Why this legend?
So often people ask why I’ve written a saga about Guy of Gisborne and not Robin Hood, Arthur, Abelard, Tristan or any of the many others from legend and history. So perhaps I need to place it more fully in black and white.
It all began, like many things, as a bit of fun.
At the time I was historical fantasy writer completing a four book chronicle set in an Earth-like world called Eirie. I had been watching the BBC TV series, Robin Hood.
and become a fan of the totally anachronistic humour. (Where else does one find a slick Sheriff with the tagline ‘well la-di-da-di-da!’)
By the second series I had become rather interested in Guy of Gisborne, played so well by Richard Armitage. I followed the third series and was immensely sad at Gisborne’s ending. He was the perfect anti-hero and of course all his fans were devastated at his demise.
So merely for fun I started writing what they call fan-fiction, which was to be an alternative history of the legend called Guy of Gisborne. Initially, chapters went to Wattpad as I didn’t really envisage it being a fully-fledged novel. It began in my mind with the Sheriff, with Marian, Prince John and Robin. When a readership started to follow it, something that surprised me greatly, I took it to my blog and put up weekly chapters.
And then one day I wondered what Gisborne’s outcomes would have been if Fate had taken charge early in his life. What would have happened if he’d never met the Sheriff, Marian or Robin?
Bells started to tinkle, ring and then clang, as they often do when I think I might be onto something.
I began to research more deeply, commensurate with the writing of a novel rather than a fan-fiction. I stopped posting chapters of what was then The Sheriff’s Collector on the blog. The ‘fun’ chapters were morphing into something more serious and the new title became ‘Gisborne: Book of Pawns.’ It was only envisaged to be one book, but in writing a tiny short for Bopress Miniatures for an edition called simply ‘Gisborne’, I realised this saga could go further.
Thus, Book of Knights was born and when Book of Knights was midway through, the finale, Book of Kings, sowed seeds in my mind.
Some might find it odd to write a series about Gisborne that doesn’t adhere to the legend. That might be so but there is a whole audience out there, a huge global army of Richard Armitage fans who say categorically that Gisborne is SND. (So Not Dead).
So I can’t be that wrong!
And then there were those RA/Gisborne fans in Russia (discovered online), who believed it wasn’t ‘the thing’ to write a book about Gisborne which didn’t involve the Sheriff, Marian etc.
My response to that is why?
It was far more exciting to write what might become a new legend than to re-write an old one where Robin dies and Guy gets the girl. I wanted to write Guy just as the anti-hero from the TV series showed me he could be. I wanted the same timeframe but far different circumstance.
Only the ending of Book of Kings will prove whether I have bought Gisborne’s alternative history to an acceptable (and breathtaking) conclusion. In the meantime I think there is a man of legend out there is who is glad he’s been given a second chance!
(All images of Guy of Gisborne from BBC/Tiger Aspect Productions)