and Drusilla Revenant.
“Roses and Redemption are in Drusilla’s section of the Buffy writers’ guild web site, Charm School version: lessons in etiquette, but Drusilla Revenant has never been seen.
“This is because I think I found an unfinished story arc from the original TV series and, as well as incorporating Juliet Landau’s two-part Drusilla tale from Angel24-25, Drusilla Revenant developed this arc and ends with an unbelievable twist which may well change fan perceptions of the Buffyverse.
“I also gave Dru a happy ending. I thought this time I’d finally managed to pension the old girl off, but yet again she found her way back. So once DML is finished I intend to write the fourth part of the trilogy, in which Spike and Dru go back into action again…
“There is a possibility the trilogy may be published and, at the risk of tilting recklessly at windmills, I think it (or elements from it) would be a better plot for the new Buffymovie than the current script which (due to a contractual stipulation) will probably just send the Slayer back to high school, without most of the beloved characters from the TV series.
“On a different tack, Dear Miss Landau was first conceived as a film as I was walking down the hill from Candlewood Drive. There is plot, theme, location and spectacle galore. Imagine Rain Man meeting Notting Hill via 84 Charing Cross Road, punctuated by a poetic set of articles written while I was going across the US, running for L.A. to meet the best and most beautiful gal in all the world one Sunday morning in March, on a boulevard west of Sunset…
“Any film producers out there listening?”
James A. F. Christie