(Referring to my YA historical adventure book, Robin: Lady of Legend)
It was a gradual, decade-long process. When I was younger, Robin Hood was my favorite hero — he was fast, smart, good-humored, cunning, a superb archer, and most of all, human (Superman, I love you, but little girls can’t fly). I had no interest in being Maid Marian, because no matter how smart or strong a writer might make her out to be, she was always subordinate to Robin. It occurred to me as I got older that there are no myths that really empower women. From Odysseus to King Arthur to the classical Robin Hood, women are always playing second fiddle to the guys.
The idea of making Robin a woman really came about when I realized that all of the Robins I knew were girls. I thought, well, if Robin Hood was really a girl, that would explain why ‘he’ wore a hood all the time — to hide ‘his’ hair! — why the Sheriff could never catch ‘him,’ and why ‘he’ was always losing fights to people stronger than ‘himself’ (as frequently happens in the original tales). The clincher came when I read a little book called Heraclea, which purported to be the original story of Hercules, except that in this book, Hercules was really a girl. According to the author, time and a patriarchal society conspired to rewrite Heraclea as a man. And I thought, that could have happened to Robin Hood!
Do I think Robin Hood was really a woman? Likely, no, but wouldn’t it have been cool if she was? My book is about making you believe that Robin Hood could have been a girl, and more importantly, giving girls today an empowering classic heroine of their very own.