Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Interview: A.C. Gaughen and Scarlet

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.


  1. I think marketing would be hard, but a very useful skill. It's especially hard as woman, because we are socially conditioned to be modest about our accomplishments and talents. It's harder to go out there and say "I rock" and "you must buy this." Depends on the person obviously, but I definitely fall in the timid camp. I'm guessing a lot of writers do as well.

  2. I totally loved Christian Slater as Will Scarlett! I thought he was fantastic. :) :) :)

  3. Awesome interview and I loved this book! I can't recommend it highly enough to anyone who loves action, adventure and romance.
    Truly Bookish

  4. Great interview! This one is new to me, and it sounds great. I love the cover!

  5. Alison - Marketing is a tricky thing, and I definitely fall in the timid camp as well though I may not give that impression here on the blog O_o. I guess I should rephrase - I fall in the timid camp when it comes to self-promotion, I've always struggled with it for the stationery business:)

    Felicia - YES!!! Now I feel compelled to watch that movie again:)

    NC - I loved it too! I wasn't expecting to love it and it's always fun for me when a book surprises me.

    Jennifer - I hope you get a chance to read it, it's a really different type of YA read, I adored it:)

  6. I loved Scar and Rob! I totally agree with Scar about what makes Rob so appealing. He's not the perfect guy and he is vulnerable which makes him beautifully flawed and human. And as for John, yep, I can totally picture him picking up several women during a book tour. Now I want to know if there is more Scar and the gang on its way!

  7. Scarlett was an amazing book and I've yet to do my review but I truly loved it: The setting, the tension between Rob & Scar, the hidden secrets... it's all fabulous!

    Fantastic Interview and Yes to Christian Slater as Will Scarlett! I loved all the boys in that movie, though!

  8. Briliant interview! I love the questions and the answers are great! This is reminding me of how much I adored Rob's character. ;)

  9. Dying to get my hands on this book! Christian slater was the bomb. John Little sounds fun. Fabulous interview!

  10. Rummanah - ME TOO! I'm really hoping we get more of these characters, I'm definitely ready for a sequel:)

    Kristi - Yay, I'm so glad you loved it too! And I think we're all fans of Christian Slater as Will, he was yummy:)

    Sam - Glad you enjoyed it! I kind want to reread this one after reading her answers:)

    Alyssa - YOU NEED TO READ IT! It's fabulous:)

  11. This totally makes me want to read it.. Well this and your review:)) I just love Robin Hood and I LOVED Christian Slater as Will, gosh he was awesome! And, for me this was one of the best Robin Hood movies...

  12. Lol...Now I have to watch the Disney version of Robin Hood just to check out the "hot fox".

  13. I so wish I had grabbed this on NG! Are you kidding the Disney version of Robin Hood was kick butt awesome, I forgot about the hen with big bosom. Although Christain Slater and Kevin Costner were swoon worthy as well. I would sure like to be at that conference! Fun interview as always Jenny, you write the best questions.

  14. I could totally see John on a book tour stealing the spotlight! He is such a fun guy. And wow--A.C. would be the group's animal trainer? That's so cool!

    Great interview, Jenny. I absolutely loved Scarlet, so this was such a nice peek at the author's thoughts! :)

  15. You had me at “Jackpot!” ;)

    Oh, and don't worry about marketing! We bloggers/ reviewers are a pretty welcoming and friendly group of people! Especially over on Twitter!

  16. Danny - You definitely need to read it, it's made of some major win:) I loved Scarlet and Will!

    Jenny - I used to love that movie! Quality Robin Hood entertainment for sure:)

    Heidi - I had forgotten about that hen until she mentioned her as well. Such a great movie. I hope you get a chance to pick this one up, I highly recommend!

    Lauren - Right? I would ask John all sorts of questions just to get his attention:)

  17. Jenny you come up with such creative questions!
    I wanted to read this since I read your review and keep eying it at the bookstore. I'm sure I'll cave one of these days cause it sounds like a book I'd really enjoy.
    And this interview just has me more anxious to read it!

