August 2010 032Meet the inspiration behind the dragon,Shona, in D A Nelson‘s DarkIsle books.

The trilogy has captivated readers worldwide, but starts in Scotland (where the books are widely read in schools and elsewhere). That’s where this massive stone dragon – constructed from the remnants of a disused railway bridge – sits above the dunes in Irvine Beach Park and has a great view out into the Irish Sea…to Shona’s homeland, which is hidden from human eyes.

Dawn Nelson used to visit the Irvine dragon on day-trips. And the memory of it was still there when she sat down to write the first DarkIsle book. Little bits of real life so often provide the inspiration for fiction.

This young lad was brave enough to have a picnic on the dragon’s head. (Luckily it was half asleep at the time and didn’t seem to mind.) Now he can forever say, ‘I once ate my lunch on a dragon.’ No one will will believe him, of course, but he‘ll know it’s true.

And below is one of our favourite photos of the dragon. Atmospheric or what?

Dragon on Irvine Beach