Friday, July 27, 2012

Don't Mess With A Lady Thief - My Interview With AC Gaughen, Author Of SCARLET (+ Giveaway!)

Posing as one of Robin Hood’s thieves to avoid the wrath of the evil Thief Taker Lord Gisbourne, Scarlet has kept her identity secret from all of Nottinghamshire. Only the Hood and his band know the truth: the agile thief posing as a whip of a boy is actually a fearless young woman with a secret past. Helping the people of Nottingham outwit the corrupt Sheriff of Nottingham could cost Scarlet her life as Gisbourne closes in.

It’s only her fierce loyalty to Robin—whose quick smiles and sharp temper have the rare power to unsettle her—that keeps Scarlet going and makes this fight worth dying for.
This is my last scheduled Summer Reading List interview. In case you all don't remember, I complained a while back about my store's appalling summer reading shelf. With your help, I offered an alternative, and Scarlet by AC Gaughen was part of that alternative.

Really, what's not to love? Ms. Gaughen takes the beloved Robin Hood tale and completely turns it on its ear with the help of the spirited Scarlet. This is another book that I hype every chance I get. My review is here, but before you wander off to look, take a look at what Ms. Gaughen has to say about her tale. (Oh, and did I mention there's a giveaway, too?)


Shelver: Forgive the ignorant American here, but you live in Scotland, right? Is Robin Hood as big of a deal in Scotland as he is in England and America?

AC Gaughen: Actually no--I'm a born and bred Boston girl, but I did live in Scotland for a few years. It's an unbelievable country--and yes, they love Robin Hood there! Not as much as William Wallace, though. They even have a Mel Gibson inspired statue at Stirling.
S: You've talked in interviews about different Robin Hood adaptations that you love. Are there any that you've found yourself drawing from more than others?

AC: I try not to draw from other people's works (I signed too many anti-plagarism pledges in college!) but I'm sure the ones I love definitely wormed their way into the story somehow. I LOVE the BBC version [Shelver note: ME TOO!!], and I LOVE LOVE the Prince of Thieves Robin Hood movie.

S: How did you decide which members of the Robin Hood legend to include? I mean, there are so many that just sort of float in and out, depending on the story.

AC: There really are! The characters that I chose are the ones I really felt interested me from the start and I'm captivated by in every iteration of Robin Hood. John, Will Scarlet, and Much always seemed like Rob's closest friends anyway; it seemed like a good place to start. There are two characters that I dearly, dearly love but they just didn't have a place here; Eleanor of Aquitaine (King Richard's mother, notably NOT in a lot of Robin Hood stories, but she totally should be) and Allan a Dale. I love Allan a Dale!

S: Who is your favorite character from the book and why? (If you name Scarlet, you also have to give a second favorite.)

AC: Oh come on, Rob! I love me a dark, broody, somewhat damaged guy with a wonderful heart. Just, you know, in literature. Of course.

In my defense, this is what Guy looks
like in my head. (The BBC America Guy)
S: Please tell us more about the villain of the book, Guy of Gisbourne. I know he's a bad guy, but I secretly think he's a bit dreamy. (Is that weird?)

AC: A little weird... considering he's a bit of a psychopath. But he is absolutely single minded in his determination to achieve his goals, and I can see the sexiness of that. But yeah, he's definitely a little unhinged and at this point, you don't really know much about where his limits are.

S: Sometimes authors talk about characters suddenly running away from them to throw a twist of their own into the story. While you were writing, did your story ever take a turn you completely didn't expect?

AC: You know, with Scarlet especially, I didn't plan her story out. I just let her run, because she seemed like a fully formed character in my mind, and she sort of darted around the mythos of Robin Hood and found her own path. She's kind of willful like that!

S: What's something about your "I'm an official author" journey that's surprised you?

AC: I have been writing avidly, diligently, obsessively since I was probably about 8. It's just something that I've always done. So it really surprised me how strange and eye-opening and insanely exciting it can be to work on your writing with someone else. The editorial process was really cool.

S: When you first learned your book was going to be published, what did you do and who did you tell first? 

AC: Well, my agent had hinted that the call was coming, but I was in a meeting and had to wait until I was driving home. I was also running on about two hours of sleep, and my agent called and told me the news and I was calm and normal (I think). Then I hung up and played this song and not even kidding, bawled my eyes out while blubbering along with this song.

Then I went home, and found the one person I promised to tell before anyone else: my mom. Maybe that's cheesy but there is a lot of rejection in this business and so much heartache before you ever get to the reward, and she (and the rest of my wonderful family) were there for me through all of it.

S: Name one book you've read recently that absolutely blew your socks off.

AC: Not one!!! Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo was unbelievably gorgeous and cool and original and deserves all the praise being lavished upon it. I'm halfway through an ARC of The Diviners and it's posi-tute-ly awesome (that word is coming back, just watch)--like the details and the richness that is just like quintessentially Libba Bray is wonderful. And for other historicals, Gilt by Katherine Longshore. I'm a Tudor freak, and this totally stood up historically, taught me a few things, and went on to blow me away with the story. LOVE!!

S: I know you've said Scarlet was written as a standalone, but could you give us hope for a sequel? (Pleeeeeeeeease?)

AC: There is definitely hope. There is strong hope. And that's all I can say right now. :-) [Shelver fist-pump.]


Thank you for stopping by, AC! I hope you all enjoyed reading Ms. Gaughen's answers as much as I did. Scarlet is one of my favorite books this year, and I heartily recommend it.

You can follow Ms. Gaughen on Twitter or read about her on her blog.

But wait! The fun's not over yet. Ms. Gaughen has generously donated one of her Scarlet t-shirts for a giveaway! Bearing the jaunty slogan "Don't get on the wrong side of a lady thief," you'll be the envy of all your friends... or at least your well-read, discerning friends.

To enter you only have to meet these requirements:
  • Enter via the Rafflecopter (and read the details before pushing "I completed," okay?)
  • Live in the USA (for shipping reasons)
  • Be 13 years old or older
  • Do not cheat, because I will find you, and I will disqualify you
  • Respond to my email notifying you that you've won WITHIN 48 HOURS
  • Use only one username per household/IP address

a Rafflecopter giveaway