The Qwillery | category: The Lost Queen


The Qwillery

A blog about books and other things speculative

Interview with Signe Pike, author of The Lost Queen Trilogy

Please welcome Signe Pike to The Qwillery. The Lost Kingdom, the 2nd novel in The Lost Queen Trilogy, was published on September 15th by Atria Books.
TQWelcome back to The Qwillery. Your new novel, The Forgotten Kingdom (The Lost Queen 2), was published on September 15th. Has your writing process changed (or not) from when you wrote The Lost Queen (2018) to The Forgotten Kingdom?
Signe:  Thanks for having me back! With this second book I’ve had the chance to experiment with some new writing elements that I found very exciting – writing from multiple perspectives being one. The Forgotten Kingdom also taught me new lessons about trusting my instincts, and listening to my inner voice that brought some magical results. 
TQ:  In our last interview you stated that the most challenging thing about writing for you is "Drowning out the voice of my inner critic and keeping my mind focused on the task at hand." Have your challenges changed? 
Signe:  The challenge with this book was trusting, and time. I had to give enough slack on the rope and hope the story would take me where I wanted to end up. And it did! With this book, I felt much more confident about writing fiction, and I knew and loved my characters so well, the inner critic isn’t quite as loud. 
TQ:  What do you wish that you knew about book publishing when The Lost Queen came out that you know now? 
Signe:  Honestly, there’s nothing in my perception of publishing that has changed. It’s a beautiful, resilient creature, book sales are up 12% this year across the industry, even as we’ve experienced such tremendous difficulty as a country. People need stories now more than ever, myself included. They are sacrosanct. 
TQ:  Tell us something about The Forgotten Kingdom that is not in the book description. 
Signe:  This book might make you cry. If it doesn’t, you might not be human. 
TQ:  Which character in the The Lost Queen series (so far) surprised you the most? Do you have a favorite character (we won't tell the others)?
Signe:  I love all my protagonists, but in The Forgotten Kingdom, I developed a particular fondness for some of the new characters who showed up. Muirenn, Talorcan, and especially Diarmid. I love his ornery sense of humor.
TQ:  Please give us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery lines from The Forgotten Kingdom. 
Signe:  “I do not know whether I fear him or am calling him as I stand upon the boulder, high above the iron salt waters, looking out over the winter hills. I stand upon the boulder and wait for Rhydderch and his men. I wait. I watch. And I remember.” I’d been stuck trying to figure out how to begin The Forgotten Kingdom, waiting for Lailoken to come close. When he finally strode onto the page, this was what I heard. I built the book around these words. 
TQ:  Is there anything that you can share about the TV series? 
Signe:  Nothing in TV or film is ever certain, but there is such an incredible team behind these books, and so far, things are still in the works. 
TQ:  What's next? 
Signe:  I’m looking forward to settling back into my office and diving into the research again as I start thinking about the third book in the trilogy. The research is what gets me excited. I find something that it seems no one else has discovered or written about, and it makes my pulse skip a beat. When I come across something and think, “How does no one know about this?” That usually means it’s an element that will surface in the book. I love piecing historical clues back together. That feels like my purpose. 
TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery. 
Signe:  I hope I’ll “see you” again for book three! In the meantime, I’ll be working away…. 
The Forgotten Kingdom
The Lost Queen 2
Atria Books, September 15, 2020
Hardcover and eBook, 496 pages
From the author of The Lost Queen, hailed as “Outlander meets Camelot” (Kirsty Logan, author of Things We Say in the Dark) and “The Mists of Avalon for a new generation” (Linnea Hartsuyker, author of The Golden Wolf), a new novel in which a forgotten queen of sixth century Scotland claims her throne as her family is torn apart and war looms.

AD 573. Imprisoned in her chamber, Languoreth awaits news in torment. Her husband and son have ridden off to wage war against her brother, Lailoken. She doesn’t yet know that her young daughter, Angharad, who was training with Lailoken to become a Wisdom Keeper, has been lost in the chaos. As one of the bloodiest battles of early medieval Scottish history scatters its survivors to the wind, Lailoken and his men must flee to exile in the mountains of the Lowlands, while nine-year-old Angharad must summon all Lailoken has taught her and follow her own destiny through the mysterious, mystical land of the Picts.

In the aftermath of the battle, old political alliances unravel, opening the way for the ambitious adherents of the new religion: Christianity. Lailoken is half-mad with battle sickness, and Languoreth must hide her allegiance to the Old Way to survive her marriage to the next Christian king of Strathclyde. Worst yet, the new King of the Angles is bent on expanding his kingdom at any cost. Now the exiled Lailoken, with the help of a young warrior named Artur, may be the only man who can bring the Christians and the pagans together to defeat the encroaching Angles. But to do so, he must claim the role that will forever transform him. He must become the man known to history as “Myrddin.”

