IT worker by day, beastie boy by night

BY day, Willie Meikle is an IT manager at his Melville Street office.

But once 5pm comes, the 49-year-old returns to his alter-ego as a horror author who has built up a substantial cult following in the USA.

Although his work is barely recognised in this country, Mr Meikle has sold more than 3000 books on the other side of the Atlantic and has had about 70,000 hits on his website.

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His latest project - which will be his seventh published book - involves giant bugs taking over Edinburgh and he hopes it will be the work that finally brings him some appreciation in the UK.

"It's odd because I've never even been to the States, but my work is received pretty well over there," said Mr Meikle, who travels into the city every day from his Kinross home.

"There's not a huge market for horror fiction in this country, but in the US they can't get enough."

His book, Generations, which involves bugs born in Fife taking over the Forth Road Bridge, Edinburgh Castle and the airport, took him about six months to write and is due to be published next month.

He said: "It is written more with children in mind, whereas my others have all been for adults.

"I used to walk past Edinburgh Castle every day when my work was based on Queen Street, so I could picture these things happening in my mind.

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"It was actually a bit of a childhood fantasy of mine to write such a thing.

"I've always been published by an American organisation but a newly-started British firm has come on board on this occasion, so hopefully that can be the start of something over here for me."

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When out of the office, Mr Meikle writes for about two hours a night and solidly at weekends. His previous titles include Island Life and The Midnight Eye Files: The Amulet.

As well as publishing seven books, he has had about 130 articles or short stories published, including a series of tutorials on how to write horror fiction.

Although having only recently set up a page on networking website MySpace, he's tallied almost 3000 friends, most of whom have sought him out specifically.

A newsletter he sends out on a regular basis already has 400 subscribers, while approaches have also been made to turn his fiction into movies.

Massachusetts film director Andrew Harrington has adapted his short story Crossroads into a 13-minute film, while a specially written script named Tannis is being worked on by a South African team.

Mr Meikle said these were all significant steps on the way to realising his ultimate dream.

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"To see a feature-length movie from one of my books is the dream," he said.

"I'm getting closer to that, and I think it can eventually happen if I keep working at it."

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For more information on his work, visit