colorful unicorn

Unicorns: Fierce and Not So Fantastical

When I shared initial chapters of Being Alien with my Sin City Writer’s Group for feedback, I first explained how this novel was set primarily in Scotland. One participant inquired, “Will it include unicorns in addition to aliens?”

Unicorns? Those silly little ponies, those fantastical creatures favored by girly girls? Why would a novel set in Great Britain involve frippery like unicorns?

Unicorns are pretty big in Scotland, I was told. Once again, flummoxed. How did I not know this having spent a summer studying law in Aberdeen eons ago?

Consequently, I began to learn more about these white horses with the single spiraling horn sprouting from their foreheads.

As a result, I am happy to report that unicorns are now featured in Being Alien, fourth book in my Other Worldly series coming in the blink of a unicorn’s eye, albeit with my own literary twist.

Unicorns may not be alien, but they do exist, even if most humans can’t see them frolicking in the forest.

Here’s what I discovered about these mysterious creatures. First and foremost, unicorns are on the royal coat of arms of Scotland.

When protagonist Rowan Layne hears this, she scoffs, “Those frilly ponies that are all whimsical and mystical? Scrapbook paper always depicts them as purple or pink with rainbows.”

Rowan was as clueless as I was, stymied to discover that the unicorn is the official animal of Scotland, and has been since the late 1300s. They were first introduced into the royal coat of arms in the mid-1500s, and the coat of arms of Mary, Queen of Scots, includes two unicorns.

To which Rowan responds, incredulous, “Scotland has always treated them as if they’re real?”

Indeed. Scotland, and many other earthly locales. For thousands of years, people of the world have believed unicorns exist. They’re featured in many cultures since the classical age, depicted in tapestries, architecture, and paintings.

In Celtic mythology, unicorns are a symbol of purity, innocence and healing power. In my Other Worldly series, they’re something altogether entirely different. Not frippery, but fierce and formidable.

Unicorns in Being Alien more closely resemble the creatures seen as proud, untamable, independent, and famously difficult to capture. As Sir Colin Skye “Red” MacLeod of Scotland says, unicorns are just like the hearty Scots themselves.

Or, as dashing young Scotsman Doug Morrison proclaims, the human eye does not usually see unicorns, because, “They dinna ken the magnificent creature that is most definitely not purple and pink—or festooned with rainbows.”

Unicorns aren’t the only nonhuman entities to be found in the Highlands of Scotland, where, as Rowan notes, everything seems to be named for fairies. In Being Alien, there’s a reason she hears murmured voices stirring whirlwinds in forest glens. And not every creature lurking in lochs is a monster.

If you’ve ever wondered about mystical, magical beings such as unicorns or pixies and elves, if you’ve longed to encounter your very own Brigadoon, or Nessie on the banks of Loch Ness, take a flying saucer ride to the Highlands in Being Alien.

Because in my titillating tale, Scotland with its unicorns may not be a distant star or on another planet in outer space, but it’s most definitely an “other world.”


2 thoughts on “Unicorns: Fierce and Not So Fantastical”

  1. LOL I love it! and totally loved the book, can’t wait for it to come out.

    Love your unicorns. Aren’t glad I mentioned them?

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