Jenny Kane: Coffee, cupcakes, chocolate and contemporary fiction / Jennifer Ash: Medieval crime with hints of Ellis Peters and Robin Hood

Tag: Jenny Kane #KOTA

MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT: Robin of Sherwood…If I’d known then…

I have amazing news….but let’s start at the beginning of the story…

I’m sat in my corner in the café where I write every day. I have the radio on via my headphones. Bryan Adams is on. He’s singing the theme from the panto-esque Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.  It’s a song I have affection for, even if I don’t actually like it that much.

It was, for one thing, the tune that formed the soundtrack my ‘first dance’ after I got married. It was not the song my husband and I picked. It was, however, the song our best man thought such a devoted Robin Hood fan should have playing at such a moment in her life.

If I’d know then…

I first came across the 1980’s television series, Robin of Sherwood, when I was 14 years old. I had been absent from school for some time with one of those boring illnesses that aren’t even worth gracing with typing time, and I was bored out of my mind. My parents, being good folk, decided to surprise me by renting one of those new fangled video recorder things so I could watch television during the day (We’re obviously talking pre-day time TV, Channel 5, the Internet, mobile phones etc). The very first programme my Dad recorded for me to see was the ninth episode of the third series of Robin of Sherwood. An episode entitled, Adam Bell.

Adam Bell

I watched it seven times on the first day. Eight times the day after that. By the following Saturday, when it was time to settle down at exactly 5.35 pm to watch the next episode (The Pretender), I didn’t need to see the pictures that went with Adam Bell anymore. I knew the episode word for word. It was like audio to me by that point. I could see the images so clearly even with my eyes shut.

By the time seven days of non-stop Adam Bell watching had finished, I had also despatched my dad to the library to borrow everything he could find on Robin Hood and medieval outlaws in general.

The obsession had begun.

If I’d known then…

Robin Hood. Anything. Everything. The daft, the serious, the bizarre and the historically sound. I gobbed up all the information about the legend, and the history behind the legend, that I could. I watched every film, every programme. Everything.

My parents thought I’d grow out of it.

I didn’t grow out of it.

Fast forward 30 years.

One PhD on medieval crime, 200 story publications (long and short), a book selling session at the Hooded Man Event 2016, a trip to the Knight’s of the Apocalypse premiere to meet the RoS cast, and a genre diverse writing career later, and I’m sat at my computer- right now- listening to the aforementioned Bryan Adams while contemplating how incredibly lucky I am – because…

I HAVE BEEN ASKED TO WRITE AN AUDIO EPISODE OF ROBIN OF SHERWOOD!!!

ME!! Writing an audio script for Robin of Sherwood.

Not only that , but the gorgeous Judi Trott (Maid Marion for the uninitiated), has narrated it.

Photo credit: Kim Jones

My story is called The Waterford Boy. It features Robert of Huntingdon as Robin, and slots into the action after Knights of the Apocalypse. I won’t tell you anymore, because I don’t want to ruin the story.

Photo credit: Kim Jones

I could say it’s awesome. Unbelievable. Incredible. Mind blowing.

And it is. It’s all of those things. I’m certainly in a state of shock that out of all the possible stories submitted, mine were two of the lucky ones.

It is also humbling, a bit scary, and a huge responsibility. I’ve never written scripts before!

My 14 year old self doesn’t believe this is happening- I keep telling her it’s real. But she thinks I’m dreaming.

If I’d known then…

… when I was a messy haired, fashion hopeless, introverted teenager, that one day I’d be sat writing words for Judi Trott to say, or that I would have the power to make Will Scarlett mumble, “I’m gonna kill ‘im,” – I’d have thought the daydream had got out of hand and I’d read one storybook too many.

By some miracle though, the daydream came true. I really have just written words that involve the Sheriff giving Gisburne a hard time…oh, and Will Scarlett is in a foul mood…

Myself, and many others, have been working quietly on our episodes for months and months to try and get them perfect for you. A HUGE thank you to Barnaby Eaton-Jones and Iain Meadows for giving me this opportunity.

Can you imagine how hard it has been not telling anyone when all I wanted to do was shout yippee!?

Mind you…

I have a horror of letting the loyal RoS fan base, and the memory of the wonderful Richard Carpenter, down. All I can say is on that regard is that I promise I’ve done my best. That’s all I can do.