Bitter rivalries are ignited, lost loves are found, new loves are born, and old enemies come face-to-face with their reckoning in this compellingly fresh look at one of the most enduring legends of all time.
The Lost Queen
The Lost Queen 1
Atria Books, June 4, 2019
Trade Paperback, 560 pages
Hardcover and eBook, September 4, 2018

Interview with Signe Pike, author of The Lost Queen Trilogy
Outlander meets Camelot” (Kirsty Logan, author of The Gracekeepers) in the first book of an exciting historical trilogy that reveals the untold story of Languoreth—a powerful and, until now, tragically forgotten queen of sixth-century Scotland—twin sister of the man who inspired the legendary character of Merlin.

Intelligent, passionate, rebellious, and brave, Languoreth is the unforgettable heroine of The Lost Queen, a tale of conflicted loves and survival set against the cinematic backdrop of ancient Scotland, a magical land of myths and superstition inspired by the beauty of the natural world. One of the most powerful early medieval queens in British history, Languoreth ruled at a time of enormous disruption and bloodshed, when the burgeoning forces of Christianity threatened to obliterate the ancient pagan beliefs and change her way of life forever.

Together with her twin brother Lailoken, a warrior and druid known to history as Merlin, Languoreth is catapulted into a world of danger and violence. When a war brings the hero Emrys Pendragon, to their door, Languoreth collides with the handsome warrior Maelgwn. Their passionate connection is forged by enchantment, but Languoreth is promised in marriage to Rhydderch, son of the High King who is sympathetic to the followers of Christianity. As Rhydderch's wife, Languoreth must assume her duty to fight for the preservation of the Old Way, her kingdom, and all she holds dear.

“Moving, thrilling, and ultimately spellbinding” (BookPage), The Lost Queen brings this remarkable woman to life—rescuing her from obscurity, and reaffirming her place at the center of the most enduring legends of all time. “Moving, thrilling, and ultimately spellbinding, The Lost Queen is perfect for readers of historical fiction like The Clan of the Cave Bear and Wolf Hall, and for lovers of fantasy like Outlander and The Mists of Avalon” (BookPage).
About Signe
Photograph by Tiffany Mizzell
Signe Pike is the author of The Lost Queen, The Forgotten Kingdom, and the travel memoir Faery Tale, and has researched and written about Celtic history and folklore for more than a decade. Visit her at
Twitter @SignePike
Photograph by Tiffany Mizzell

Interview with Signe Pike, author of The Lost Queen

Please welcome Signe Pike to The Qwillery as part of the 2018 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Lost Queen is published on September 4th by Touchstone.

Please join all of us at The Qwillery in wishing Signe a very Happy Publication Day!

Interview with Signe Pike, author of The Lost Queen

TQWelcome to The Qwillery. What is the first piece you remember writing?

Signe:  I got my first diary in second grade. When I think back on my earliest writing, this is what comes to mind, because it contains the purest seed of my relationship with writing. "Dear Diary..." I wrote to my diary as if it were my truest friend. My relationship with writing has become more complex as I've aged because of the various forms in which I work with writing -- memoir, poetry, fiction. But at the heart of it, has anything really changed at all? Writing is still my truest friend. I turn to it, I confide in it, I create with it. Every day it saves me.

TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Signe:  Hybrid! In historical fiction the timeline, historical people and historical events create the foundation of the plot. The pantser part comes in having to reimagine the motivations and details.

TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Signe:  Two things - Drowning out the voice of my inner critic and keeping my mind focused on the task at hand.

TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Signe:  Ancient Celtic culture, a reverence for the natural world, other writers of all genres who have a deftness to their craft, the desire to know.

TQDescribe The Lost Queen using only 5 words.

Signe:  Family, love, belief, war, destiny.

TQTell us something about The Lost Queen that is not found in the book description.

Signe:  In this book you will read about delicious early medieval food and adorable white cows.

TQWhat inspired you to write The Lost Queen? What appeals to you about writing a historical fiction?

Signe:  I was inspired to write The Lost Queen when I learned who Languoreth was and the truly epic events in history she lived through. Historical fiction is a powerful way to resurrect people from our past who deserve to be remembered.

TQWhat sort of research did you do for The Lost Queen?

