Ask the Author: Jenny Elder-Moke
What would you like readers to know about you?
I’d like readers to know that I’m just like them – I was a reader first and foremost. I grew up on books, on stories and worlds I could escape into for fantastic journeys. When I write, I want to recreate those same spaces I so desperately needed as a young reader – worlds they can escape into when they want to lose themselves for a while.
What is your book about for those who haven’t read it?
HOOD tells the story of Isabelle of Kirklees, daughter of Maid Marien and Robin Hood (though she doesn’t know that last bit when the story starts out). Isabelle longs for a life beyond the sheltered walls of her convent and seeks solace in the surrounding woods, dreaming of a life of adventure. But those dreams turn to nightmares when Isabelle is arrested by royal soldiers while defending innocent villagers. Now she is the target of the powerful and ruthless lord known as the Wolf, the fearsome right hand of King John and an old enemy of her family. Desperate to keep Isabelle safe, her mother helps her escape and sends her to the last person she expects: her father, Robin Hood.
Isabelle races to stay out of the Wolf’s clutches and find the father she’s never known. She is thrust into a world of thieves and mercenaries, new adversaries with old grudges, and a king who wants her entire family dead. As she joins forces with Robin and his Merry Men against the Wolf, she must find the strength to defy the crown to save the lives of everyone she holds dear.
What has been your inspiration for writing it?
I actually got the inspiration from watching the BBC version of Robin Hood they did back in the early 2000s. It was fun and cheeky, but still had serious plot lines and consequences for the characters, and I hadn’t seen Robin Hood done that way in a long time. Usually it was either very serious, or very campy (don’t get me wrong, I love Robin Hood: Men in Tights), and I liked that the show walked the line between the two vibes. And since I write YA, the idea of a new generation of Merry Men as seen through the eyes of his daughter felt like a natural evolution of the story. It was a way to enjoy the best of the legend, while still telling a story that was new to the canon.
What was your favorite scene or part of your book to write?
Oh, Robin was hands down my favorite to write. He’s ridiculous in the best way, and he’s so perfectly comfortable with who he is that he gets to be his best self. The Robin from the original stories was a great mix of being pompous and kind, braggardly and humble, always willing to play a trick whether it was on his friends or on the sheriff. So, I really got to lean into that with him.
What books or authors inspired you to become a writer?
Whew that’s a long list hahahaha. But my favorite writers when I was a kid were Madeleine L’Engle and David Eddings. They’re still author goals for me, honestly. They were both prolific, created emotionally compelling characters you loved, and built worlds so engrossing you hid in the bathroom reading until 4 am (or maybe that last bit was just me). Every few years I reread both of their works, and I’m right back in that world. It’s an incredible act of time travel.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors who want to write a book?
If you’d asked me this question before I sold a book, I would have given some very prescriptive advice like “study the craft” or “find a critique partner” or something like that. And those are all great, necessary steps to becoming a professional writer! But honestly, the advice I’d give now is remember to have fun. It’s the advice I need every day, because once your passion becomes your business, it fundamentally changes. And remembering why you want to do this, and what joy it brings you, will become so much more precious and important.
Buy links for HOOD: https://jennyeldermoke.com/books/hood-2/