Cap’n Joe: Can you tell my readers a little about your background nationality/ancestry?
James John Loftus: Joe, I am very glad you asked me this question because I recently had my DNA analysed. There was a mystery on my father’s side, there is one on my Mum’s too but I need another DNA test which I haven’t had yet to solve that one. My Dad was born in Attymass County Mayo Ireland. My Mum had Norwegian and Irish on her side, and as she was discussing it my Dad volunteered that he also had some Norwegian ancestry way back. Unusual for an Irishman to have Norwegian, he unfolded that there is a place in Norway called Lofthus and that’s where our ancestor came from to Ireland. My Dad was not a fanciful person and this was about the most colourful tale he told, brief as it was. Loftus is a not rare name in Mayo but according to my Dad we are not related to the other Irish Loftus’s. Still awake Joe? I am sure you find this as fascinating as I do. Anyway, DNA test results showed me to be in fact very Irish on my Dad’s side. I am descended from Niall of the Nine Hostages a famous Irish king who invented the hamburger! No he did not invent the hamburger but was a famous king and was a prolific breeder. Many in western Ireland are his direct descendants. How did one man have so many children? There must be a cultural context there. No doubt he was extremely handsome which runs in the family. My Mum’s dad was born in County Tipperary Ireland. My Grandmother was a mix of Scottish, (perhaps), some mystery there, nad Irish and Norwegian. As I said DNA test. I know you told me prior to the interview not to talk a glass-eye to sleep, well, Joe, to some people that is a challenge. Still awake glass-eye?
Cap’n Joe: When you finished your debut novel, how did you feel?
James John Loftus: Satisfied. Scared. I wondered if it was any good at all. I remember I got two, scathing reviews, One out of Five reviews on Goodreads in a row and felt very down and angry, one woman absolutely canned me and then proceeded in her review to say how great a writer she was, I checked out her poetry and can say honestly it should have come with a health warning, it was give-me-bucket-to-vomit- in, bad. Then, low and behold I got a five and four star reviews from, two close friends, no just joking, honest reviews from readers. When you get a five and of five it is tremendously pleasing! Listening out there readers? Potential reviewers?
I write because I enjoy it so if I finished something – I also write film scripts and have had some success, earned some dough – I am deep into something else. For me, writing is like reading engaging with a great story wondering what is going to happen, feeling the action. Part of your brain is in a world disjointed from your normal day-to-day brain and to re-read your stuff is like seeing it for the first time. Stephen King said writing is a form of self-hypnosis and I think he is right.
Cap’n Joe: While writing, did you need help with punctuation, grammar, etc., if so where did you turn?
James John Loftus: An editor. Where else? My editor Tim Scurr is an English genius. I admire his comprehensive knowledge of and gift in English. I have always struggled a bit with grammar. I did not learn to read until I was in grade Five, diagnosed with dyslexia. But I did eventually learn to read and absolutely loved it, a whole new world, worlds, opened for me. And, very early in my reading life I began to write my own stories.
Cap’n Joe: With the number of hours spent writing, did your family members support you or complain about the time spent away from them?
James John Loftus: From time to time. But seriously they were probably glad to be rid of me for a bit. When you have a wife, and friends, and kids, sometimes the writing has to be done in the early hours when everyone is asleep because your loved-ones need you too. But so does the book so you stay up and write after everyone is asleep.
Cap’n Joe: Did writing your first novel benefit you in any way and if so, how?
James John Loftus: I earned some money. Not too much but enough to make me feel like a semi-professional which gives the ego a boost and makes you feel you’re on the right track. If people buy your books they can’t be that bad! And, I have a novel I have written to hold in my hand and to read and think, how great is this! Very, great, believe me!
Cap’n Joe: When you were writing your book, did you shut-off from family and all social networks?
James John Loftus: A little. I am not the most social of people anyway, used to be when I was young. I like doing family things now, walks, driving in the country, dagga stuff like that. My family are my favourite people in the world, they are my world! I do catch up with a mate now and again and have a beer but not too often.
Cap’n Joe: Did you use friends or family members as Beta readers for your debut novel, if so who?
James John Loftus: I tried, but my family and friends aren’t into the kind of book I’ve written, a historical/supernatural novel set in Scotland. I should of said it was an unpublished Stephen King novel I got off the internet and they would of thought it was great.
Cap’n Joe: What do you do when you aren’t writing? Do you have any hobbies?
James John Loftus: No, writing is it. I go to the gym two days a week, work on my chin-ups and push-ups. I do a bit of boxing training with a mate. As a teenager I was a boxer which explains why I look the way I do, please Joe don’t show any photos! And as for unusual behaviour don’t talk about the goat tied up the back yard. We agreed not to discuss that.
Cap’n Joe: Where can readers go to find your book?
James John Loftus: Easily found on Amazon and other sales channels. I will attach a link to the Amazon site: http://tinyurl.com/CelticBloodPB
Cap’n Joe: Thank you James for taking time out from your busy day to answer my questions. I’ve enjoyed getting to know a lot more about you. It’s a pleasure having you join my blog. I wish you the very best with your book and any you publish in the future.