Signe:  What sort of research... tons, and never-ending! I looked at -- and continue to look at, being that this is the first in a trilogy -- hagiographies of saints, ancient Welsh triads, scholarly papers on everything from the Arthurian legends to archeological studies of pollen in early medieval Ireland and Britain, books on ancient Celtic society, on gender roles and early medieval women in the Celtic world, ancient poetry, ancient law. When I visit Scotland, I travel to hillforts and explore with Ordinance Survey maps to try and find possible ruin locations, I visit museums, lots of libraries, and talk to local people in an effort to uncover folk memory of various locations. It's like being a really geeky detective, but with sturdy hiking boots and lots of bug spray.

TQPlease tell us about the cover for The Lost Queen.

Signe:  The cover contains symbolism central to the book in both the animal depicted and the brooch.

TQIn The Lost Queen who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Signe:  Languoreth was the easiest character to write - her voice just seemed to come very effortlessly. The hardest character to write was Mungo. He is the patron saint of Glasgow, but it's difficult to reconcile the tone of his hagiography (i.e. that of miracle worker and persecuted, saintly saint!) with the actions detailed within that very same account. When you begin to consider how Mungo's historical actions would have effected those he directly impacted, those on the other side of the story, it becomes nearly impossible to see him as a saint.

TQWhich question about The Lost Queen do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Signe:  Question: What percentage of your day do you spend wishing you could dress in tailor-made early medieval dresses and ride white horses?

Answer: 100%

TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from The Lost Queen.


“War is not about victory. War is about survival.”

"This was the time before we were seen, when none knew of our presence save the spirits of the wood in their sunset kingdom."

“In times such as these, when the people need a hero, so are such heroes

TQIf you could go back in time and visit one of the 6 Celtic nations (Brittany, Scotland, Ireland, Isle of Man, Cornwall or Wales) where would you go and when?

Signe:  Yes, please. Oh, just one? OK, fine. I would visit Scotland, of course. I would give anything to be able to step inside Languoreth and Lailoken's real childhood home, the timber hall I believe lies buried or lost beneath the ruins of a much later medieval castle in Chatelherault Country Park in Hamilton.

TQWhat's next?

Signe:  Book Two of The Lost Queen Trilogy! The book opens right where The Lost Queen leaves off, right in the middle of the action. It's exhilarating and has been incredible so far to write. The world of The Lost Queen feels to me as if it just explodes in Book Two into this new and even fuller experience of Languoreth's story, told from a few carefully chosen view points. I'm following characters I love as each of them embarks on their own transformative "hero's" journey. I've got people running all over various parts of Scotland (the site research has been nuts for Book Two), and there's this over-arching pressure pressing down upon all these people due to the historical events that were taking place. The voices are coming through so strongly. I can't wait to get home from book tour and get back to it!

TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Signe:  It's been a pleasure. I hope to hear from readers who take on the challenge and have a chance to read the book!

The Lost Queen
The Lost Queen 1
Touchstone, September 4, 2018
Hardcover and eBook, 544 pages

Interview with Signe Pike, author of The Lost Queen
Compared to Outlander and The Mists of Avalon, this thrilling first novel of a debut trilogy reveals the untold story of Languoreth—a forgotten queen of sixth-century Scotland—twin sister of the man who inspired the legend of Merlin.

I write because I have seen the darkness that will come. Already there are those who seek to tell a new history...

In a land of mountains and mist, tradition and superstition, Languoreth and her brother Lailoken are raised in the Old Way of their ancestors. But in Scotland, a new religion is rising, one that brings disruption, bloodshed, and riot. And even as her family faces the burgeoning forces of Christianity, the Anglo-Saxons, bent on colonization, are encroaching from the east. When conflict brings the hero Emrys Pendragon to her father’s door, Languoreth finds love with one of his warriors. Her deep connection to Maelgwn is forged by enchantment, but she is promised in marriage to Rhydderch, son of a Christian king. As Languoreth is catapulted into a world of violence and political intrigue, she must learn to adapt. Together with her brother—a warrior and druid known to history as Myrddin—Languoreth must assume her duty to fight for the preservation of the Old Way and the survival of her kingdom, or risk the loss of them both forever.

Based on new scholarship, this tale of bravery and conflicted love brings a lost queen back to life—rescuing her from obscurity, and reaffirming her place at the center of one of the most enduring legends of all time.

About Signe

Interview with Signe Pike, author of The Lost Queen
Photo by Tiffany Mizzell Photography ©
Signe Pike is the author of the travel memoir Faery Tale and has researched and written about Celtic history and folklore for more than a decade. A former book editor, she lives in Charleston, South Carolina where she writes full time. Visit her at

Twitter @ SignePike  ~  Facebook

Interview with Signe Pike, author of The Lost Queen TrilogyInterview with Signe Pike, author of The Lost Queen

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