Heir of Locksley
Series: Outlaw’s Legacy, Book 1
Author: N.B. Dixon
Publisher: Beaten Track Publishing
Cover Artist: Natasha Snow
Release Date: December 1st, 2016
Genre(s): Historical, M/M
About the Book
BlurbRobin 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.
Guest Post: Researching Robin Hood
Any decent author of historical fiction has to do a lot of research before undertaking their novel. That is, if they care anything about accuracy. The debate of accuracy versus a good story is an ongoing subject and one I will happily discuss at another time, but now I’d like to focus on the research itself. It wasn’t all trawling through any reference books I could find and websites on the Internet, though that was certainly fun. For me, the best part of researching my series was when I got to visit Robin Hood country, or, Nottingham Castle and Sherwood Forest.
The term Nottingham Castle is perhaps a bit misleading. The once grand fortress that was begun by William the Conqueror in 1068 is no longer standing. It once stood on a promontory known as Castle rock, from which it was possible to gain a spectacular view of the town and surrounding countryside. However, what now stands on the site is a large house. It seems mainly to be used to exhibit various art and some weaponry, although there is a small Robin Hood exhibition there. Nottingham is still very much Robin Hood’s home though, and there are tours carried out in the town as well as an official Robin Hood. Although the original versions of the legend certainly aren’t set in Nottingham, it’s the place most people associate with Robin—that and of course Sherwood Forest. Again, Sherwood was not Robin’s original home, but the two have become so inexplicably linked, it’s hard to think of one without the other.
If my visit to Nottingham Castle was somewhat disappointing, my visit to Sherwood, which I made later the same day, more than made up for it. Firstly the visitor centre, where I had the dubious experience of being put in the stocks. As a pastime, it’s not something I would recommend, but it was certainly enlightening when it came to writing. For those of you who haven’t sat in the stocks, your arms are trapped within two circular holes of wood, while another rests on the back of your neck, keeping you in the same position so that you are unable to move. All you’re aware of is weight pressing down on you. You can’t move your head at all, meaning it would be impossible to avoid any missiles some mischievous urchin might choose to throw at you. I was in the stocks for maybe half a minute and that was enough for one lifetime. How people managed when they were trapped in the stocks for a day or more is beyond me.
Then there was Sherwood itself. The Robin Hood legend describes it as being virtually on Nottingham town’s doorstep. Robin Hood has only to ride through the town gates and melt away into the trees, leaving the sheriff and his soldiers casting about in vain for him. I myself have also fallen guilty to this exaggeration. Sherwood is in fact a short drive away, I think about forty minutes if memory serves. Since I was a passenger rather than the driver, I don’t accurately remember.
Once in the Forest, it’s like stepping into another world. Silence presses in around you. There are several paths and trails you can walk, and with every step you expect the famous outlaw himself to swing down from a tree and demand the contents of your purse, or perhaps to hear the distant winding of a hunting horn. It certainly worked on my imagination and I went home full of inspiration.
The highlight, however, was visiting the Major Oak. The tree has had many titles in the Robin Hood story: the Major Oak and the trysting tree to name but two. It’s a massive tree surrounded by fencing in order to protect it from the general public. It’s gnarled an ancient-looking, and it doesn’t take much imagination to picture Robin and his men grouped round it for some clandestine meeting. I’m only sorry now that I have no pictures of the oak to remember it by.
Another highlight of my research was visiting Warwick Castle. Though the Castle has nothing whatsoever to do with the story of Robin Hood, it has plenty of stories from its own past to fascinate any visitor. For me though, the highlight of the day was when I was able to hold a longbow. It’s surprising how heavy they actually are for someone not used to them. It takes years of practice to become proficient with a longbow, which was why boys were encouraged to start as young as possible, usually from the age of seven. From the longbow’s extremely kind owner, I learned a good deal about accuracy and range, though fortunately for everyone in my vicinity, I made no attempt to shoot the bow myself.
Since I am endlessly doing research in order to improve my stories, I hope to have many more experiences such as this. The memory of Sherwood Forest in particular will stay with me forever. I only travelled one of its mysterious pathways. I hope one day I shall return and follow the rest. Sherwood is no longer the mighty forest it used to be. Where once Robin Hood might have travelled thirty miles without breaking cover, now he would be lucky to manage three. However, the magic of the place still lives on, as does the legend of Robin Hood.
About N.B. Dixon
Author BioN.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 *Outlaw's Legacy* Series in 2013, and was accepted by Beaten Track Publishing in 2016. *Outlaw's Legacy* is a historical series based around the Robin Hood legend. The author describes it as Exciting Historical Adventure with GLBT romance.
Connect with N.B.
Three lucky winners will receive an e-copy of Heir of Locksley, the first in the Outlaw's Legacy series by N.B. Dixon, a highly original retelling of the Robin Hood legend. To be in with a chance, simply enter via the Rafflecopter below. The contest closes at midnight EST on May 6 and is open to entrants worldwide.
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