Book of the Month: Guardians of the Wild Unicorns
Best friends Lewis and Rhona are at an Outdoor Residential Retreat in the Highlands, far away from their school in the East End of Glasgow.
While Rhona is having the time of her life, Lewis is hating every moment. He doesn’t want to be out in the cold, wet and windy conditions. He’s terrified of heights and is forced to go abseiling. Half way down the side of a cliff wall, Lewis is clinging to the edge, fearing for his life. Suddenly he sees something in the distance. He can’t believe his eyes as a unicorn gallops furiously across the moors!
Lewis and Rhona discover that wild unicorns really do exist, has been driven to the point of extinction and the last herd in existence is hiding in the Scottish Highlands. However, the unicorns are now in terrible danger and are being held captive by the owners of the Langcroft Estate. Lewis and Rhona desperately try to free the unicorns… but will they be able to save them in time?
Guardians of the Unicorns is aimed at children aged 9-12 years. It explores themes of friendship, conservation, adventure and overcoming fears. We asked Lindsay Littleson to share her writing inspiration with us.
What was your inspiration for Guardians of the Wild Unicorns?
My inspiration came from a Herald newspaper article about the unicorn being Scotland’s national animal. It seemed very weird that we have a mythical creature as a national animal, but when I did some research I discovered that when the decision was made to have a unicorn on the Scottish royal coat of arms, people believed that unicorns were real animals. Mary Queen of Scots used powdered 'unicorn horn' to test her food for poison, and Marco Polo claimed to have seen one and described it as an 'ugly brute'. It's likely that he'd actually come across a rhinoceros!
So I thought, what if all those people were right after all? What if unicorns weren’t mythical? What if they were real? What if a herd of unicorns existed in the Scottish Highlands and were being poached to the brink of extinction for their horns, as rhinos are in Africa? 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?
What tips can you give to any aspiring writers?
Get started today. Don't do what I did and wait far too long. It will never be the perfect moment, and you will always feel that you don't have enough time. So get started right now. Go out looking for inspiration; libraries, galleries and museums can be brilliant for sparking story ideas.
Plan your story out first in a way that suits YOU - whether it's on post-it notes, storyboards or rough chapter headings. Think about your plot - is your story worth telling and why? Will readers be able to relate to your main character? Don't worry about grammar and spelling, just get the story down on paper. Editing can happen at a later stage.
Do you have any other books in the pipeline?
I’m about to start the line edit of The Titanic Detective Agency, a middle grade historical novel which is being published by Cranachan Books in April. The Titanic Detective Agency’s main character is 12 year old Aberdonian Bertha Watt, who is travelling 2nd Class on the Titanic with her mother. Bertha realises that some of the passengers are behaving strangely, and is determined to unravel their secrets. With her new friend Madge, Bertha sets up her own detective agency to try and find Johan’s hidden treasure and unmask the identity of the enigmatic Mr Hoffman. They have no idea that disaster is looming for Titanic...
I'm also working on Finding Finch, a middle grade historical novel with a touch of steampunk fantasy!
For the chance to win a copy of Guardians of the Wild Unicorns, just answer the question below before Thursday 28th February 2019:
What is the name of the estate where the wild unicorns are being held captive?