I went from reading meters in Drumchapel to talking in London about how I wrote a best seller

A CHANCE drive through Bearsden gave one man the inspiration he needed to write his first novel.

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A drive through Bearsden inspired Steven McKay to start his book
A drive through Bearsden inspired Steven McKay to start his book

Gas and electric meter reader Steven McKay was on a job in the leafy Glasgow suburb when he passed a house called Sherwood and was inspired to write about Robin Hood.

Three years later, in July 2013, he self-published Wolf's Head, which sold 10,000 copies in the first six months.

Last month the 37-year-old dad of two from Old Kilpatrick released his second book, The Wolf and the Raven, which has also shot up the War Book chart on Amazon.

To the delight of his six-year-old daughter Freya and baby Riley, the first book is available at their local library in Balloch and posters are up in Dalmuir Library.

He said: "I was working in Bearsden and there is a house there called Sherwood.

"I happened to be in that street and I was trying to come up with a character.

"I wanted to do King Arthur and I was thinking, who could I do that is similar, somebody British, and I couldn't think of anything.

"Then I drove down the street and there was the house called Sherwood.

"I have been back to the house and I gave them a signed copy of the book, and they were really nice."

Steven, who left school at 15 and got a job in a whisky factory before becoming a meter reader, did an Open University degree and decided to become an author.

As a child he had loved to write science fiction stories but had never planned to make his hobby a career.

His job requires him to spend a lot of time on his own, driving and walking from house to house.

Steven decided to use the time to plot a book, sitting down at night, when the children were in bed, to write it at the dining room table.

And, after deciding to write about Robin Hood, he absorbed himself in the history of the time, making interesting discoveries about the original character.

"I tried to keep it as realistic as I could," said Steven.

"I went back to the original ballads which are set in Yorkshire.

"Everybody thinks he's from Nottingham, but in the original ballads he's from Yorkshire.

"I thought 'That's good, that's a new spin'."

When Steven finished the book he was knocked back from several publishing agencies, who claimed there was no market for Robin Hood stories.

Frustrated and disappointed he took to social media sites to find out how other authors were sharing their work and discovered Amazon's self-publishing service.

"I just got fed up," said Steven.

"I know guys who have self-published on Amazon and they make a living out of it now.

"So I thought, they've done it, I'll do the same.

"I was quite confident in the book, that was why the rejections really hurt.

"It did get me down.It was like being punched every time you read a rejection.

"But I was confident that it was good, and anybody that had read it really liked it."

Within weeks of being released, the book shot to the top of the charts on Amazon.

Steven, who still does his day job full-time, makes around £1.40 from each sale, and now other authors want to hear about his success, so he has travelled down to London to give talks and share the story behind his own book.

He said: "Going from reading meters in Drumchapel one week to being in London on a panel talking about how I wrote my book... it's amazing.

"To be there with 50 or 60 other authors asking me how I've done it, it's unbelievable, it's just surreal."

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