Aliens of Ailsa Craig started with the research of the west coast of Scotland I did for an earlier story, The Survivor. I looked at the island as a location for that story and decided against it because it literally is a rock in the sea. It is a piece of volcanic plug thrown up in the prehistoric time when much of Scotland was still being physically formed. The history mentioned in the story, refuge for fleeing Catholics, source of curling stones, is as interesting as it gets for anyone not passionate about sea birds.

Anyone who IS passionate about sea birds probably wouldn’t appreciate a story in which Torchwood go trampling all over the island in search of aliens. That taboo was already broken when the TV team featured Flat Holm island, previously a quiet place where people came by the half dozen to look at birds and now they come by the droves to look at Torchwood locations. I don’t think I’ll have quite that effect on Ailsa Craig with this story.

My first idea was for Darius to be trapped in caves with the alien entity after the sun came up. I abandoned that idea simply because Ailsa Craig doesn’t have any caves. It’s a big lump of rock.

Instead I toyed with several different ways in which Darius could get caught in the sunrise and made that the focus of the story – possessed by the alien, his skin burning, fighting for his mind and his body, Owen feeling powerless to help him because there isn’t much he can do for a vampire.

Giving him some of Dougal’s nanogenes to restore his body was a last minute idea mainly because I needed Darius fit and well for future stories and couldn’t have him recuperating in his lair. It seemed the obvious thing, anyway. The cosy love scene between him and Shona was a bit too happy ever after for some readers, who thought Shona was getting too soft about him. But don’t worry, the two of them will have plenty of spats to come.