So I had this scheduled to post a while ago, but then WordPress ate it. Or possibly gremlins, since they like to do that sort of thing. Anyways, here is the interview I promised you with Laura Strickland, author of Daughter of Sherwood, first in the The Guardians of Sherwood Trilogy. You can read my review of the book here.
Laura Strickland’s new historical romance book Daughter of Sherwood, published by The Wild Rose Press, was released on November 1, 2013.
Raised as a scullery maid in Nottingham Castle, Wren has no idea she is the daughter of the legendary Robin Hood. When she is forced to defend herself against the unwanted advances of an influential man, she flees the castle and finds refuge in Sherwood Forest. It is then she learns a powerful secret: she has a destiny as a guardian of Sherwood, charged with the responsibility of defending its ancient magic. Since Robin’s death many years before, his supporters have kept his legend alive. Now one of the three guardians holding the spell has died. With two young men, Sparrow and Martin, Wren must form a new bond strong enough to protect Sherwood and continue her father’s fight. Drawn equally to Martin’s warrior spirit and Sparrow’s gentle strength, she finds it nearly impossible to choose between duty and love. Laura takes us on a journey into the world of Robin Hood’s daughter, where we experience her struggle to accept her identity and the demands of her father’s legacy. Along with Wren, we learn that what is loved in life can never be lost, and that great love is worth the price paid. For at last, when Martin is captured and held at Nottingham Castle, the path becomes clear for Wren and she finds the strength to become the woman she was born to be, the Daughter of Sherwood.
Hi Laura. Thanks for taking time to do a guest post here at Book Reviews with the Blogmonstar. I’m happy to be here because I love connecting with my readers.You know, writing can be such a solitary occupation – usually it’s just me and all these people in my head. Nice to communicate with those out in the world who have shared and hopefully enjoyed my story. Upon reading “Daughter of Sherwood” it’s quite evident that you put a lot of research into Sherwood Forest and the Robin Hood mythos. Did you find anything that surprised you or that you were previously unaware of? Yes! While researching the names of the various men who held the position of ‘Sheriff of Nottingham’ during the times the three books of my Trilogy are set, I found lists of those actual individuals. What surprised me was that the name of a different man is listed for almost every year. I don’t know about you, but when I read the old Robin Hood stories and watched the old movies, I got the impression one man held the place of Sheriff of Nottingham pretty much throughout the fight against Robin and his men. In truth, the King must have appointed a new man to the post frequently – possibly as a sign of favor or in return for services rendered. It makes sense, when you think about it. Favoritism probably ran rampant in that world. But this detail wound up playing a significant part in the second book of the Trilogy, Champion of Sherwood, which features the nephew of a Sheriff called Robert de Vavasour. Did you like the original Robin Hood story? How did you decide to write a series about his daughter? Robin Hood is one of the great tales of the English language. It possesses all the great elements: good versus evil, courage in the face of tyranny, loyalty in the face of terrible odds and the romance of a hero who can’t be defeated. Ordinarily, I never would have had the temerity to take it on. But after I published my first book for The Wild Rose Press – Devil Black – which was a Scottish Historical, I thought I should offer my readers something other than a second Scottish tale. When my daughter was young, she was a little obsessed with Robin Hood (my fault, no doubt, for buying her some gorgeously-illustrated picture books.) She also liked playing with her Barbie dolls and would ask me to play with her whenever possible. I couldn’t really get too enthusiastic about merely dressing up a number of dolls (boring) so we wound up combining the two interests, and ‘Robin Hood Barbies’ were born. Oh, what adventures those Robin Hood Barbies had! The space under the dining room table became a dungeon, the edge of the sofa a dangerous cliff in Sherwood Forest, and the very handsomest of the Ken dolls played Robin. (The ugly one that no one liked was, of course, the Sheriff of Nottingham.) Eventually, I got so into it, I sewed them all period clothing. Anyway, when I began writing Daughter of Sherwood, the writing came easily, probably because it had such a great foundation in that world my daughter and I created all those years ago. Why write about Robin’s daughter? Because no one really knows what came after the story of Robin – and because my own daughter contributed so much to the effort. That’s why I dedicated Daughter of Sherwood to my daughter, Alix. The Triad was an interesting touch. Was that something you had originally intended for the story, or did it come about later on? Much of my background and interest lies in Celtic lore, and to the Celts the number three