So? How do you order The Waterford Boy? Well – keep an eye on this link…it will be available soon!

https://www.spitefulpuppet.com/shopp.php

Jenny x

 

Interview with N.B. Dixon: Outlaws Legacy

Regular readers of this blog will know that I adore anything to do with Robin Hood. Recently, thanks to the rebirth of Robin of Sherwood (see my previous blogs), I have met many other writers who share my interest. I couple of days ago I was fortunate enough to interview the lovely N.B.Dixon, and question her about her own outlaw obsession, and how she is interpreting it for a modern audience.

So pull up a chair, rest those weary legs, and have a read.

coffee and cake

When did you first encounter Robin Hood as a character?

I had a free period one Friday afternoon and I was buried in a corner of the school library. I had been given two tapes, one was a straightforward narration of the Robin Hood legend, the other, as I’ve only recently discovered, was an audio-book adaptation of one of the episodes of the TV series, Robin of Sherwood. I don’t remember why the librarian gave me these tapes to listen to, whether I’d expressed an interest in Robin Hood, or whether it was just something she thought I would like.

I was a bookworm even in those days. However, my love of Robin Hood was born. It’s the only time I can ever remember being disappointed when I heard the school bell.

User comments

How much historical research have you done on the subject of Robin Hood?

I’ve done extensive research into the Robin Hood legend, trawling various websites in an effort to locate any real-life men who might have been the outlaw. Though there’s no proof Robin Hood ever existed, the parallels between the legend and certain real-life men are fascinating. I’ve also

done considerable research into the period of history in which the Robin Hood legend is set, namely, the reigns of Henry II and his sons, RichardI, known as the Lionheart, and his brother, Prince John. Richard and John have always figured the most prominently in the Robin Hood stories. I’ve

visited the places in which the Robin Hood legend is set, most memorably, Sherwood Forest, and I’ve also handled a longbow and been put in the stocks, all in the name of research.

What is your writing regime?

I tend to write in the morning, then break for lunch and write again in the afternoon. I take a longer break late afternoon and once dinner is over, I turn my attention to any editing I might have to do. More often than not I’m writing one book and editing another.

RH books 2

What excites you the most about your book?

The idea of adding to the Robin Hood legend excites me. There have been so many different interpretations of the story over the years. I wanted to find a balance between telling the legend people were familiar with, and placing my own stamp on it. For me, the most exciting thing about writing this series is the love interest for Robin. Outlaws Legacy is the story behind the legend of Robin Hood. It chronicles his life from his childhood onwards and tells the story beneath the surface legend we are all familiar with.

On the surface, many readers will be familiar with the story; a young nobleman loses his land, becomes an outlaw, meets a rich heiress etc. My Robin however has a secret, and this secret is that he is in fact in love with another man. I wanted to portray someone who, on the outside, was the people’s champion, confident, brave, all the things a hero should be, but beneath this facade was a man with his own doubts and troubles, a human being who would make mistakes and discover things about himself.

I’ve really enjoyed describing the romance as it has unfolded over the series. Currently, book 1, Heir of Locksley, is with my publisher and due for release late 2016/early 2017. I have just completed book 2 and there are still two more books to go in the series.

These books have challenged me in ways I could never have expected and I’m only halfway through. I can’t wait to see what else I will encounter on this journey.

Which is your favourite medieval outlaw apart from Robin Hood?

I think that would have to be Fulk FitzWarin. His story is similar to that of Robin Hood in that his lands are stolen from him and he fights to get them back. His story is a bit of a cross between Robin Hood and King Arthur as he fights just as many dragons and monsters as he does people.

Like Robin, his story also has a bittersweet ending as although he is able to reclaim what was stolen from him, he loses his site in the process as a punishment for the lives he has taken. I always found that story rather moving.

If you were stranded on a desert island with three other people, fictional or real, who would they be and why?

Robin Hood of course, since I’m sure his hunting skills would come in very handy. I’d pick Sherlock Holmes so that I could have intelligent conversation, and I’d choose Harry Potter so that if anything came along to threaten me, he could wave his magic wand and incapacitate it somehow.

Between the three of them, I think I’d be pretty safe.

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For more information on the Outlaws Legacy series, please visit

Welcome

Bio

I’ve made up stories since I was a child. I loved to take characters from my favourite books or television programs and make up stories about them or continue existing stories. In fact, if I had ever published them, I’d be in flagrant breach of copyright.

Away from all things literary, I am an enthusiastic theatre goer. I also play the piano for pleasure and I like to sing when I’m sure no one can hear me. I’m fond of cooking and long walks, and even now I’m still a self-confessed bookworm.

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Many thanks hun. Great ideas there- Do you buy the Richard I and Prince John era for Robin Hood’s ballads?

Good luck with your series.

Happy reading everyone,

Jenny xx

 

 

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