Amber Benson will do the Macarena on YouTube if she gets 85 reviews on www.Amazon.com of her new book, Death’s Daughter. At least that’s what she told a crowd of 75 people at the Santa Monica library on May 16, smiling and laughing at herself all the while. “You can’t just say, ‘Hey, do a review,’ you have to cheat and embarrass yourself in public,” she quipped. Benson landed a large audience of admirers when she played the role of Tara Maclay on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Now, she’s busy launching the first book in a trilogy of urban fantasy novels geared toward female audiences. Guys, I promise, you’ll like it too. The spirit of Benson’s talk and subsequent book signing can be summed up in her playful vow to dance for her art. The teen idol’s funny, sometimes awkward demeanor endeared her to the crowd, which seemed to be peppered with already won-over Buffy fans. The Buffy fan factor was elevated by the presence of Tom Lenk, another former member of the show’s young, beautiful cast. Lenk interviewed Benson about the book, her writing life and her acting career. No stranger to the craft of writing, Benson has already won acclaim for her Ghosts of Albion series, which she co-wrote with Christopher Golden, noted author of the Hellboy novels. A fantasy fan at heart, Benson’s new novel introduces Calliope Reaper-Jones, a seemingly normal girl, who has dark secrets to conquer. Our heroine chooses to leave the family business behind and pursue a career in fashion, but soon finds herself in a dead end job. And guess what? That lame job doesn’t last long. When Callie’s family is put in harm’s way, she uses her inherent powers to go on a hero’s journey full of save-the-day stunts. In talking about the book, Benson said she had to do more research on the fashion world than the fantasy world. “I knew more about myth and religion than I knew about clothes,” Benson said. “Much of my research was finding out things like, ‘What do you buy at Barney’s?’”It was fun to see Benson’s exceedingly smart side shine through, a refreshing reminder us that she’s not just another pretty face. Following the publication of Death’s Daughter, Benson’s children’s book for Simon and Schuster, The New Newbridge Academy, will be released in late 2009. She has also written, produced and directed three feature films, including her latest, Drones, which she co-directed with Adam Busch, Warren Meers on Buffy. The film will be released later this year.“I enjoy writing kids stuff more than adult stuff,” Benson said. “Writing in that world is so great because there’s innocence there.”Not solely a fan of child’s wordplay, Benson said she would eventually like to pen a more literary tome. “I’d like to write real literature, like Hemingway or Dostoyevsky; something very meaningful and powerful,” Benson said. “But that’s just something I aspire to, I don’t know if I’ll every really do it. You write what you write, and you always want what you don’t have.” If you want to buy the book, visit www.amazon.com. And don’t forget to write a review so we can see if Benson really has those aforementioned dance skills.
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