Interview: Author H.E. Coleman On 'The Thief, The Sheriff, His Bitch, And A Bastard'
A modern day feminist trapped back in the Robin Hood medieval period – let the sparks fly. It may sound like a female version of the Martin Lawrence comedy "Black Knight," but it’s actually a sexy and sassy new action packed romance novel titled "The Thief, The Sheriff, His Bitch, and a Bastard" (available now from Scandalous Press via Amazon.com!) by young author H.E. Coleman. Starpulse recently got a chance to chat with Coleman all about her new book, the unusual title and cover art it sports and her inspirations when it comes to writing. So arrows, swords and shields at the ready, here’s…
AUTHOR H.E. COLEMAN!
Where did you draw inspiration for the book?
H.E. Coleman: I've always been a huge fan of Robin Hood, and the medieval time period, but the only book I know about that describes his adventures is over a hundred years old. It's very hard for a person to get excited about a guy's description of merry men running around in tights shouting, "Yea, verily." I wanted to bring a modern touch to the story with romance, and sex, and violence, the way it really would have been. It was a brutal time period - the smell alone could kill you.
So what is the book about?
H.E.: It's about a modern woman, waking up in Sherwood Forest, suddenly thrown into the Robin Hood legend before it began. She has no idea how she got there or how she'll get home and she's not an expert on the times or the story. The only things she knows about Robin Hood are things she's seen in a TV movie of the week. Most of the Robin Hood tales have been made up or adapted over time, so people who know the stories will be as surprised as the main character Lily when things in the book take unexpected twists and turns from the original legend.
There’s lot of fun, but also racy material - any of that personal experience in this book?
H.E.: Um, no comment! It's easier for me to accept that strangers will be reading this book, than to imagine the people I know going, "What - I can't believe she wrote that!" My mom is reading the book right now and I don't think I'll be able to look her in the eye for a while!
The title is an unusual – can you talk about how it came to be?
H.E.: I didn't want to put Robin Hood in the title, because it's not about him. The guy you meet in this book is the younger version of that man, before he became Robin Hood, but the main characters in the story are Robin, Lily, the sheriff, and his evil henchman, Guy of Gisborne. You can't explain who or what Gisborne is in a title that's already long, or hope to convey to people just how much of a bastard he is without shortening the whole description of him to bastard. Most people in the book call him 'the bastard' anyway because his name is almost a worse swear word in their time. Bitch came about because through the whole book men are trying to make women into their bitches, as it was in those times, but Lily refuses to be anyone's bitch which is what gets her into trouble in the first place. All together I think it's a cool, campy kind of name, which is a good representation for the book. It's down and dirty and fun - not your grandmother's romance novel.
Also your cover is unique to say the least – how did you choose it?
H.E.: I looked for a long time at pictures of romance novels and I made about ten covers that I showed to my friend Dominique, who the book is dedicated to. Some had a hooded man and some were funny, but in the end we both fell in love with this picture of a girl stabbing a guy because every romance cover we've ever seen had couples hugging or getting sexy together or looking at each other longingly, and this picture was a girl stabbing a guy like a campy old pulp fiction type of pose. It reminded me so much of the book itself, which is a bit over the top and funny with this modern chick kicking ass all over the place. It didn't hurt that the girl in the picture is wearing a green dress either. We took that as a sign that it was meant to be.
As a writer, who are some of your author heroes?
H.E.: I have to admit I'm a fan of romance, but not necessarily romance novels. I hate that most writers spent forty-seven chapters getting a couple together and then they get into bed and the door closes on them. Or virgins, sleeping with a king, but the author skips over their wedding night together and suddenly they have two kids. To me that's the best part of the story! I got frustrated with flowery descriptions of settings overshadowing the emotions of the characters. One of the reasons I had Lily be a modern girl was so I could add more realistic descriptions of emotions in the book. But my heroes in the writing arena are authors like Douglas Adams and "It Crowd" creator Graham Linehan. One wrote about traveling around the universe and one writes about computer geeks, but both make me laugh and to me that's the hardest type of writing there is.
With actual book and bookstores slowly becoming obsolete and online reading going more mainstream, what is your stance on hardcover vs. the e-book?
H.E.: Personally, I like the feel of a book in my hand. The smell of the pages cracking open. Having said that, THANK GOD for e-books! (Laughs) Ten years ago I used to wait months or years for publishers to read my children's book manuscripts. I think e-books saved us as a society from giant publishing houses who only churn out the same things over and over from the same writers they've always had. Established publishers don't have the money or the balls to look at new writers or go in new directions. They're just stagnating. With e-books new writers with new ideas can upload their work without jumping through impossible hurdles set by power hungry jerkwads. If their work is good, it might find an audience, if it's bad it won't - that's fair. At least e-books give writers who work their asses off a chance to be seen in the first place.
What are you working on next?
H.E.: Book Two of the Bitch series. "The Bastard, The Lord, His Bitch, and a Sword" is scheduled to be released in January 2012. There are going to be five Bitch books in all, so that's going to be fun to write. I've also got three screenplays under my belt, TV shows I’m pitching and I'm currently halfway through two new screenplays - writing is my passion!
To purchase an online copy of "The Thief, The Sheriff, His Bitch, and a Bastard" go to:
And visit H.E.’s Facebook page at:
Book Synopsis: When modern feminist Lily wakes up to find herself in a medieval forest, it doesn't take long for her to run into trouble with the local lawmen of Sherwood. Caught between the brutal Guy of Gisborne, an obsessed sheriff, her lust for Robin Hood, and a desperate need to find a decent toilet, this feisty heroine is not about to take any prisoners in her frantic fight to escape from the past.