Today Lindsay Littleson stops by for a wee chat about Guardians of the Wild Unicorns which is out now on Kindle and in paperback.
Guardians of the Wild Unicorns by Lindsay Littleson
‘Across the moor galloped a huge dark beast; a heavily muscled horse with a gleaming, rippling black mane. The animal reared up, its hooves cutting the sky, its silken tail streaming like a banner. Its spiralled horn glinted in the sun.’ Lewis is cold, wet and miserable on his school residential trip in the Highlands of Scotland. The last thing he expects to see is a mythical creature galloping across the bleak moorland. Unicorns aren’t real… are they? Lewis and his best friend Rhona find themselves caught up in a dangerous adventure to save the world’s last herd of wild unicorns. Fighting against dark forces, battling the wild landscape, and harnessing ancient magic, can they rescue the legendary creatures in time?
Lindsay Littleson has four grown-up children and lives in the village of Uplawmoor near Glasgow. She’s a full-time primary teacher and loves her job. Before becoming a teacher she spent eight years as possibly the worst PAYE auditor ever to be employed by the Inland Revenue.
After taking up writing for children in early 2014 she won the Kelpies Prize for new Scottish writing for children with her first children’s novel, The Mixed-Up Summer of Lily McLean. The sequel, The Awkward Autumn of Lily McLean, was published by Floris Books in 2017 and in March 2018 her children’s historical novel, A Pattern of Secrets, was published by Cranachan Books.
Interview – January – March 2019
Can you tell us a little bit about your book?
Guardians of the Wild Unicorns is being published on the 21st of February by Floris books, an Edinburgh based independent publishing company. It’s a middle grade adventure novel, in which fantasy and reality collide.
Lewis is having a miserable time on his school residential trip in the Highlands of Scotland when he and his best friend, Rhona, find themselves caught up in a dangerous adventure to save the world’s last herd of wild unicorns. The novel treats the unicorns as endangered animals like rhinos and elephants, but there’s a magical element too.
Who would your book be perfect for?
The story is aimed at 9-12 year old readers. When I visit schools and tell pupils that Guardians of the Wild Unicorns is coming out soon, teachers often say to me ‘the girls are going to love that one.’ Agghh! The unicorns in my story are for everyone. Guardians of the Wild Unicorns is the perfect book for people who enjoy exciting adventure stories …with unicorns.
Did you have a favourite character to write?
I’m struggling to choose, as the book alternates between the perspectives of the two main characters, and I love Lewis and Rhona equally!
The residential trip is Lewis’s idea of hell. He doesn’t want to be forced to socialise or to take part in outdoor activities. He’d far rather be left in peace to read a book. But his near fatal encounter with a terrified unicorn changes everything. Lewis’s courage is all the more impressive because he’s so afraid of taking risks.
In contrast, Rhona has a tough, confident front and specialises in non-stop chat and gallus Glaswegian humour. She keeps her insecurities and family problems very much to herself and readers only find out about the secrets she is hiding later in the story.
What inspired you to the write the book?
My inspiration came from a newspaper article about the unicorn being Scotland’s national animal. My first thought was that it was bizarre to have a mythical creature as a national animal and my second thought was, what if unicorns weren’t mythical? What if they were real? What if a herd of unicorns existed in the Scottish Highlands and what if they were being poached for their horns, as rhinos are in Africa, and brought to the brink of extinction? And what if two children, on a Primary 7 residential trip, found out about the herd and decided to try and save the last wild unicorns? So basically Guardians of the Wild Unicorns emerged from a series of What ifs…
Can you share with us a photo from 2018 that meant something special to you?
I took this photo in July 2018 of A Pattern of Secrets in the window of Waterstones in St Andrews. I walked past that window so many times and had to restrain myself from pointing out my book to strangers in the street!
What has been your proudest bookish moment?
Winning the Kelpies Prize in 2014 for my first novel, The Mixed Up Summer of Lily McLean, was one of the proudest moments of my life. I was so excited that my speech was an incoherent mess.
Do you have any questions for your readers?
We’ve been hearing a lot recently from experts about the impact of dividing children’s toys and books by gender. I’d really like to hear the opinions of young people on the issue.
Unicorns have been heavily marketed as ‘for girls’. Should books and toys ever be marketed at one gender?
If yes, why?
If not, why not?
What is your favourite read of your whole life and why?
That’s an impossible question to answer because so many books have been important to me for very different reasons. I’ve loved reading since I was very young, and one of the books I absolutely loved recently was Bookworm by Lucy Mangan, because so much of what she wrote about her favourite childhood books resonated with me, a fellow bookworm.
One of my childhood favourites was Mrs Frisby and the Rats of Nimh. I loved the the character of Mrs Frisby, who seems a very ordinary little mouse, but whose selflessness and courage shine as the story progresses.
Thank you to Lindsay Litteson for stopping by today and come back soon.
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