Fan showcase: Prue Batten (part 2)

Part 2 of my interview with Prue Batten, Richard Armitage fan and author of Gisborne: Book of Pawns, which appeared on Sunday. Part 1 of the interview is found here. Leave a comment on any segment of the interview for a chance to win a free e-book of this great title; rules of the giveaway are here. Or buy Gisborne: Book of Pawns on amazon for $2.99. And, for another interview with Prue and another opportunity to win a free ebook, go here.


Redemption is an important theme in Gisborne: Book of Pawns. Prue found a scene in Robin Hood 3.9 that proved what she had began to believe about Guy of Gisborne already in 2.7:

Prue says: “I felt his gentle care of Meg as she lay dying echoed his desperate need to protect Marian, although some would argue that protection was merely another word for possession. With Meg, I sensed a rounding out of the circle. This storyline showed that no man lies beyond redemption.”


S: Thanks for sharing an advance copy of Gisborne: Book of Pawns so I could read it for this interview. Can you reveal your favorite scene to us?

Prue Batten: It was a pleasure, Servetus. My favorite scene of all takes place in Saint Eadgyth’s convent, where Ysabel allows us to sense what she is experiencing in extraordinary detail. That scene also received a satisfying response from my beta-readers and from my UK editor. My other favorite scene (spoiler alert) occurs when Gisborne reaches out to Ysabel and says: “What I do, I do for you and for William.” That speaks volumes to me. No more explanation as I don’t want to spoil the read!

S: You note in your preface that Guy of Gisborne is a standard literary character in the Robin Hood legend, but that you move well beyond a fairly stock villain from a medieval ballad. I agree – and not just because you take him almost entirely out of that mythopoetical context. What do you see as your most original or important contribution to or insight into the Guy of Gisborne character, who will certainly outlive Mr. Armitage?

Prue Batten: That deep and diverse elements combine to make him what he is. Effectively, that a man can be innocent until proven guilty and that a life sentence can be mitigated by extenuating circumstances. Sometimes  — even as readers of myth — we do need to hear the whole story.



S: What was the hardest part of writing the story?

Prue Batten: The need to remain faithful to the timeline and history of Richard I and John. It was an incredible constraint. Sometimes I felt as if I wanted to throw it all to the four winds and just write what I wanted. But I couldn’t, as historical fiction requires respect for the facts that are already laid down.

S: What do you most hope readers will like about it?

Prue Batten: I hope that readers find Gisborne as magnetic as he was in the BBC Robin Hood and that they find my story as believable as the traditional canon.


Gisborne the Magnetic: Richard Armitage as Guy of Gisborne in Robin Hood 3.5. Source:


 S: As a fan of “The Sheriff’s Collector,” I enjoyed it, but I think the story will also speak to readers who don’t necessarily carry a picture of Armitage or his performance in that role in their minds. What do you see as the key step to making that jump possible for a potential reader? How do you keep the things that inspired you, but make them legible to wider audiences?

Prue Batten: One has to write a completely credible character. If he is believable, then any reader, Armitage aficionado or not, will accept and enjoy the story. I hope.

S: Conversely, when I wanted to, I could definitely see Richard Armitage in your Gisborne, but at the same time he’s not quite the same. What do you see as the most important differences between his Gisborne and yours?

Prue Batten:In my story, Gisborne is bound only by his own ambition. In the BBC Robin Hood, Gisborne was bound by the Sheriff’s ambition and his own lack of self-respect. Thus, a profound difference lies in my construction of Guy, which allows him to have far more strength, something that only becomes evident in the BBC Gisborne in series 3.


A moment of quiet strength: Guy admits to killing to Sheriff and vows to kill Isabella as well in Robin Hood, episode 3.10. Source:


S: You said above / yesterday that the most important piece of Armitage’s portrayal to preserve was his construction of Gisborne as anti-hero (as opposed to villain). Without revealing too much of the plot, in a situation where there’s no hero to serve as a foil (Robin – whom many Armitage fans may be happy to see completely absent from this novel), how did you transfer Guy’s anti-heroic qualities to the novel?

