The idea for this story has probably been in my subconscious for years. Like many Hebrideans, I was haunted by the depopulation of many of the smaller Western Isles. And there was no story more haunting than the evacuation of the lonely Isles of St Kilda.
I read several books and watched documentaries years ago. It was probably inevitable when I decided to start writing short stories that St Kilda would present itself as an inspiration.
One day Calum and Sheena turned up in my head, in that first scene in their cottage, demanding I tell their story. I was busy with life and other demands, but their story simply would not leave me alone. They felt incredibly real to me. So I had to write it down.
I found it very moving to discover the day I was finalising my story, was the same day the last St Kildan died. My story felt even more like a homage to these remarkable island people. Of course other islands became uninhabited in the twentieth century, but in these cases it happened more gradually and the world was not watching.