Welcome to the 13th day of Christmahanakwanzika. Today I have a fantastic interview with author of CELTIC BLOOD, James John Loftus. Don't forget to check out the giveaway at the bottom.
Publication Date: July 28, 2011
Set in 13th century Scotland. The son of the murdered Earl of Ross, is a fugitive when his family, rival claimants for Scotland's crown, are declared traitors. Influenced by MacBeth and the writting of Nigel Tranter it is a tale of high drama and suspense.
First off, I would like to welcome you to Read it in Houston. It’s an honor having you here today. Congratulations on your upcoming release of THE UNSEEMLY EDUCATION OF ANNE MERCHANT.
Thanks for having me. I have never been to Houston but have read about it, most notably in George Foreman’s biography. He grew up in the Fourth Ward I think it was and it sounded tough. He certainly grew to be a fearsome boxer and took part in one of the most famous fights ever, ‘The Rumble In The Jungle’.
KELLY--Yes, the Fourth Ward is on the rougher side of Houston. It's just North of Downtown, in a lower income area. But just around the corner from it is also my favorite brewery, Saint Arnold Brewery.
It is very nice of you to include an obscure writer from Brisbane Australia who is just trying to put his hat in to be noticed and read in a very competitive market place, particularly being Indie (some people associate Indie with second-rate).
Some people try and sink the boot in a bit to us poor Indie writers. I was in a forum the other day over on Amazon, and felt like I was surrounded by a lynch mob. That’s right gang up on the Indie writer.
Close call but I made it out of there in one piece!
I say if you think Indie sucks, look at ‘The Brian Jonestown Massacre’, talent can come from anywhere, look at George Foreman - even the Fourth Ward. Their surroundings don’t limit them sometimes it inspires them.
If you don’t mind answering, what part of Christmahanakwanzika do you celebrate? & what are you most excited for?
I had never heard the term Christmahanakwanzika until you posted your advertisement for writers to participate. Not very many Jewish people in Brisbane and when I was growing up even fewer. I knew one at high school Daniel Schwartz, a typical boy perhaps a bit more Eurocentric than the rest of us who were a bit ‘Ocker’ just lower-socio-economic kids, at a suburban high school. There was the sense about Daniel that he had seen other places, and was connected to the main stream of history, unlike us. There were no African kids, African or Afro American. We saw African Americans on tv and thought they were pretty cool. Some of the Thursday Island kids - a group of Islands in the Torres Straight – who looked a bit like Afro Americans played basket ball and wore what passed for cool American black kids clothes. These blokes were cool and very athletic so were respected and liked.
I remember the first time I saw an Afro American, I was in the Queensland Police Force, I was twenty-one. We were invited on board a visiting US ship and these huge black fellas were waiting outside the dock in naval uniforms for a taxi, my mate and I gave them a lift into town and they had us laughing, they were very good company, I remember they said they were from south central Los Angeles and it was a bit feral there.
I remember seeing these blokes on the ship and they were big and very athletic looking. Obviously many of the very best physical types enter the military in America, as they do here.
I also remember having to make a call long distance to New York, at the time I was trying to get a film script up. I did end up doing this but with a totally different project, ‘Underdog’s Tale’.
Anyway I speaking with the black lady on the phone and she just sounded so very very cool, her accent was like I had heard in some movies. Part of you, when only exposed to a culture by way of film, wonders if things are really like that over there.
So I asked if she was a negro.
She was all over me with – as only Afro Americans can do – outrage, but with a whole retinue of phrases that were witty and unforgettable.
I explained my question, I just could not believe she was an example of those ultra arty dynamic speakers I admired. She was good then … we, ‘Shot the breeze for a while’.
The Americans were here during the Second World War and many of my mother’s generation had fond memories of them. Quite a few romances went on. Tony Curtis the actor was stationed as a sub mariner in Brisbane, and Rock Hudson visited on leave, as did so many other serviceman.
In the spirit of giving, if you had a million and one dollars to giveaway to any charity, who would get the check?
To those, in the most need whoever was actually starving or in need of clothes and fresh water. These things change so quickly with the rate of catastrophic weather events that it would be an on the spot decision.
If you could be any character from any book, who would you be and why?
I would be Morgund MacAedh, from my book, Celtic Blood, because Morgund overcame the most horrific circumstances where the odds were dramatically stacked against him and he grew wise and accomplished by virtue of his experiences, and he lived to found a family, one that lasted and gained fame and fortune.
Celtic Blood is based on a true story, the rise of clan MacKay (back then they were MacAedh, but of course you knew that).
Do you have any favorite quotes from your novel, THE UNSEEMLY EDUCATION OF ANNE MERCHANT?
In my work, be it either a film script, play or in this case a novel, I write a short poem. I will quote my poem, which appears at the start of Celtic Blood.
James John Loftus
I felt the wind and heard the rain,
I did feel an ancient hand.
The spirit of my ancestor drove the
pen which touched the page and enabled
me to visualize that which had occurred.
He called out to me from the past with the
voice of long ago.
Is there a message in the series that you want readers to pick-up on?
Respect those who have gone before you, because there is part of them in you.
Are you working on anything new at the moment? If so can you share any juicy details about the work?
Yes, I am working on the sequel to my first novel. It is called The Sword And The Thistle.
I’m trying to keep this interview short and sweet, but if there is anything you are dying to say, please by all means say it. I don’t need anyone dying on my watch.
Not too much just that I admire the American entrepreneurial spirit which has led men and women to be the best they can and to drive humanity onward.
And I thank you for your film industry, so many very very good films.
About the Author
James John Loftus
One (1) hardcopy of CELTIC BLOOD
The 23 Days of Christmahanakwanzika