carried great significance and magic. Take, for instance, the triple goddess: the Maiden, Mother and Crone. The ancients believed there was tremendous power in the number three. I knew there had to be a structure for the magic I wanted to build into my Sherwood, and I couldn’t think of a better model than the interwoven three. It also lent itself very well to the aspect of the love triangle that was so integral to the story. At the same time, Earth Religion/Magic teaches that four elements make up the circle of life. In my story, Sherwood Forest itself occupies the fourth place and, I feel, is represented as a sentient character. The theme of three is echoed in the three books of the Trilogy. Interestingly, when I finished Daughter of Sherwood and submitted it to my editor, I had no expectation it would be the first book of a trilogy. Not till my editor told me she wanted to contract the book did it occur to me there needed to be two more to complete the story. Fortunately, my editor agreed with me! If you suddenly woke up to find you were living in the same time as Wren, what modern convinences would you miss most? Oh, I love this question! I frequently do wish I’d wake up and find myself living in Wren’s time. Of course, if I suddenly awakened in Sherwood Forest I doubt I’d enjoy being forced to sleep on the damp ground, and I definitely wouldn’t want to subsist on the King’s deer. But, what conveniences would I miss most? Well, I already live a very simple lifestyle close to the land. My husband and I have no central heating in our home, and for the past three decades have heated strictly with wood. I begin every day from September through May by kindling a fire, so in that way I don’t feel too distant from the folks in Sherwood. We harvest our firewood on our own land, and all from deadfall – we never cut a healthy tree. I think I could live without electric lamps, but without my stereo? Now, that would be agony! Of course, the ancient bards made their own music and I know a number of people who play instruments, so I could always invite friends over for a kitchen party. I think if I chose one convenience to keep it would have to be running water. At one point years ago our electric failed, and while our well pump was inoperable we had to haul pails of water up two hundred feet from our creek. After about the third trip, it definitely lost its charm. You have written other historical fiction. Do you have a favourite historical era? While I love the Medieval era, my heart definitely lies even further back in ancient Celtic Britain, particularly Scotland and Ireland. Four books of my Celtic series are in print (for ordering details, visit my author’s web page at www.laurastricklandbooks.com). I love the mysticism, magic and beauty of that time, and the way the ancient Celts looked at their world. To them, every rock, every tree, even the wind, sea and fire possessed Spirit. Life was a journey that often involved sorrow and hardship, but it could be lived in the choice of either anger or beauty. I believe that still holds true for us today. I’ve been giving a lot of thought to what writing endeavor I’ll undertake when The Guardians of Sherwood Trilogy is done, and I’m thinking of setting a romance back in that time frame, in Scotland. Who can resist a Scots warrior/priest with long, flowing hair, a kilt and tattoos? Again thanks for your time and I look forward to book two. It’s been a pleasure visiting with you! Champion of Sherwood, Book Two of the Guardians of Sherwood Trilogy is now awaiting a release date, and should be available on Amazon some time next February. Be sure and check my website for details. Book Three, which is called Lord of Sherwood and which completes the circle that started with Wren, is now under contract, and I’m hoping it will be available by the end of next year. About Laura: Born and raised in Western New York, Laura Strickland has pursued lifelong interests in lore, legend, magic and music, all reflected in her writing. Though her imagination frequently takes her to far off places, she is usually happiest at home not far from Lake Ontario with her husband and her “fur” child, a rescue dog. Currently she is at work on the third book of the Guardians of Sherwood series. Follow Laura at Goodreads Buy Daughter of Sherwood @ Amazon Website: http://www.laurastricklandbooks.com/ Here’s a sneak peek at the cover and blurb for Book Two: Young Norman knight Gareth de Vavasour dares not tell the outlaws holding him for ransom in Sherwood Forest he is nephew to the Sheriff of Nottingham. He will be fortunate to escape this maze of magic, peril and hatred with his life. And not the least of the danger to him lies in the beautiful, dark eyes of Linnet, the Saxon healer who tends his wounds. Granddaughter of Robin Hood, Linnet has always known she is destined to fill a place in the magical triad that guards Sherwood Forest, along with her sister, Lark, and their lifelong friend, Falcon Scarlet. Falcon wishes to marry Linnet, and she believes her life well settled until the arrival of Gareth. Then all her loyalty is tested, even as her heart is forced to choose between the ties of duty and love, and Sherwood declares its own champion.