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Amber BensonAmber Benson makes two San Francisco appearances this weekend
Saturday 23 October 2010, by Webmaster
Amber Benson wants to give you sorbet.
OK, not exactly. But the author-actor-director describes her latest novel, "Among the Ghosts," as a palette cleanser.
"I wanted to put a little sorbet in between courses," Benson says, "and that was ’Among the Ghosts.’ It was just a thing that I’d had an idea for, and I wanted to do it between the more adult books."
Benson, who many know for her three-year stint as Tara on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," is in the middle of her Calliope Reaper-Jones series. She just turned in the third novel to her publisher but wanted to write "Among the Ghosts" as a stand-alone children’s book.
"When you’re a kid, your imagination’s so alive," she says. "I wanted to create a book that was about imagination, that was about going back to that world where anything is possible as a child."
"Among the Ghosts" is the story of Noh, an 11-year-old girl who encounters a group of friendly spirits at her new boarding school. But there’s a big evil trying to get rid of Noh’s ghostly companions.
While the book is intended for young audiences, Benson says it need not be limited to middle-grade readers.
"I think any good literature, whether it’s for children or for adults, will appeal to everybody," she says. "As far as children’s literature goes, adults should be able to read it and enjoy it as much as a child would."
Besides, ghosts are popular with all ages. They may not be as in vogue as vampires and zombies, but they’re a permanent fixture in fantasy and horror. Benson views them as the most relatable of supernatural beings.
"They’re an extension of us," she says. "Their interests and what they want are very much like what we want. You can kind of explore human things with them in a way that you can’t with vampires."
Rest assured, Benson isn’t a total vampire hater - and she doesn’t shy away from her "Buffy" past. At the same time, she’s glad to be known as more than just Tara Maclay.
"I think people are starting to think of me less as an actor and more as a writer," Benson says. "People still come to signings with ’Buffy’ stuff, and I enjoy signing it and talking about it, but more and more people are asking me questions about the books."
Luckily, she doesn’t need to choose between the two: Benson continues to write and act. She’s also a director - her film "Drones," which she co-directed with boyfriend and "Buffy" co-star Adam Busch, will be released next month.
"The acting is something that will always be a part of my life, but the writing gives me a lot more creative freedom," Benson says. "You’re a pawn in somebody else’s chess game, whereas as a writer and as a director, you get to call the shots. And that’s very thrilling."