Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Tough chicks use bows and Arrows

By Courtney Sheets

I'm excited to be here with all of you today. Let's talk about heroes...ok let's talk about one hero...Robin Hood. My favorite. Next to Wonder Woman of course. 

For those of you who don’t know, The Hooded Man is a retelling of the Robin Hood myth. In my book we see Lady Marian coming to the forefront as a kick-ass heroine. In fact she is Robin Hood. The question I'm always asks about The Hooded Man is how did you come up with Marian becoming Robin. That's easy to answer!

The idea for making Robin Hood a female stems from my childhood. Seriously, I’m not kidding. I have 5 boys cousins and one baby brother so there was massive amounts of testosterone running around when I was a little girl. We played Super Heroes and Star Wars (I’m a child of the 70s and 80s…you know when Saturday cartoons were awesome) so finding a tough chick to play was easy but when we played Robin Hood I was always stuck being Maid Marian (Which meant I was stuck on my Grandma’s porch which served as dungeon and castle) Thus the idea for a female Robin Hood was born. It wasn’t until I was older that the idea began to form on paper into the book it is now. (I blame Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and my crush on Christian Slater)

Originally, I was going to write a screenplay version, with the hopes of Drew Barrymore playing Marian (I love me some Drew) but as I kept toying and writing and tweaking (and occasionally drinking) the book decided it wanted to be written instead.

In order to write about Robin Hood Legend and twist it up tighter then Christmas lights thrown in a box in the garage, I needed to educate myself about the legend and all it consisted. Luckily because I’m a little freaky when it comes to Robin Hood( ask my best friend, who has been forced on numerous occasions to watch the Douglas Fairbanks version with me) I had a pretty decent background before I started writing. I read everything I could get my hands on, e-mailed professors at the University of Nottingham in charge of the Robin Hood Studies department with odd questions, saw every movie ever created. My brain now oozes Robin Hood trivia. It’s kind of cool.

The hardest part was figuring out how to get a woman into the forest, dressed as a man, and give her the perfect love interest (after all this is one of the greatest loves stories of all time and a romance novel) I chose Will Scarlet as in the original gestes put him as a constant companion to our wandering hero. (Christian Slater again)

The other important factor was making sure the story was relatively true to the traditional legend. Many people claim themselves as experts in the myth (Just because you’ve seen a fox singing and dancing in the forest does not make you an expert in the legend but I digress) and I want those readers to step back after reading and feel the story was safe in my keeping. I wanted the book to have a feel of “this could be what really happened.” I want the reader to walk away satisfied with the romance and adventure and the story but also think “What if?” The what if is how I came up with the character and the what ifs are my favorite part of writing.

So there you go, how I came up with a female Robin Hood. I hope you all enjoy reading The Hooded Man as much as I enjoyed writing it. Be on the lookout all you Team Gisbourne girls, his son is about to make an appearance in the sequel I'm working on and Robin's daughter better watch out. 

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