I’ve never been to Nottingham. Which is a bit odd considering my obsession with Robin Hood in my early years and now in my later years, shooting longbow at our local archery club.
When I was about seven or eight, I made my own bow and played in the woods. I always wanted to be Robin, not Maid Marian. We’d moved to house next to a wooded area, which seemed large to me but probably wasn’t very big.
My mother signed me up for Brownies. I think I only went twice. I wasn’t impressed with the range of activities on offer…none of which involved shooting arrows. And I didn’t want to sit in a village hall with the other girls around a fake fire being a pixie or a kelpie.
One day I came out of the woods just as the Brownie troop was marching down the road. Brown Owl brought them to a halt and kindly asked if I would like to join them on their nature hike. I’ve no idea what I said, if anything. But I disappeared quickly back into the woods and let them march on to study flowers and butterflies while I went returned to fighting off imaginary foes…Guy of Gisborne and the Sheriff of Nottingham.
We moved to Canada not long after that and my first girl crush was over a young woman at the summer camp who taught archery. On my tenth birthday I was given a fibreglass bow with a set of arrows and paper target. It stayed with me until I moved back to England over twenty years later. I gave it to two little boys before leaving…they were absolutely thrilled. (I’m not sure their mother was.)
And then there was a hiatus of many years…working, meeting my wife, getting a university degree, and taking up golf. It was actually another golfer who reignited my interest in archery. She told me about the local club and I took their beginners’ course. That was nine years ago and I still love it.
So, this weekend, I will finally be visiting Robin Hood’s heartland. On Friday I’m taking part in the 1st Annual Waterstones LGBTQ Literature Festival in Nottingham where I will be reading from Deuce. (If you haven’t come across my most recently published novel, take a look at this review from Gaby at Lesreviewbooks)
And then on the weekend I’m looking forward to meeting up with authors, reviewers, and readers at the 10th Bold Strokes Book Festival, also held at Waterstones.
If you can make it, please come along and join in the festivities.