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From Fighting Fires to Writing Romance (The Self Publishing Show, episode 266)
Don’t miss this unique retelling of the Robin Hood legend!
A kingdom under assault.
A conspiracy born of anarchy.
A hero standing against tyranny.
Robin’s duty to his king sends him on an odyssey that will unfold from the streets of Paris to the banks of the Danube. From incredible triumphs on the battlefields of the Crusade, to harrowing sea voyages, to a desperate dash across the frozen landscape of Central Europe, Robin Hood must ensure that King Richard safely returns to England.
Meanwhile, the outlaws of Sherwood Forest rise again under a new leader—and she is unwavering in her pursuit of justice against the tyranny of Sheriff de Argentan. Marian endures the heartbreak of widowhood only to find strength and purpose as she leads a small band of devoted men in her quest for vengeance while she protects Robin’s legacy.
Sir Guy of Gisborne, tormented by his conscience and enslaved by the sheriff, faces the wraith-like fury of the woman he once loved. How do you find forgiveness when you have committed an unforgivable crime? He must attempt a daunting journey of redemption, while finding inspiration from an unexpected source.
And through it all, Robin, Marian, and Guy are entangled in a web of treachery spun by the King of France and his sinister advisor, Montlhéry, as the plot to dismantle the Angevin Empire and take the throne of England from the Plantagenets boldly continues.
Part two of an exciting three-part retelling of the Robin Hood legend!
Although the books in the trilogy are not stand-alone, they do not end in cliffhangers.
Robin Hood has been featured in many books, movies, and television shows. How is your trilogy different?
In our first book, Robin Hood’s Dawn, we re-imagined the origins of the Robin Hood legend, which included exploring his family dynamics: an aloof, selfish father and a kind-hearted mother devoted to ministering to the poor. One theme is how the consequences of immoral actions and secret sins can reverberate across generations. This is part of Robin’s legacy from his father.
We cast Robin as a hero fighting against the tyranny of a lawless government official. When Robin is falsely accused of a shocking crime by the new Sheriff of Nottingham, he could have retreated to a safe place beyond the reach of the sheriff. However, he feels a responsibility to the people because he believes in the intrinsic value of every human being. Instead of running away, he stays to protect the people from the sheriff. And this points to another theme: one person can make a difference by taking a stand for what is right.
The second book, Robin Hood’s Widow, picks up where the first book ends. Robin is alive and still with King Richard in the Holy Land, but Marian, the sheriff, and Guy of Gisborne have returned to England thinking that Robin Hood is dead.
Robin Hood’s Widow explores themes of grief and redemption, while featuring Marian’s adventures as leader of the outlaws. Her story is interwoven with Robin’s quest to return home while fulfilling his obligations to King Richard.
In this book, we wanted to explore both the stages of grief and their non-linear nature. Experiencing loss and grief is not like climbing stairs; you don’t complete one stage, progress to the next, and eventually arrive at acceptance. The emotional turmoil of an earlier stage can reappear and reassert itself during the process.
That being said, this story is not sad or depressing; Robin Hood’s Widow is an optimistic tale of triumphing over adversity.
You’ve emphasized how your Robin Hood story has been re-imagined. Will fans of the traditional ballads still recognize this as a Robin Hood story?
There is a lot of variety in the many books and screen adaptations of the Robin Hood legend. We wanted to create a story that was respectful towards fans of the original ballads and legends without adhering to the same story lines that have been previously written. We hope that all Robin Hood fans will enjoy this fresh retelling of the story.
However, we felt that Marian is a character who deserves more attention. All too often she is a background character with little to do. With this in mind, we have focused on creating a Lady Marian who will figure more prominently in the story, especially in Robin Hood’s Widow, where she takes center stage as the leader of the outlaws. She must learn how to lead while finding clever ways to thwart the sheriff and rob those supporters of Prince John who dare enter Sherwood Forest. We also wanted Marian to be feminine and believable as a woman of the 12th century.
Do the first two books of the trilogy end in cliff-hangers? Are the books stand alone?
We have structured the trilogy so that the books do not end in cliff-hangers, and we have endeavored to create a sense of completion in each of the books.
Although we want readers to start with Robin Hood’s Dawn, we know that some might be more interested in Robin Hood’s Widow. Therefore, we have endeavored to provide enough information in the second book so that a new reader will not be lost.
Both Robin and Marian are guarding secrets that will be revealed in Robin Hood’s Widow!
How did you become interested in writing this story and working together as co-authors?
The story of Robin Hood’s Widow is very special to me, and I wrote the original version after I experienced a devastating personal loss. Readers might be surprised to learn that Robin Hood’s Widow was written before Robin Hood’s Dawn!
I love to tell stories with multi-dimensional characters. I am multi-lingual, and I enjoy writing stories in different languages. My first novel is an English-language alternate history featuring Anne Boleyn.
I met Coleen (J.C.) on the Internet, and we decided to co-author a Robin Hood Trilogy with Robin Hood’s Widow as its centerpiece.
So, you’ve never met, you come from different countries, different cultures, and speak different languages. How can you co-author a book? Is it because you have similar writing styles?
Fortunately, Olivia is fluent in English, because that’s the only language I know!
We have found that we have a lot in common—especially our love of writing and of history. We have to work hard to merge our writing styles, but we have successfully done this.
That’s true. Olivia and I have very different “voices” and writing styles. You might even say they are nearly opposite styles.
I write in a straightforward, expository style, with a minimum of descriptive elements and metaphorical flourishes. I am good at explaining things, organizing ideas, and creating natural sounding dialogue.
My writing is characterized by lush romanticism and passionate lyricism. I love to create metaphors and descriptions which excite the imagination of the reader in a vivid and dramatic way.
In some respects, Olivia’s words are the emotional heart of the story, and my words represent the rational intellect. Of course, it’s not quite that cut-and-dried, but it is one way to describe how two people with such different styles have come together to create Robin Hood’s Dawn and Robin Hood’s Widow.
Below are the author biographies and social media profiles.
Olivia has always loved literature and fiction, and she is passionate about historical research, genealogy, and the arts. She has several degrees in finance & general management from London Business School (LBS) and other universities. At present, she helps her father run the family business.
During her first trip to France at the age of ten, Olivia had a life-changing epiphany when she visited the magnificent Château de Fontainebleau and toured its library. This truly transformed her life as she realized her passion for books and writing, foreshadowing her future career as a writer. In childhood, she began writing stories and poems in different languages. Loving writing more than anything else in her life, Olivia has resolved to devote her life to creating historical fiction novels. She has a special interest in the history of France and England.
Having met on the Internet, Olivia and J. C. Plummer, a writer and historian, decided to co-author The Robin Hood Trilogy. Olivia and J. C. are retelling the Robin Hood story with an unusual and imaginative plot that is solidly grounded in 12th century history. The trilogy incorporates twists and turns which will captivate and entertain readers.
Personal website: Olivialongueville.com
Project website: www.angevinworld.com
Facebook: Olivia Longueville
J.C. Plummer (Jennie Coleen) graduated Summa Cum Laude from Washburn University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Anthropology. She later earned a Master of Science degree in Computer Information Science from Dartmouth College.
Co-authoring The Robin Hood Trilogy has merged J.C.’s passions for history, culture, and technology into one unique, exciting project.
As an author and historian, J.C.’s goal is to provide thoughtful and entertaining storytelling that honors the past, is mindful of the present, and is optimistic for the future.
Project website: www.angevinworld.com
Facebook: Jennie Newbrand
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