Full marks for Buckhaven man’s first book

Author Keith Houston.
Author Keith Houston.

A former Buckhaven man is eagerly awaiting the release of his first book, which is due out later this month.

Keith Houston, a former pupils at Buckhaven High School, was a software programmer until last year, before giving up his job to write full time.

And thanks to his efforts, his book ‘Shady Characters: Ampersands, Interrobangs and other Typographical Curiosities’ is finally complete.

Keith (35) who lives with his wife Leigh in Edinburgh, says he first got into the unusual subject of punctuation when he was designing a website.

“A friend of mine who was interested in typography gave me a book, ‘An introduction on Typography’, and as I read it, I started to recognise a lot of the marks. I also read a book by Eric Gill, who designed a number of fonts, and the more I read about him, I realised he was a bit of a nutter!

“I thought, ‘there are stories here, things to be written, and no-one else has written about them before’.”

Keith, whose book will also be published in the US this month, began his life as an author online, with a blog about the different punctuation marks he was interested in. And just 12 months later, he had a book deal.

“I always had a vague idea that I’d like to write a book, but it’s not something you think will come to pass, so it’s a pleasant surprise.”

And Keith’s own favourite mark? “I think it has to be the interrobang (a combination of an exclamation mark and a question mark) – it was the first one I looked at and it really is the most interesting.”

Shady Characters is published by Particular Books on September 26, priced £16.99.