Genre Talk with Carole Cummings and J Tullos Hennig
December 11

Genre Talk with Carole Cummings and J Tullos Hennig

Hullo, everyone! Lisa and the gang at TNA have kindly agreed to allow me to come natter once or twice a month about genre fiction within the LGBT spectrum, so I’ll be dragging the DSPP authors along with me to answer a few questions and talk about their genres and their books.

Today we’ve got J Tullos Hennig, author of Greenwode, and the soon to be re-released Shirewode.

Years ago, a pagan commoner named Rob of Loxley befriended Gamelyn Boundys, a nobleman’s son, against seemingly insurmountable odds-and with horrific consequences. His home razed by order of the Church, Rob was left for dead, believing his sister, Marion, and his lover, Gamelyn, had perished.

But Gamelyn yet lives. Guilt-ridden by his unwitting betrayal of Loxley, one of the last bastions of the Old Religion, Gamelyn rides off to seek absolution in the Holy Land. Rob vanishes into the greenwode and emerges as leader of a tight-knit band of outcasts who revolt against the powers that be.

When the two lovers meet again, it will be in a brutal, blindfolded game of foxes and hounds that pits Templar assassin against Heathen outlaw. Yet the past cannot be denied, and when Rob discovers Marion is also still alive, the game turns. History will chronicle Robyn Hood and Guy of Gisbourne as the deadliest of enemies, but the reality is more complicated-and infinitely more tragic.

Buy links, etc., can be found at the end of this post, but for now, let’s jump right into the juicy bits, shall we? :)

Carole: So, tell us about your genre.

J Tullos Hennig: I rather have two fictional genres smished into one here, but I think they’re inexorably linked in so many ways. Fantasy is an access to our mythic history and our subtextual selves through storytelling, and Historical is an access to our mythic fantasy of what we want of ourselves through storytelling. Both are glimpsed through a glass—and yes, often darkly—of what we are and were. Both can be weighed down to tedium beneath the formulaic, and both can be—and in my opinion should be—wildly insubordinate. Both are magical in their mix of reality and wish-fulfillment.

My fascination with both genres translates into every story I’ve ever told, really. I’m not sure what it is to write something that doesn’t have a healthy dollop of the subversive and far out, and my preferred reading material doesn’t settle for playing by the rules.

(All right, I will confess to fancying beyond reason the trope of Seven Samurai/Magnificent Seven. I also fancy (waybeyond reason) dragons, kelpies, tricksters, and the little forest dwellers known as fae in Britain or Kowi Anukasha in my ancestral region of the Americas.)

Carole: Why M/M?

J Tullos Hennig: Well, why not? I work in genres that are supposed to subvert the “accepted” paradigm and upend expectations on their pointy heads.

(Not to mention, I’ve been around long enough to remember how and as what that “/” appellation originally began, and to misquote Inigo Montoya: “Everyone keeps using that word. I think it does not mean what they think it means.” ;) )

It comes down to this: the characters are who and what they are, represented in all shades of the spectrum. Far be it from me to tell them differently!

Carole: Okay, so tell us something about Shirewood—or the ‘Wode series in general—we’re not going to get from the synopsis.

J Tullos Hennig: Shirewode is the second installment of a darkly magical re-imagining of the tales of Robyn Hode (and why yes, that is one of the original spellings). The mythos and legends are paramount. Robyn is the trickster and Green Man, possessed by the Horned Lord, a spirit of the primordial forest, who is losing his magic to the iron of noblemen’s politics and the cold stones of Church doctrine. In a theological twist only a stroppy dissident could come up with, Robyn swears he’ll defend the sacred space of the Shire Wode to his last breath—if his god will let him be a lover, not a fighter, to the nobleman’s son who is fated to be his archenemy.

The introductory novels are comprised up of a duology: the soon-to-be re-released Shirewode, and its predecessor Greenwode. The series arc will be completed with an upcoming trilogy, commencing in Autumn 2015 with the third book in the series, Winterwode.

Read more at The Novel Approach.

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