Kirkintilloch was Paradise for budding writer and Celtic fan...

Paradise Road
Paradise Road

HEAVENLY inspiration is behind a new book which blazes a trail from Kirkintilloch to Paradise.

Landmarks and locations around Kirkintilloch star in a new book which follows the fortunes of a young boy on the brink of footballing stardom.

‘Paradise Road’, by Stephen O’Donnell, is the story of a shining football talent from the town who signs for a big club.

However, he is forced to face up to the harsh reality of not quite making the grade in the big league.

Stephen’s character has to settle for living his dream through his favourite team – Celtic FC – as he boards the Kirkintilloch fan bus to Parkhead.

Readers will recognise many of the landmarks mentioned in the book, the pubs, the Cowgate and even Kirkintilloch Rob Roy.

“It’s not just a book about football and fandom,” says the author. “It offers a portrait of the character and experiences of a section of the Irish Catholic community in the west of Scotland.”

Stephen was born in Kirkintilloch among a large family of Celtic supporters.

While he had to move away early in life to attend boarding school – his father was in the RAF and it was thought to be more stable than following his dad around the world – the author’s heart is rooted in the area where his family still live, and where his mother and father went to school.

“My father was from Kirky and my mum from Lennoxtown, and they both went to St Ninian’s,” he explains.

“All my mates in Kirky are firstly mates of my cousins. I wanted to write about what I know – which is characters that people from a west of Scotland working-class background can relate to.”

The 41-year-old who now lives in Glasgow’s West End – where his character in the book also ends up – added: “Because of my roots I was able to imagine the life I might have had if I’d stayed and was brought up in Kirky.”

Stephen is currently working on his next novel. Not keen to divulge too many of its secrets, he did let on that it centres on a TV debating programme and is both funny and provocative, while addressing serious issues affecting football.

‘Paradise Road’ is available via Ringwood Publishing. Visit www.ringwoodpublishing.com

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