Today I'm talking with Diane Reed about her new book "Robin in the Hood."
1. What was your inspiration for this book? I grew up in an exceptionally affluent area (although my family was middle class). And in high school, as I got to know some of the rich girls, I noticed that many of them were “emotional orphans”. Their parents were too ambitious & self-absorbed to pay attention to them! So even though they had everything money could buy, they didn’t have genuine love. I wanted to write a book that did justice to the problems girls like this face, since everyone thinks they have it all. I also worked with juvenile delinquents when I got out of college, and many of the young men I dealt with were committing crimes to provide for their families. So again, I wanted to write a book where boys like that are seen in a different light. Sometimes people do bad things in the name of love, and I thought it would be interesting to see what happens when a formerly rich girl and criminal poor boy get together to rob banks and to try to create a better situation for the ones they love.
2. Would you classify your writing as plot driven or character driven? Oh, definitely character driven! The inner lives of my characters—their hopes and dreams and loves—matter very deeply to me. Above all, I’m fascinated by how people connect with each other and what they are prepared to do for love. But with that said, I think pacing is vitally important in novels, so I always try to write a great, page-turning story where the events that are happening keep people mesmerized (and hopefully awake at night reading!).
3. Can you tell us a little about your main character? Robin McArthur is a very lonely rich girl whose family loses all their money—so she has to make a decision whether to ditch them and make a run for it or choose LOVE and try to save them.
4. Which of your supporting characters was the most challenging to write? Brandi was hard to write because she’s a sexy trailer park vixen with a big heart of gold and a LOT more depth to her than most people would imagine at first glance. She comes across as cartoonish initially, but that’s only her act so that people won’t be aware of how much she’s really hurting. I wanted her to be funny but also multi-dimensional.
5. Without giving away too much, tell us a little about the main conflict in this book. By far, the main conflict of the book is whether Robin can learn to trust people and open her heart! She’s been disappointed and hurt by her family so much in the past. But she has to make a choice—either to live the rest of her life as a closed-off person, or reach out to others and be the change she wants to see in the world. Luckily, she chooses the latter. But for her, it involves robbing banks to support her family and friends…
6. Why did you choose this genre? Oh, I love the YA genre so much because the choices teens make at this age, while they are still in their formative years, will affect the rest of their lives! It’s a fascinating period of learning and growth.
7. What do you hope readers take away from this book? That love works miracles. I really believe that—even for people who do bad things in the name of love. Eventually they’ll find their way. I sincerely believe the Universe blesses people who try to love.
8. Who are your favorite authors? I love everything! I recently read Colleen Hoover’s Hopeless, which I really enjoyed, but I also love literary award-winners like Marilynne Robinson (who wrote Gilead).
9. Do you have any interesting rituals or habits when you write? You bet. I light candles and look at dreamy & beautiful images on my collage board and wear special magical potions and the whole bit. I guess I’m woo-woo that way (a lot like my gypsy character Granny Tinker : )
10. Can you tell us about any future projects? Yes—I’m writing the sequel to Robin in the Hood where Robin & Creek go to Italy so Robin can find her long-lost mother. I’m also finishing up a fairy tale book for boys.
Robin in the Hood is available now from Amazon, B&N, Kobo, and Goodreads.
Connect with Diane Reed at www.banditsranch.com or message her on facebook or twitter (@DianeJReed).