Boldly Bookish Tour & Giveaway: Lion Heart by A.C. Gaughen

Monday, May 25, 2015

I am so so thrilled to be a part of this tour. For my stop, I got lucky enough to ask A.C. Gaughen (!!!) about her popular Robin Hood retelling series. I am a huge fan of the series and even if I haven't quite totally recovered from the end of Lady Thief, I cannot wait to see what happens next in this imaginative take on the story.  

 Lion Heart by A.C. Gaughen

The eagerly-awaited conclusion to the Scarlet trilogy delivers another action-packed and romance-filled adventure.

Scarlet has captured the hearts of readers as well as the heart of Robin Hood, and after ceaseless obstacles and countless threats, readers will finally find out the fate of the Lady Thief.

Imprisoned by Prince John for months, Scarlet finds herself a long way from Nottinghamshire. After a daring escape from the Prince's clutches, she learns that King Richard’s life is in jeopardy, and Eleanor of

Aquitaine demands a service Scarlet can’t refuse: spy for her and help bring Richard home safe. But fate—and her heart—won’t allow her to stay away from Nottinghamshire for long, and together, Scarlet and Rob must stop Prince John from going through with his dark plans for England. They can not rest until he’s stopped, but will their love be enough to save them once and for all?

Lion Heart is the last of the trilogy and I wanted to know what was A.C. Gaughen's favorite aspect of adapting such a well-known tale. How did she make it her own? What was the hardest part of reinventing Robin Hood? Her thoughtful and thought-provoking response:

People come into the Robin Hood myth with a lot of expectations!  Everyone thinks they know the story, and that can be totally amazing, but a little damning too.   I actually think this was something I gravitated to really early on—if you look at the first words of Scarlet, where she is walking through the inn and thinking that people never really see her, it’s setting up a theme of the real vs. the perceived.  Scarlet is very much a character that is carefully sliding her feet along that line, bringing a new story to the forefront but also operating within an existing legend. 

This is something that I really toyed with throughout the series.  There are many familiar characters, from the band to Tuck, to Gisbourne and Allan a Dale.  There are tropes or scenes that people recognize, like the archery contest in Lady Thief, or the collection of taxes in Scarlet, or the ongoing struggles with the Sheriff and authority figures. 

But the series also balances a lot of my love of history.  The traditional characters of the legend are supplemented with historical figures, from Eleanor of Aquitaine (WHY is she so rarely associated with Robin Hood??!) to Isabel (Prince John’s wife is so rarely named or mentioned!), and the third book is much more replete with historical figures like Essex and Winchester. 

Probably most importantly, though, who Scarlet represents as a character was super important to me—I really love the idea that there are hidden stories that haven’t been told, because someone in history didn’t get to write their own narrative.  Scarlet is meant to be a character that picks up on historical possibility and also plays into the legend—why is Will Scarlet always portrayed as smaller, or fast but small, or grumpy and keeping to himself?—and fills in a missing space between history and legend.  Which is all to say that I know many readers come into the story with their own expectations and thoughts about Robin Hood, and some of that I am gleefully playing into—I love this story, every single time it’s retold.  But some of that I’m also deliberately challenging, and I know it’s uncomfortable for some readers because it doesn’t always jive with what they believe is the “canon”. 

Ultimately, I made this story my own in the same way that every book belongs to the author who wrote it—I wrote the story only I could tell, in the only way that felt right to tell it.  And hopefully fans will love Lion Heart just as much as I do!

I've personally always been drawn to Robin Hood stories and seeing such a great interpretation of it -- with a female character besides Marian! -- is rewarding, and with this author, a wild ride. Thank you so much A.C. Gaughen and Bloomsbury for this chance to delve a little deeper into a favorite series.

A. C. GAUGHEN is the author of Scarlet and Lady Thief. She serves as the Director of Girls’ Leadership for the non-profit Boston GLOW, creating opportunities to encourage and engage teen girls in the Greater Boston area. She has a Masters in Creative Writing from St. Andrews University in Scotland and a Masters in Education from Harvard University.

Visit A. C. online at and on Twitter at @acgaughen.

Also thanks to Bloomsbury --- a giveaway! The winner will get their choice of any of the four books featured on this tour: The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord, The Devil You Know by Trish Doller, Lion Heart by A.C. Gaughen, and Hold Me Like a Breath by Tiffany Schmidt. This giveaway is US ONLY and entrants must be 13 years or older to enter.

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