I'm extremely excited to welcome young adult debut author A.C. Gaughen to the blog to talk a little bit about her novel Scarlet which just released in February (read my review HERE). Scarlet was one of those books I can't say I was dying to read when I first heard about it, but it proved to be one that surprised me in the best possible way when I began reading it. I absolutely fell in love with Scarlet and Rob and their simultaneously beautiful and painful relationship, and I highly recommend it to anyone who loves really complex, perfectly flawed characters.
We meet Scarlet at a point where she’s already a vital member of Rob’s band and has been so for some time, so we don’t know much about how they met. Can you tell us the first thing to run through each of their minds when they laid eyes on one another those couple of years ago?
Scarlet would have thought something along the lines of “Jackpot!” and Rob would have thought, “Interesting”. Scar had a very specific purpose in mind for Rob, and when Rob met Scar she gave him a new purpose, a new thought that there might be more that he could do–with just the right band of misfits.
If you were to join Scarlet, Rob, John, and Much in their efforts to help the less fortunate, what specific set of skills do you think you’d bring to the table to aid them on their missions?
An authorial hand to delete all obstacles! Though I like to imagine that I would be a super keen trainer of animals that could aid us on all our missions. We’d need a falcon and a wolf, at least.
What part of the writing/publishing/marketing process would you say you found most daunting?
The marketing part! It’s totally out of my wheelhouse. It’s totally out of my every house. There’s this really strange concept of your book–your verbal, emotional vomit that swelled up from your soul–becoming a public commodity. And then there’s the equally bizarre idea that then, some piece of you becomes a public commodity. It’s really strange–but it’s also pretty cool to learn a new skill, and marketing is definitely a steep learning curve!
Of all the Robin Hood stories and retellings, which book or film is your personal favorite?
God, I love Christian Slater as Will Scarlet in Prince of Thieves (and I love the title!). I love the hen in the Disney version–and that fox was pretty hot, for a fox. I love everything about Cary Elwes, and I love me some old school Errol Flynn. Jonas Armstrong and Lucy Griffiths are probably my fave Rob/Marian combo, though. And Richard Armitage as Gisbourne is off the charts. Best ever, hands down (from the BBC tv version).
So much of the tension between Scarlet and Rob comes as a result of their inability to voice their feelings to one another, both of them choosing instead to suffer in silence. If Scarlet had five minutes in which to tell Rob everything she’s ever wanted to say knowing that once that five minutes is up he won’t remember anything, what might come out of her mouth first?
She’d tell him everything that’s amazing about him–his heroism, his heart, his incredible ability to continue on in the face of never ending pain and injustice. She’d say that the times when he’s most amazing are when he doubts himself, when he stumbles, when he shows that he feels that pain and feels that injustice–and then continues on anyway, continues to give hope and strength to those around him, including her. She’d tell him that she loves all of those things that make him a hero, but she loves the things that make him a little awful even more. Because when he says terrible things and does terrible things and she loves him anyway, it makes this tiny seed of possibility grow in her that maybe she can be loved despite those terrible things within herself.
And then she’d punch him. Because he can be a huge jerk sometimes, and even if she loves it, she definitely doesn’t have to forgive it.
What would Rob say is his greatest strength? His greatest weakness?
I don’t know if Rob recognizes his greatest strength, which is to believe in people. I think he would probably think it’s his ability to keep on going, to never stop, never give up. But he sees that as a serious flaw, too–like he should just be able to forgive, to forget, to move on, and he can’t. Not ever.
His weakness? He’s afraid of a lot of his emotions. He would say he’s weak because of his anger, his jealousy, his pride. They can definitely get the best of him, and he’s terrified of being so out of control.
Let’s say you’re on a book tour with your four main characters attending signings and conducting question and answer sessions. Who would be the most comfortable in front of a large group of people? Whose answers would most likely get the biggest laugh?
John Little for the win! John would ham it up while Scarlet gets progressively more and more territorial and uncomfortable with the attention. Rob would try and make him give serious answers while Much continually pipes up with something that tries to be funny or interesting but is just trying too hard. And then John would swoop in again, steal the spotlight, and hit on a reporter.
If the Scarlet we meet at the beginning of the book could ask you one question about how her life was going to change in the coming pages, what would it be and how would you answer?
I think she’d say: “Will I do it? Is it over?” Scarlet desperately wants a feeling of relief–whether its being assured the people are safe, or she is forgiven by the sister she lost, or she has Rob’s approval, she just wants the tension she’s been holding onto for so long to break. And none of it will. So I think I’d tell her that she can’t look to the future for validation. She has to look at her efforts every day and know they’re enough, and know she has a new chance every morning. Until she’s satisfied with that, she won’t be satisfied with anything.
Thank you for the interview!!
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions A.C.! More information on A.C. and Scarlet can be found here:
Order Scarlet on Amazon
Many readers know the tale of Robin Hood, but they will be swept away by this new version full of action, secrets, and romance.
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.