Robynne Hood, female fox shifter. How did I come up with this book and series? Read on to learn all about the “making of” Tempting the Sheriff.
Robynne Hood, female fox shifter. How did I come up with this new angle on the familiar legend? Well, as a kid, I loved the legend of Robin Hood and the daring outlaws of Sherwood Forest. In fact, Errol Flynn was my first crush, way back when. (Not that I’m not as old as the 1938 movie! I mean, when I saw it as a re-run on TV as a kid! However, I am old enough that I first watchd it on a black-and-white TV…yikes!)
I also loved the Disney cartoon version in which all the characters are animals, and of course the 1991 movie version with Kevin Costner and a somewhat more capable Maid Marian (and best of all, the surprise appearance of Sean Connery as King Richard). As with all my favorite books and movies, I “rewrote” those versions in my mind to insert a super-amazing heroine into the action.
Combine that with my love of paranormal romance and it was natural that my mind drifted in the direction of a shapeshifter version. Being a big fan of Robin Hood doesn’t make me a fan of re-tellings of familiar stories, but I do love reading/watching movies that use familiar elements to set up and then flip expectations. So, that was one of my goals in writing this series: to remind readers of everything they love in Robin Hood and keep you guessing with twists and surprises that take the story in a whole new direction. I hope I succeeded!
Turning Robin Hood into Robynne was easy, and the choice of fox shifter was a natural fit for this cunning heroine. But I needed a worthy hero, and that actually kept me from writing this series over the several years that I was thinking about it. Finally, the solution hit me out of the blue: the sheriff would be the perfect hero for this heroine! What better way to set up romantic tension? Of course, he couldn’t be the “bad guy” sheriff of the legends, so I came up with the idea of Daniel as acting sheriff, which really helps drive this story and the entire series.
The downside to undertaking a trilogy based on this premise is I couldn’t give the heroine and hero their full happily-ever-after at the end of Book 1. For a while, I even played with the idea of making Robynne and Daniel’s story the third of three or to overlap the three couples’ love stories. Otherwise, there wouldn’t be much need for a merry group of bandits in Sherwood Forest!
But I absolutely despise cliffhangers, so I made sure to give this story a proper ending, even though the series arc will only fully wrap up in Book 3. I promise, it will be worth it to see all the threads come together! Also, the bonus scenes for each book in this series are all devoted to Robynne and Daniel’s continuing love story, so don’t miss those! They’re available exclusively to newsletter subscribers, so if you haven’t already signed up, you can do so here.
I had a lot of fun taking the most iconic moments and characters of the “original” Robin Hood stories and flipping them for this series. So, we still have a bandit at odds with a sheriff, but at an entirely different level. We still have a master archer taking from the rich and giving to the poor, and we still have villains in the form of Sir Guy of Gisborne and Prince John (plus Lord Ramage, a new addition to the cast of characters). In Books 2 and 3, you’ll learn more about John Little and Friar Tuck, the sexy-as-sin lion whose dreams of becoming a knight are dashed by family commitments — plus two great heroines in the form of Willa Scarlet and Maid Marian!
STORY vs HISTORY?
I decided early on to keep the mood in this series lighthearted and fun (although the characters do experience their share of bleak moments). After all, fiction inspired by fiction can only take itself so seriously! The Robin Hood of our collective imagination is a legend — but such a well-known one that it almost writes it own history (most of it incorrect, as I discovered).
So, although I did a lot of research for this series, that mostly comes through in background details in the setting and major events of the era. King Richard really was imprisoned during the time this story is set, and Prince John really did rule England in his absence. There really was a Sherwood Forest and a Great Northern Road that must have seen its share of robberies. Robin Hood, on the other hand, is a folk legend with roots in one or more real-life people, but most of the events and side characters were added to the legend by successive generations of storytellers. So, much as I love history, I feel comfortable taking liberties with this legend. And who knows? Maybe this series will leave its own impact in the story of the story!
MY FAVORITE SCENE
I love the face-off between Robynne and Daniel in the very first chapter, and I love the atmosphere of the Three Rivers Tavern. How about you? What’s your favorite scene?
BIGGEST CHANGE from early drafts to final edition
The biggest change from the earliest outlines to this final story is Robynne and Daniel’s background story. At first, I had them meeting as strangers, but then I decided having a shared history would be so much more satisfying. It also helps get the story running from page one.
ICONIC ROBIN HOOD MOMENTS I Couldn’t Resist
Robin Hood wouldn’t be Robin Hood without some of those iconic moments all the written and movie versions share. For me, there were four I had to include somewhere along the series: Robin (or in this case, Robynne) splitting an arrow with her arrow, the staff fight with Little John on a log over a river, Robin cheekily waltzing into Nottingham with an illegally poached deer on his/her shoulders, and Friar Tuck cheerily drinking ale in Sherwood Forest. I couldn’t fit all these moments into Book 1, so you’ll have to watch for them as the series unfolds!
Thanks for reading the making of Tempting the Sheriff. Make sure you don’t miss the bonus scene and other fun content in the Extras section of my website. If you enjoyed this story and series, please remember to spread the word and post a review. Thank you!
Now, on to Book 2 in the series: Tempting the Outlaw!