Last summer at San Diego Comic Con, I attended a panel called “The Buffy Effect,” where a group of young adult authors, including Rebel Belle author Rachel Hawkins, discussed how the show influenced the teen heroines in their novels. It was a great discussion, and for today’s Lady Renegades Blog Tour stop, I asked Rachel Hawkins to dive in a bit more on how pop culture has influenced her writing, in particular the Rebel Belle series.
By Rachel Hawkins:
As a massive consumer of pop culture, I know all kinds of things make their way into my “Writer DNA.” There are bits of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series in my Hex Hall books, as well as some nods to Harry Potter and also, bizarrely, a soap opera I used to like. The Rebel Belle series definitely owes a debt to Buffy (a girly girl who kicks butt? YES, PLEASE), but also to Gossip Girl, the CW reboot of Nikita, and the movie Rebel Without a Cause. (David’s last name- Stark- is a tribute to James Dean’s Jim Stark in that movie.) One of the things I find most interesting about being a writer is the kind of magpie nature of all our brains. We’re always picking up things we like and storing them away for future use, but usually in kind of weird ways. See again, RE: Rebel Belle having both Buffy and James Dean in its DNA. ;)
One of the most fun things for me with the Rebel Belle series was the idea of playing with the “Chosen One” narrative, something I think Buffy the Vampire Slayer handles really well. One of my favorite elements of that show was how good it was at showing Buffy’s vulnerability, that she wasn’t just a vampire-killing machine. I’ve always loved the bit from the episode where Angel has gone evil, and Buffy, in her slayer capacity, is handling it and issuing orders and leading the group. But then, after that, she goes to her bedroom, lies down on her bed, and cries her heart out. It was such a powerful juxtaposition- that she was both The Slayer, and also a girl who’d just had her heart broken- and definitely an image I carried with me writing my own Chosen One. Harper is forced to make decisions as a Paladin that conflict with the what she might want as a person, and that’s always a fun struggle to deal with. I think that is one of the most interesting parts of talking about “influence” when it comes to writing, the things we might pick up. Sometimes it’s a plot twist we want to adapt, sometimes it’s a character we think we can do better with. And sometimes it’s just a sort of feeling we want to capture.
The Lady Renegades Blog Tour continues on Monday 4/18 at The Midnight Garden.