An interview with Will Scarlet

The Legend of Allyn a Dale
by: Danielle E. Shipley

Will Scarlet. Cousin of the illustrious Robin Hood, and the reputed “Merry Madman” of his honorable outlaw band. Born in 12th-century Nottinghamshire; died in woodland battle at age twenty-six; has spent the end of the 20th century and first several years of the 21st hamming it up in Avalon Faire – one part Midwestern American Renaissance Faire, one part magical Faerie isle from Arthurian legend. First introduced in Book One of the Outlaws of Avalon Trilogy – (and subsequently spotted running gaily amok in Books 1.5 through 2.5) – Will steps away from his fictional world just before Book Three’s opening to participate in this interview. Any excuse to talk about himself is a good one!

Are you the hero of your own story?
“Oh, Lord, no,” Will snorts. “If I were, it’d be my name in the book titles, wouldn’t it? The Ballad, Marriage, and Legend of Will Scarlet, or some such! But that’s not me, it’s all Allyn-a-Dale – the bard of the party, the fantasy world wonder, The Chosen One™. I’m mostly just the sidekick who makes sure we all hit our daily quota of tomfoolery. A demanding job, to be sure, but no worries – I make it look hot!”

Do you have a hero?
“Hell yes! Not to go all hipster on you, but…” – he dons a pair of thick-framed eyewear – “cousin Robin was my hero before he ever donned a hood. I grew up basically idolizing him, and then he goes all vigilante and gets a price on his head – like a boss! I couldn’t be prouder to practically share his face. Seriously, he’s almost as gorgeous as I am. The world is blessed.”

Who was your first love?
“Ah.” The smile on his face shrinks crooked. “That would be Marion. Yeah, that Marion; the one who decided she’d rather marry Robin. That’s cool. Makes sense. He is Robin, after all. I’d probably marry him, too, if the opportunity arose. Can’t blame her. It’s just… yeah, getting over that one took a while.”

Who is your true love?
Will finger-gun points. “That is very much what I’d like to know. Like, I am actively wondering that. Here’s hoping I find out before the end of Book Three, eh? Since, y’know, it’s the end of the trilogy, a.k.a. kind of my last chance, and I would really like to not end it all alone, please.”

Was there a major turning point in your life?
“Uh, yeah, I’d say so,” he wildly laughs. “How ‘bout that time I died and woke up in Avalon? Went from a life of medieval banditry to playing myself in a Ren Faire in the ‘80s – there’s a turning point for you! And I mean, sing hey for modernity, but living with Merlin as my boss and jailor isn’t exactly my ideal afterlife.”

What is the most important thing that ever happened to you? Why?
“The most important?” he says, his smile going soft. “That’s easy. Allyn-a-Dale. Why? Because Allyn’s my best friend. And as any Merry Man can tell you, friendship is the most important thing. That, or standing up to injustice via morally defensible highway robbery. Or … shooting arrows at things? I dunno what the company line is. Ask Robin.”

What in your past had the most profound effect on you?

What in your past would you like to forget?
“Sherwood.” One corner of his mouth tugs up. “Fortunately, the Faerie magic that’s been keeping me alive these last decades is notorious for messing with mortal memories. So I couldn’t remember most of my pre-death past even if I wanted to. Unless, say, Book Three’s plot sends me and the band back in time to relive the trauma all over again. But what are the odds of exactly that?”

Long ago: Hailed as heroes, killed as criminals, an extraordinary band of outlaws met their end in Sherwood Forest – all except the four who were supernaturally saved, and the one who did not exist. …Not yet.

Now: With Avalon Faire’s living legends finally free to move between the realms of magic and modernity, there’s no dream too fantastic to reach – including that kept alive by a secret society, awaiting only the right time, and the right minstrel, to rewrite history.

Just when the future seems brightest, the Merry Men find themselves thrust into the past, facing a second chance at the lives they might have lived … or the death they might not have the luck to cheat twice. For the otherworldly Allyn-a-Dale, it’s all in a day’s destiny. For an already struggling Will Scarlet, it’s a nightmare that may prove black enough to break him. And for the whole of the band, it’s anyone’s guess whether courage, cunning, and camaraderie can win out against their most infamous enemies: The Sheriff of Nottingham, Sir Guy of Gisborne, and – for once in eternity – Time.

“The Legend of Allyn-a-Dale” (Outlaws of Avalon, Book 3) — coming October 3, 2017!

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