  18. Yes, I can imagine that sharing your soul's vomit to the world is a bit daunting! But that is a perfect way to put it.

    And based on all the things that Scarlet would say about Rob, I'm already in love with him. Even if he is a jerk sometimes, it sounds like he'd still be able to make me swoon.

    Oh, and that fox was pretty foxy, eh?!

    LOL! Super fun interview, ladies. Thanks for sharing.

  19. Love the interview! I love that Rob is a great motivator! He sounds like my kind of guy :)

  20. Oh man! I need to meet Scarlet and Rob! I love the idea of Scarlett being a woman. I am so curious about this book!

  21. I GOBBLED UP THIS REVIEW. I... *tries to speak* LOVED Scarlet, so much. I'm seriously hoping for more from this story. Gaughen just... made a FREAKING FAN OUT OF ME. This Robin Hood retelling killed. Totally a special shelf book.

    And you can tell Gaughen knows her characters really well, because I imagined them doing all the things she said. GOSH, I loved this book. So happy you loved it too, by the way! :D


  22. Jenny-
    You continually amaze me with your awesome interview questions. And the answers AC Gaughen gave makes me want to read this one even more. This one is definitely on my TBR list. Your review was positively screaming "Read this book!" Again, terrific interview!


  23. Jenny, you always ask the best questions. A.C., loved your answers! Old school Errol Flynn...brings me back to my childhood and those Saturday night movies on PBS. Oh, plus the Disney version! I might have to dig that up and watch it. Such a great story to retell--I have this on my shelf and can't wait to read it.

  24. I loved Scarlet. If you haven't read it yet, put it at the top of your TBR list.

    I never saw the version with Christian Slater, but I've always been partial to the Disney version; c'mon, Sir Hiss?!

    Really good questions and I loved some of the answers (especially that Scarlet would punch Rob). One thing I would've loved to have known, though. I'm assuming/hoping like heck, but I haven't seen there going to be a sequel?

  25. Candace - Thank you! I hope you get a chance to read it, I just loved it to pieces:)

    Missie - I'm quite in love with him as well. They're both just kind of tortured and I love characters like that.

    Savy - Glad you enjoyed it:)

    Melissa - YOU DO! Please read it, it's amazing:)

    Asher - ME TOO! I loved every second of this one, I will definitely be reading anything AC decides to write:)

    Heather - Thank you, I appreciate that:) And I hope my review screamed READ THIS, because that's pretty much all I wanted to say about it:)

    Mary - Thanks so much! I need to buy the Disney version, I don't have it. I'm sure it's in the "vault" though and I'll have to wait until they let it out:)

    Cheryl - Yay! Me too:) I have no idea if there's going to be a sequel, I think everyone that read Scarlet is hoping for one, but I haven't seen any mention of it. *fingers crossed*

  26. I loved the BBC version too, cos Armitage, yum! Loving Gisborne

  27. Ohh, I want to read this one so bad by now. I'm super curious and want more Robin Hood like books with more of it than Pretty Crooked, lol. Love the interview! And "I love the hen in the Disney version–and that fox was pretty hot, for a fox." SO TRUE. LOL

  28. I so want to read this now :) !! I love retellings though I haven't read that many !! I so have to watch the BBC version because I've heard it was awesome !! Really can't wait to read Scarlet now .. Thanks for the great interview Jenny :)

  29. I agree that John would probably be the best of the bunch at a signing.

    I've only watched the Disney version of Robin Hood but I'm going to give Prince of Thieves a try if I can find it because I love the title :)

  30. LOVE LOVE LOVED this book! LOL! But this you know. Did you tell Ms. Gaughen about our request for Scarlet and Rob? LOL! Will there be a sequel?

    Also, I find the fox Robin Hood attractive as well. Glad to know I'm not alone. LOL!

  31. I'm watching the BBC Robin Hood series right now, and it's making me fall in love with the story all over again. I'll be so sad when it's over, but maybe I'll go pick up Scarlet afterwards to ease my pain! Lol.