I f at first you don't succeed, try, try, try again. This wonderful phrase and advice on life certainly applies to Lanarkshire author Liam Leddy. Liam, 63, has lived in Blantyre for over 40 years and has wanted to be an author since he was five. After retiring from a career selling steel, he bought a battered old typewriter in Glasgow's 'Paddy's Market' in 2002 and wrote stories he had been considering in his head for years. His first short story was published online in 2003 and he has gone on to publish six collections of short stories and two crime novels, Body Language and Bad Form. On Saturday, December 1, he will appear at Blantyre Library at 11am for his inaugural appearance as an author at a book talk.
He said: "It is very exciting and I am looking forward to it immensely. "I started off with ideas on bits of paper, and now there is a great sense of accomplishment. "I was 13 before we had a television in the house, so I spent a lot of time as a boy in the library. "I always wanted to write when I was selling metal. "I enjoyed my job and I was good at it, but I always felt I was doing the wrong thing, was in the wrong job." Liam's first memory of wanting to be writer was in 1954 when he impressed his teachers with a story about the American Civil War. It was inspired by the song Two Little Boys, which would go on to be a hit for Australian artist Rolf Harris in 1969. His latest work Bad Form was published in October and focuses on an investigative journalist and his friends on both sides of the law. While set in present day Glasgow, it is shaped by the city in the 1960s and 1970s. "I write about 1960s and 1970s Glasgow - warts and all", said Liam. "That was a very interesting period. "I was growing up at that time and there was lots of things going on, both good and bad. "I wanted to take some characters I remembered from then and bring them up to the present day. "Bad Form centres on a fictional school. There are various things going on in this school, and it is very much not what it appears to be. "I like to call what I write 'faction'. There is an element of reality about it. "I think this makes it more authentic. Characters are based on people I remember when growing up."
Liam's talk at Blantyre Library is part of Book Week Scotland, which began on Monday, November 26, and will see over 350 events taking place across Scotland. Free books will be given away at libraries during the festival, including 150,000 copies of My Favourite Place - a work about Scotland's best loved places written by the public and leading authors and artists including Michael Palin, Alexander McCall Smith and Alasdair Gray. For Liam, his talk is the culmination of a 50-year journey. And he had this piece of advice for any budding writers. He said: "If you want to write, write. Along the way there will be pitfall after pitfall and you will be rejected constantly. "I could paper my walls with rejections. You have got to have skin like a crocodile. "Reject those rejections, and go on." For more information about Liam's talk, contact Blantyre Library on 01698 823808.