A renowned American writer stopped off in Falkirk as she continues to research her new book on the sixth century Scottish queen time forgot.
New Yorker Signe Pike gave a talk at an event organised by Teresa Johnston of Sunrise Holistic at the Richmond Park Hotel this week and revealed to assembled guests how she moved from publishing other people’s work in her role as an acquisitions editor at Random House to take the leap and write stories of her own.
Her first book, the autobiographical Faery Tale: One Woman’s Search for Enchantment in a Modern World, started her on a 10-year quest to research and write about Celtic history and folklore.
During her research she uncovered the historical character of Languoreth — a forgotten queen of sixth-century Scotland and twin sister of the man who inspired the legend of Merlin, from the tales of King Arthur.
Languoreth is the main character of Signe’s second book, The Lost Queen – which is due to be published in America in September – and she is already hard at work researching its follow up, which also features Languoreth.
Signe, who now lives in South Carolina, said: “I was in Scotland in October for a month and I’m back because that’s where the characters have taken me. It’s really difficult for me to write about places I’ve never seen, so where the characters in the book go, I have to follow.
“It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it.”
The talk, which took place on Monday, saw Signe reveal how the death of her father, and his regret over never having written a book himself, was a driving force behind her decision to leave her job and become an author.
She also gave people an insight into her writing process and the discipline required to actually sit down and write a novel.
A keen historian, Signe revealed she is aware of the famous Antonine Wall that runs through Bo’ness and Falkirk and expressed a desire to visit the Duncarron fort and village constructed by the Clanranald Trust in Carron Valley
“I’m into ancient history up to early medieval times,” she laughed. “Anything after that is too modern for me.”