James Christie, who lives in Glasgow, Great Britain, was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome ten years ago. He had been a law librarian in Glasgow. He started to watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer and said it was a “chink of light” in what he called a really dark time. He found himself interested in the character of Drusilla, who started in season two of Buffy in late 1997 as Spike’s girlfriend, but who soon developed into a more interesting character over the years on both Buffy and Angel, and in a Dark Horse comics mini-series. She’s recently returned in the latest issues of Angel and Faith. From his interview given to Chaplin Books, James explains why he was drawn to her…
"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 at work. 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."
The rest of the interview can be found here.
He soon wrote a novella called Drusilla’s Roses, and decided to send it to her. This lead to him deciding to travel 5000 miles to meet her. The book is about his journey, which also includes some of his e-mails with Landau. He also says it was a tough trip for him, but he was determined. Here’s an excerpt from his book, provided by Chaplin Books. This describes the last leg of his journey by bus from Las Vegas to Los Angeles…
"I always call it the last day. The day I made the crossing. I didn’t lead a wagon train or drive an overloaded jalopy. But I went the same way, crossing the Mojave to Los Angeles.
I woke up on time for the bus, broke my fast with free pancakes and coffee, and was quickly on my way. I remember the clear desert air, thin and cool, and breathing easy, as if it were yesterday, as I walked the 13 blocks back to the glitz and found my way to the Greyhound depot on South Main Street.
I’d long forgotten that I didn’t need to go into Central LA. I could take the bus direct to Hollywood. It set out a little later than I’d expected, so I walked back across South Main and found a Starbucks. There was no free Wi-Fi there. Apart from my pancakes and coffee, nothing was free in Las Vegas.
A hotel receptionist had explained that to me, too bored even to talk to me as soon as he realized I wasn’t going to be spending any money.
So I was still blind. Juliet-the-Notebook couldn’t talk to Juliet Landau. I wondered what was passing through her mind, turning on her computer and seeing nothing. I wondered what she would think of me if and when we met, and I had no answers.
Perhaps pilgrims on the mountain road to Calvary had felt the same way. I did not know, and the uncertainty, my inadequacy, twined deeper into my guts. What a fool I’d been to think I could do this. There was no future. I would be borne back into the past.
She had never let me down, though. That was the funny thing. Never a failure to respond. Sometimes no more than a happy face and a pair of initials. Other times bouncy and cheery, with exclamation marks galore. A kindness which had warmed me.
How very scared I was of everything, and in the end how very scared I was of her. This woman I knew, and did not know, and loved."
You can see the rest of this passage at this link.
Dear Miss Landau looks like a great book which gives some insight about one of millions of fans of the Buffyverse, and especially a fan of someone who might be considered a villain. But, as with many characters Joss Whedon has created, it‘s not all black and white. Heroes and villains all have a bit of “grey“in them, and that includes Drusilla. Christie did just that with Drusilla’s Roses and two other stories about her.
Dear Miss Landau will be released March 14th through Chaplin Books and several online sites including Amazon.