Falkirk could soon have an author to rival JK Rowling when it comes to getting the younger generation hooked on literature.
Stuart Reid says his work has been praised by the creator of Harry Potter herself – and like many youngsters she cannot wait to get her hands on his next book.
The Falkirk Herald caught up with Wallacestone’s 45-year-old father-of-two, the man behind the successful children’s book ‘Gorgeous George and the Giant Geriatric Generator’, and discovered he was living out his dream - with a new book released in January, plans for two more and meetings with American and British film makers about possibly transferring his environmentally friendly tales onto the big and small screen.
Stuart took a roundabout route into writing.
“I wanted to be a sports journalist but I took up business studies instead and ended up working in the hotel trade.”
After a short stint up north, Stuart ended up emigrating to Dubai with wife Audrey and children Jess and Charley to look after a hotel in the prosperous paradise.
“However, the family soon realised living the good life was not all it was cracked up to be.
“The materialistic lifestyle didn’t suit us,” said Stuart. “I just thought I only want to do what I like doing from now on.”
For Stuart that meant returning home to Scotland and writing stories about an adventurous, slightly strange looking boy and his Scottish action-hero granddad, initially for his own amusement and the joy of his children.
“Our children and our friend’s boys were not into reading so I came up with these stories for them – I’d had the first book in my head ever since I was 18.
“The things I loved doing were always writing – even if it was just reports – and giving presentations.
“Now I’m a full-time writer giving talks at schools up and down the country. You give children a gift for life if you give them a passion for books.”
Stuart also has a very famous fan who knows a thing or two about writing books for children.
“JK Rowling read the first book,” said Stuart. “Her agent then asked if I could send her a copy of the second one when it comes out. So she must have liked the first one.”
Now, as the January publication date of ‘Gorgeous George and the Zig Zag Zit Faced Zombies’, the second in the series beckons, Stuart could be about to propel his young hero into a whole new medium, on both sides of the Atlantic.
He said: “I met with the BBC and they were talking about turning the first book into a 13-part series and an American film company wanted me to write a script based on the second book but setting it in the USA.”
“It looks like being very interesting times ahead.”