FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

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What are you currently working on?

The fourth and fifth novels that will complete the Books of the Wode.

Speaking of the Wode Books, when will the next one be out? And how many books are planned?

The 4th book, Summerwode, releases in early Summer, 2017.

There are five novels planned in the story cycle. The duology of Shirewode and its prequel Greenwode are available HERE. A trilogy that begins with Winterwode (NOW AVAILABLE), will continue with Summerwode (to be released in 2017), and will end with Wyldingwode (#amwriting).

Why Robyn Hode instead of Robin Hood? For that matter, why Shire Wode instead of Sherwood Forest?

I’ve come to realise it would have been much wiser from a practical marketing/search term aspect if I’d just stuck with the much more widely-used “Robin”. Alas, to misquote a certain Doctor McCoy, “I’m an author, dammit, not a marketer!”

The subtext, sound and language history remain infinitely more fascinating to me than any pragmatic reasons I didn’t in truth consider until after the naming deed was done. More thoughts on this very soon.

Why the LBGTQ slant on Robin Hood ?

Why not?

Don’t just take my word for it, though; several scholars have explored the possibility. There are many excellent essays and non-fiction studies of Robin as a cultural–and changeable–icon. The Robin Hood Project as well as Robin Hood:Development of a Popular Hero are both excellent places to begin an acquaintance with the ever-morphing facets of the Robin Hood / Robyn Hode mythos. And you can check out my own musings on the subject, HERE.

Why Robin Hood (okay, Robyn Hode) as a Druid?

Again, why not?

There are so many reasons to explore Robin/Robyn as Green Man of the Forest. Legend and Myth cling to him, and rightfully so.

And yes, more musings to come on the subject. *grin* Watch this space.

What is it with you and cliffhangers?

Eh? What’s wrong with cliffhangers? Perfectly valid method for telling a story; read them, write them, whats’mever… I like cliffhangers! A little patience and curled-gut wonder/waiting never hurt anyone… and means the experience lasts all the longer.

Do you do a lot of research?

Yes, indeed. I love research; have done and still do, ever on. It’s not just about long hours in closed stacks, but even more the hands-on trial/error and life experience which, I hope, shall continue on for some time. Most of that research never ends up as prose, granted… but it shouldn’t. Having knowledge and authority speak through the storytelling is sooo much better than overwhelming an audience with “see what I know?” (Not to mention that for me, Story more often than not trumps Fact. Because Facts can be so… chancy.)

What are the major influences on your writing?

On the subtextual level, it’s all about the myths, folklore, ancient stories, cultures and possibilities. Listening to the elders share stories, and to the ideas children express before some of the less palatable aspects of culture start trying to shut them down.

As to specific works/writers who have inspired me, I must first list my everpresent Hail to the Three Marys–Mary Renault, Mary Stewart, and Mary O’Hara–for their amazing talent and lovely expressions of Story and Experience. Ray Bradbury’s brilliant economy of the fantastic. Albert Payson Terhune knowing–just knowing–that dogs have souls. Anne McCaffrey’s dragons, devoted and dangerous (horse stories, really, only with fire-breathing, telepathic horses). Marion Zimmer Bradley’s inquisition into gender and women’s roles. Robert Heinlein, whom I grokked both with admiration and exasperation. Virginia Woolf’s stark-brave candour, and the Room of Her Own.

There are others, but these come soonest to mind. No one should regret reading any of these author’s works.

How can I become a writer?

Like with Carnegie Hall: “Practice, practice, practice!” I’m not being flippant; it’s true. While some who haven’t done the work do succeed beyond any expectation, the practice–good work–still matters.

It’s also less about “being a writer” and more about “writing”. Read voraciously; not just in your chosen genre, but all varieties. Make mistakes. Learn from them-that’s what they’re for. Respect yourself, and your work enough to not inflict it on the world before either it–or you–are ready.

Keep reading. Keep writing.

Will you read/critique my manuscript?

While I do sometimes take part in workshops where I critique participants’ work, for reasons of both legality and time, I simply cannot accept any work sent to me for reading.