Today I’m delighted to welcome a fellow Robin Hood fan to my site. Please welcome N.B. Dixon, who has come along for a cuppa and a chat about her latest Robin Hood story, The Heir of Locksley; which forms part of her Outlaw’s Legacy series.
I’ve been fascinated by the character of Robin Hood for most of my life. When I decided to write a series of my own in 2013, there were two things which particularly interested me.
One was that, no matter how much the story of Robin Hood has varied over the centuries, one thing that never changes is the Love Robin has for his men, and the love they have for him. I will admit, that captured my imagination far more than Robin’s relationship with Marion. The idea of having a hero who also had a secret, aside to him he was unwilling to let people know about, grabbed my imagination. The contrast of having a man living in medieval England and struggling with the often barbaric lifestyle of the time, compared with the modern struggle men are going through today of coming to terms with their own sexuality, was a strong lure for me. Given the fact that Robin and his men depend on each other completely for their own survival, and live together in a closed, secret community, a relationship between Robin and another man did not require a great leap of the imagination.
I then had the problem of Marian. Marian does not in fact enter the Robin Hood story until much later. She is not in the earliest ballads and tales. It’s not in fact until more modern tellings of the story that she begins to acquire more of a role than simply Robin’s love interest. Her character has never particularly jumped out at me. However, I was reluctant to leave her out. I then began exploring the different possibilities for a relationship between Robin and Marian. It could never be straightforward. It was then I had the idea of making Robin bisexual rather than gay. Why not have him try to pursue a relationship or perhaps more than one with women in an effort to hide his own secret preference? After all, it’s what many men of his time would have had to do. In England, homosexuality was shunned and sometimes worse. Depending on the decree of the church, men could look forward to hanging, burning or castration. This was practised more abroad, but it would still not have been something a man would have been keen to parade. Many of them would have married and had children and suppressed that part of their nature. So my idea for the Outlaw’s Legacy Series was born.
The second thing that intrigued me about the Robin Hood legend was how little we know about the outlaw before and after he took to the Forest. With this in mind, I decided to write a series about his life, following him through his childhood, through his crusading and outlaw days and beyond. It’s been an ambitious undertaking and a real labour of love. I only hope my readers will come to love Robin and my take on his story as much as I do.
Robin of Locksley is a rebel, more comfortable roaming Sherwood Forest with his longbow and courting the village girls than learning how to run a manor.
An innocent flirtation with a peasant girl soon lands Robin in trouble, and worse, he finds himself inexplicably attracted to Will Scathelock, his best friend since childhood. Robin must decide whether to follow the rules of society or his own conscience.
Meanwhile, his neighbour, Guy of Gisborne, is anxious to get his hands on the Locksley estate and he will do anything to make it happen—even murder.
Robin found Will in the stable’s polishing tack.
“Your face is bleeding.”
Will swiped at his cheek with a sleeve. A long gash ran down from just below his eye to the edge of his jaw.
“What do you mean, ‘it’s nothing’? Who did this to you?”
Will glowered at him. “What do you care? You’ve been out courting your lass while I’ve been here taking abuse just like a good little serf.”
Robin was horrified. “My father did this?”
“Guy’s sister. She was here looking for you. Got all cross, she did, when I wouldn’t tell her where you were. She had a riding crop and she used it.”
“I see.” Robin realised his fists were clenched. He wished Katrina was here right now. He would like to have paid her back in kind, but he could hardly hit a girl. Katrina was as bad as her brother. She would never have dared to strike Will if he’d been there. “I’ll speak to her.”
Will shrugged. “Serfs like me are just dogs to the likes of her. You nobles are all the same.”
It was what Peter had said.
“That is not true and you know it.”
“Do I? Tell me, My Lord, what am I to say to His Lordship when you go sneaking off tomorrow? He’s also come asking questions. He mentioned something about the stocks if I didn’t tell him where you’d gone.”
Robin scraped fingers through his hair. “You’re right. This isn’t a game. I should never have involved you. Let me look at that cut.”
“It’s not that bad—” Will began, but Robin held up a silencing finger. Without a word, Will subsided onto a stool. Robin went to fetch a clean rag and dipped it in a bucket of water pulled fresh from the well. Crouching at Will’s side, he reached up and touched the cold compress to Will’s face.
“Damn, that hurts!”
The cut was a nasty one. As gently as he could, Robin stroked the rag down Will’s cheek, wiping away the trickling blood. His skin was warm and slightly rough with stubble. Robin’s heart gave an unsteady lurch. He cleared his throat, which had gone suddenly dry, and searched for something to say. “I met Sir Richard on the way home. It seems my father was worried and asked him to find me.”
Will swore, though that might have been due to Robin’s ministrations.
“It’s all right. He said he would keep silent. I trust him. The next time my father asks where I am, don’t lie on my account.”
“I could tell him you’re off drinking at the Blue Boar,” Will suggested. “He’d like that a good deal better than the truth, I reckon.”
“Let me deal with him. You don’t need any more injuries.”
Will’s face softened. He leaned a little into Robin’s hand. Their eyes met and held. They stayed like that for a few seconds, neither moving, neither looking away. Robin had never noticed before how long Will’s eyelashes were. They were a shade darker than his hair, as were his eyebrows. His lips curved in a slight smile, and Robin’s heart did that odd, painful lurch again.
“You know I’ll help if I can,” Will said. “What’s a couple of rotten vegetables between friends?”
Robin tore his gaze away with an effort. The strength of his reaction surprised and unsettled him. Abruptly, he got to his feet, tossing the bloody rag aside.
Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/666724?ref=b10track
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Amazon UK (Kindle) – http://amzn.to/2cCroRV
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N.B. Dixon is an author of historical fiction. Her love for the Robin Hood legend began in a neglected corner of the school library and has continued ever since. She is a self-confessed bookworm and also a musician.
She began work on the Outlaws Legacy Series in 2013, and was accepted by Beaten Track Publishing in 2016. Outlaws Legacy is a historical series based around the Robin Hood legend. The author describes it as Exciting Historical Adventure with GLBT romance. Book 1, Heir of Locksley, will be released in paperback and ebook on December 1 2016.
Many thanks for visiting today.
Happy Robin Hood reading,