Prue Batten: A quick link here to Wikipedia’s definition of an anti-hero might be helpful. For me, it was important that Gisborne not be an archetypal hero. I wanted him to have that volatile tripwire that leads readers (and viewers) to wonder about his heroism. I also wanted my readers to develop a modicum of sympathy for him when they begin to learn of his life, even while they feel as if he could and maybe does act in ways of which they disapprove. It makes for a much more complex and interesting character.

S: With regard to the decision to restructure the narrative that you refer to above as decisive for your transition from fanfiction to novel, I admit that as a reader, I had been expecting the novel to conform to the modified flashback structure that much of the fanfic seemed to imply. What spurred that decision?

Prue Batten: Linear narrative is much cleaner; it allows the pace of the story to increase from the first chapter. A looping narrative inevitably slows a story down, as the reader tracks back and forth. And if the reader is in the position of having to pick the book up and put it down, the linear narrative is much easier to jump back into.

Today: Leave a comment for a chance to win a free e-book copy of Gisborne: Book of Pawns!

Tomorrow: Now you’ve heard about the hero, what about the heroine? Now you’ve heard about the myth, what about the history? Tune in tomorrow, when Prue discusses medieval history, images, and women, and finally answers the pressing question: why does Ysabel bathe so much?


Prue Batten is a truly globalized personality. Read her own bio here. Judi interviewed her on writing. She talked about her attitude toward historical fiction in an interview supporting Richard Armitage’s Richard III ambitions. You’d think a lady who spends a lot of time on a complicated form of embroidery‘d be sedate, but she participates in those twitter novel projects, proving that she has a wild side. She’s fascinated by a thousand-year-old book. If she could have any superpower, she’d want to breathe underwater. She’s afraid of snakes.


[Fan showcases are an irregular feature on “me + richard armitage.” These segments seek to highlight the opinions and activities of a cross-segment of the very diverse group of people who have become fans of Richard Armitage. Previous showcases can be found here: bZirk, Eli, LadyKate63, fitzg, Angieklong, khandy, jazzbaby1, Amanda Jane, Jane (part 1, part 2, part 3). I plan to continue this feature intermittently, so if you are interested in being interviewed, please let me know. My email address can be found in the sidebar under “About.” — Servetus]

~ by Servetus on February 29, 2012.

8 Responses to “Fan showcase: Prue Batten (part 2)”

  1. Terrific images. Just as I imagine Guy Mark II to look!


  2. Hi – Great interview…looking forward to reading the book. Any ideas how I can get hold of it in the UK? It’s not available on Amazon.


    • Hello Kathryn. My UK digital publisher is currently in the throes of publishing with Amazon. In the meantime, this link below was sent to me by a UK resident. I’ve no idea if it’s live as Amazon identify me immediately as a non-UK resident and therefore unable to activate a purchase.

      Best of luck. If that fails, it is only a question of a few days for standard UK availability through


  3. […] Gisborne: Book of Pawns, which appeared on Sunday. Part 1 of the interview is found here; Part 2 is here. Leave a comment on any segment of the interview for a chance to win a free e-book of this great […]


  4. […] Tomorrow, more on the book. From the back cover: “Ysabel of Moncrieff .. Guy of Gisborne .. Two people drawn together by loyalty, lust, and a lost inheritance and whose existence depends on whom they trust.” Intrigued? You should be. Buy your own copy here, or leave a comment on this post to be entered in the ebook giveaway! […]


  5. While you may still comment here, entries for the contest have now closed.


  6. […] Angieklong, khandy, jazzbaby1, Amanda Jane, Jane (part 1, part 2, part 3), and Prue Batten (part 1, part 2, part 3). I plan to continue this feature intermittently, so if you are interested in being […]


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