Hey, it’s always lovely to have you here – and it’s been a while. Settle in for a smashing read, folks. Over to you, Jenny.
Once upon a time, when the world was young, I was a very shy teenager.
I was also a bit- shall we say unusual? I suspect the words ‘odd’ and ‘eccentric’ would be more accurate, but I’ll let you make your own mind up on that…
I never did the pop or film star crush thing. Never had pictures of Bryan Adams or Wham on my wall. Adam Ant didn’t look up at me from my pencil case, and I did not wake up to see a life sized poster of Morrissey’s backside complete with gladioli (or whatever flower it was) sticking out of his backside!
Nor was I into the Pac Man craze (I am so giving my age away here!), and the background music to Manic Minor drove me nuts! I didn’t buy Jackie, or indulge in spending my money on Cosmopolitan so I’d seem more grown up than I was.
It wasn’t that I didn’t like music or playing the odd game of tennis on the Atari- but I had a different sort of fascination.
It all started because I was ill for ages and ages when I was 14. I missed a lot of school. But as always in life, timing is everything- and I was saved by an instant and unshakeable love for the series of Robin of Sherwood that was being aired on ITV at the time. It was the third series- I hadn’t seen either of the first two. (I have now- loads of times!) As I was at home so much, my parents rented one of those new fangled video recorders so I could record stuff and watch it when I liked. (Thanks Mum and Dad- still very grateful for that.)
The VCR arrived the same day as the episode of Robin of Sherwood called Adam Bell was aired- I recorded it and watched it 8 times the next day- and then again, and again and again. Now- over 20 years later- I can still quote the script!! (Okay- that’s nothing to be proud of- see- I’m a bit odd.)
It wasn’t the tight tights that had captured my heart though- it was the story. The whole story. All of it. I wanted to know everything- EVERYTHING- that could possibly be known about Robin Hood. No film, book (nonfiction or fiction), was safe from me.
My bedroom walls disappeared under posters of Robin Hood- any posters- from Errol Flynn, to Richard Greene, to the statue up in Nottingham, to the gorgeous Ray Winstone who played Will Scarlet (Okay- you have me there- I still have a ‘thing’ for Ray Winstone- there is such a twinkle in those eyes!)
The interest became an obsession (In RH not Ray Winstone). When I was well again my parents took me to Sherwood for a short holiday- I learnt archery, I read medieval political poems and ballads- I wanted to know the truth- did he exist or didn’t he?
I did a project on Robin Hood for my A’ level History. Then I went to university and did a specialist course in Medieval Castle and Ecclesiastical Architecture…I was a medieval junky. It seemed only natural to do a PhD on the subject- and that is exactly what I did.
It was my PhD that taught me to write- (a tome of epic proportions that is still knocking around my old Uni library gathering dust, while e-versions of it are scattered around many American Universities). Rather than finish off my love of RH- my PhD polished it to perfection.
I guess it was only a matter of time before I decided to write a novel about a Robin Hood obsessed historian like Dr Grace Harper, the leading lady in Romancing Robin Hood.
Dr Grace Harper has loved the stories of Robin Hood ever since she first saw them on TV as a teenager. Now, with her fortieth birthday just around the corner, she’s a successful academic in Medieval History—but Grace is stuck in a rut.
Grace is supposed to be writing a textbook on a real-life medieval criminal gang—the Folvilles—but instead she is captivated by a novel she’s secretly writing. A medieval mystery which entwines the story of Folvilles with her long-time love of Robin Hood—and a feisty young woman named Mathilda of Twyford.
Just as she is trying to work out how Mathilda can survive being kidnapped by the Folvilles, Grace’s best friend Daisy announces she is getting married. After a whirlwind romance with a man she loves as much as the creatures in her animal shelter, Daisy has press-ganged Grace into being her bridesmaid.
Witnessing Daisy’s new-found happiness, Grace starts to re-evaluate her own life. Is her devotion to a man who may or may not have lived hundreds of years ago really a substitute for a real-life hero of her own? Grace’s life doesn’t get any easier when she meets Dr Robert Franks—a rival academic who she is determined to dislike but finds herself being increasingly drawn to… If only he didn’t know quite so much about Robin Hood.
Suddenly, spending more time living in the past than the present doesn’t seem such a good idea…
If you would like to read more about Grace, then you can buy Romancing Robin Hood from all good retailers, including…
Also- should you wish to revisit the heady days of 1980’s Robin of Sherwood– I (as Jennifer Ash) was lucky enough to be asked to write 2 episodes of the new audio series.
I’m sure you can appreciate how exciting it was for me to be asked to write for the very show that led me on the road that changed my life, gave me a career direction, and has given me so much joy over the past thirty years. Talk about lucky!
You can find the buy links for the Robin of Sherwood audio dramas here- https://spitefulpuppet.com/product-category/robin-of-sherwood/
Many thanks, Laura. Fantastic – here’s to many more merry men – and women.
Happy reading everyone,
With a background in history and archaeology, Jenny Kane should really be sat in a dusty university library translating Medieval Latin criminal records, before writing research documents that hardly anyone would want to read. Instead, tucked away in the South West of England, Jenny Kane writes stories with one hand, while designing creative writing workshops for ‘Imagine’ with the other.
Jenny spends a large part of her time in her local Costa, where she creates her stories, including the novels Romancing Robin Hood (LittWizz Press, 2018), Abi’s Neighbour (Accent Press, 2017), Another Glass of Champagne (Accent, 2016), Abi’s House (Accent Press, June 2015), the best selling contemporary romance Another Cup of Coffee (Accent Press, 2013), and the novella length sequels Another Cup of Christmas (Accent Press, 2013), Christmas in the Cotswolds, (Accent Press, 2014), and Christmas at the Castle, (Accent Press, 2015).
Jenny also writes medieval crime fiction as Jennifer Ash.
The Outlaw’s Ransom and The Winter Outlaw will both be published by Littwitz Press in early 2018
Jenny Kane is also the author of quirky children’s picture books There’s a Cow in the Flat (Hushpuppy, 2014) and Ben’s Biscuit Tin (Hushpuppy, 2015)
Keep your eye on Jenny’s blog at www.jennykane.co.uk for more details.
Twitter- @JennyKaneAuthor @JenAshHistory @Imagine_Writing
Facebook for Jennifer Ash -https://www.facebook.com/jenniferashhistorical/?ref=bookmarks
Facebook for Imagine – https://www.facebook.com/ImagineCreativeWriting/?ref=settings
Jenny Kane also writes erotica as Kay Jaybee. (www.kayjaybee.me.uk)