What do actors do when a show they have been on ends? Amber Benson, former star of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, decided to write. Benson hasn’t strayed far from the fantasy genre and has written several books with suspenseful plots set in urban fantasy. Benson has turned her hand to a new series called Witches of Echo Park, which she happily described to interviewer Whitney Grace.
Whitney Grace (WG): Would you please tell me about your new book series and why you wrote it?
Amber Benson (AB): It’s called The Witches of Echo Park and I wrote it because I wanted to write about women. Growing up, I was a tomboy and all my friends were dudes with a few chick friends. In my thirties it flipped and I found this society of women. I have a writing group that is all chicks and one dude. Then I have my neighborhood friends the AHLA, Angelina Heights Ladies Association, and we get together, have dinner, shoot the shit, and we have each other’s backs. It’s kind of like a little therapy session every time we get together. I wanted to write about those relationships and how important they are to me and why you need those friendship. I also wanted to write something that would pass the Bechdel Test quite frankly. That was sort of the impetus of writing The Witches of Echo Park, I wanted to give a mash note to the women in my life that have made me who I am.
WG: How does the supernatural element fit in?
AB: I thought what better way to talk about women than their relationships with each other than to set it up in an urban fantasy environment, where they are part of a coven of witches and they are forced to deal with each other in a very intimate level. That is where the supernatural aspects come in. I didn’t want it to be, “Oh they’re doing magic.” I wanted it to be more about, “OH MAGIC!” I didn’t want it to be about wands and spells, I wanted it to be more along the lines of what is magic and is it real, is it not real, when someone has a feeling about something is it a coincidence, or is there some sort of intuitive Jungian collective conscious that we are tapping into? All of this stuff is intriguing to me and I wanted to write about that. It was also the impetus of why I chose witches, their magic is very Earth based, and it’s in the book. I was like so, someone with a talent for plants, they’re an herbalist, is that magic or just someone’s innate talent? I wanted to discuss and delve into that.
WG: Do you have anything to declare?
AB: I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore.