21 May 2017

Author Interview & Book Giveaway: J Tullos Hennig on SUMMERWODE

This week, we're pleased to welcome author J TULLOS HENNIG with SUMMERWODE, from the Books of the Wode seriesOne lucky winner will receive a copy of the novel in e-book format. Here's the blurb about the novel.

The Summer King has come to the Wode...
Yet to which oath, head or heart, shall he hold?

Once known as the Templar assassin Guy de Gisbourne, dispossessed noble Gamelyn Boundys has come to Sherwood Forest with conflicted oaths. One is of duty: demanding he tame the forest’s druidic secrets and bring them back to his Templar Masters. The other oath is of heat and heart: given to the outlaw Robyn Hood, avatar of the Horned Lord, and the Maiden Marion, embodiment of the Lady Huntress. The three of them—Summerlord, Winter King, and Maiden of the Spring—are bound by yet another promise, that of fate: to wield the covenant of the Shire Wode and the power of the Ceugant, the magical trine of all worlds. In this last, also, is Gamelyn conflicted; spectres of sacrifice and death haunt him.

Uneasy oaths begin a collision course when not only Gamelyn, but Robyn and Marion are summoned to the siege of Nottingham by the Queen. Her promise is that Gamelyn will regain his noble family’s honour of Tickhill, and the outlaws of the Shire Wode will have a royal pardon.

But King Richard has returned to England, and the price of his mercy might well be more than any of them can afford...

**Q&A with J Tullos Henning**

What are you currently working on?

The fifth novel, Wyldingwode, to complete the Books of the Wode. I'm also working on several new speculative fiction short stories, and researching a new historical novel.

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

The 4th book, Summerwode, releases 16 May, 2017. It's on preorder now!
There are five novels planned in the story cycle. The duology of Shirewode and its prequel Greenwode are available began it all. A trilogy that begins with Winterwode will continue with Summerwode, and will end with Wyldingwode (#amwriting).

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’s role as a cultural--and changeable--icon. The Robin Hood Project at The Library of Rochester is an excellent place to begin an acquaintance with the ever-morphing facets of the Robin Hood/Robyn Hode mythos.

But I think it really comes down to this: respect. Whenever you take an old warhorse of a legend, you owe it to the Story to respect its legacy, but its purpose in existence. Which means you question it, turn it over and inside out and re-imagine it, shape it to the best of your ability into a vital continuation of its Story. To just rehash a tired trope is disrespectful to not only the power of legend, but your own talents.

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

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 myth has its own truths, sometimes stronger than what is considered “fact”. All too often the term fantasy is used to dismiss someone else’s belief systems. No question, I’m a great whopping history geek, but also, I’m hyper-aware (no doubt due to my Choctaw heritage) that history is suspect. Speculative, even.

Not to mention, I adore speculative fiction, and am a SF/Fantasy fan from waaaay back. Eons before it was considered cool.

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 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 often trumps Fact. Because Facts can be so... chancy.)

When did you start writing, and what are some major influences on your writing?

I’ve been writing and drawing my own worlds for a very long time; basically since I could hold a pencil. I had an abortive writing career in the 80s, but it’s all part of the process. The books I’m writing now are much better, anyway. *grin*

Influences...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: I hail the 3 Marys: Mary Renault, Mary Stewart, and Mary O'Hara. Parke Godwin, Louise Erdrich, Ray Bradbury, Paula Gunn Allen, Starhawk, Leslie Marmon Silko, Albert Payson Terhune, Colleen McCulloch, Taylor Caldwell, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Robert Heinlein, Virginia Woolf. There are others, but these come soonest to mind. No one should regret reading any of these author's works.




E-books 1 & 2 in the series are currently on sale through most retailers until the 16 May release: GREENWODE is free, and SHIREWODE is $2.95!

About the Author

J Tullos Hennig has always possessed inveterate fascination in the myths and histories of other worlds and times. Despite having maintained a few professions in this world—equestrian, dancer, teacher, artist—Jen has never successfully managed to not be a writer. Ever.

Her most recent work is a darkly magical & award-winning historical fantasy series re-imagining the legends of Robin Hood, in which both pagan and queer viewpoints are given respectful voice.

Musings blog (You can subscribe to my newsletter at either the Musing blog or main site—you’ll receive the first and earliest notification on all updates and news, plus a gift: several short stories seldom seen in the wild.)