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

Tag: NB Dixon

Guest Post from N.B. Dixon: Heir of Locksley

 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.

heiroflocksley-nbd-f-web

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.

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Blurb

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.

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Excerpt

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.

“It’s nothing.”

“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!”

“Hold still.”

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.

“You should let Martha look at that. It may scar, but she is sure to have a salve that will help.”

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Buy links

Smashwords – https://­www.smashwords.com/­books/view/­666724?ref=b10track

All Romance eBooks –
https://­www.allromanceebooks.­com/­product-heiroflocksle­y-2098906-162.html

Amazon UK (Kindle) – http://amzn.to/­2cCroRV

Amazon.com (Kindle) – http://amzn.to/­2cketGd

Kobo

https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/heir-of-locksley

 Nook

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/heir-of-locksley-nb-dixon/1124654571?ean=2940153738987

 iTunes

https://­itunes.apple.com/gb/­book/­heir-of-locksley/­id1156182572

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Bio-

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.

Website

http://www.nbdixonauthor.com/

 Twitter

@NBDixonAuthor

 Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/NBDixonAuthor/?ref=bookmarks#

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Many thanks for visiting today.

Happy Robin Hood reading,

Jenny xx

 

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.

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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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