1. What is the title of your book?
2. What is the genre and age rating?
My novel is historical fiction with supernatural elements, particularly, witchcraft. The age rating is young adult, primarily, boys. Celtic Blood could be described as a blood thirsty war epic.
3. Give a brief synopsis, using your own words.
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 writing of Nigel Tranter it is a tale of high drama and suspense.
Both Nigel Tranter and the Scottish play, resonate with me profoundly.
4. Is it part of a series? Is the series completed? What made you decide to do a series rather than an epic?
There is a sequel. I have already written it in draft form but have it on hold. A couple of other projects got in the way, a ghost film script which an agent is looking at. No, not a real estate agent. The other project is auto-biographical novel on my time in the police force in north-west Queensland, involving a Kadaicha Man. I knew one once … long ago… in a place far far away.
5. Visually describe your main character and provide a picture if you were inspired by an actual person.
My main character starts out as a thin weakling boy who has been sheltered from the shadow of doom with which his family is being engulfed by. Think the Tsesarevitch, Alexei, of Russia, who plays with his marbles and toy soldiers whilst Russia disintergrates. He walks in palaces and thinks he is loved and admired by the people of Russia and will one day be a Tsar following in his father’s wake. My character Morgund comes of a long line of unlucky folk. His family are closely related to the reigning king .
Morgund’s family the MacAedh’s have risen in rebellion many times contesting for the crown and thus have left many of themselves dead on battlefields. Never kings have they been nor ever will they be.
Morgund is a young innocent, not much interested in the loud talk and manly boasts of his father, such talk and unwise actions have caused the MacAedhs deadly violence as he knows but thinks have finally been laid to rest – little does he know. According to his mother he is better suited being a priest than a warrior. That all changes when his father is murdered and he as the only MacAedh left to carry on the name, must face the bitter reality that many see him now as little more than a minor obstacle to obtaining the lands the MacAedh’s hold. Only by virtue of the sword can these lands be held. Morgund is incapable of holding them, having no more use for a sword than a broom. He seeks sanctuary with the king where he believes lays safety. He is about to find out it was the king who killed his father. This same king, plans to kill him.
When forced against his will to fight to save his life, a companion comes to his aid, Seward, whose life was saved by the lately murdered, Earl of Ross, Morgund’s father. Seward is a warrior who holds every virtue of the swordsman, valor, balance, power, speed, and the uncanny ability – perhaps seemingly uncanny to those unfamiliar with the technique required – to perceive an opponents movements almost before they are made. His cuts are true, and deadly!
Almost despite himself Seward befriends Morgund and takes on the impossible task of training him. Seward soon sees that despite his weak frame the boy is determined to be a fighter, and does have the heart required. Morgund committing himself to remaking himself, to save himself, to save his mother, to avenge his father, whose kind and gentle face he sees in the air all around him, burns to be a man like Seward is, feared, one who casts thunderbolts from the lofty heights that warriors reside on.
And Morgund through unrelenting effort turns himself into a swordsman as good as any, and better than most. He finds that he can match Seward who all fear, and that body that was so weak becomes path to arrogance.
6. What are his or her biggest faults? Using a short excerpt from your book, can you show us an example?
Because I blabber-moutheds so bad last question, I will be brief (my version of brief). Morgund grows into a man who holds little compassion for other men and has a cold and ruthless heart. The man who he owes so much to, Seward, he would cut down without a second glance back at. As the old Johnny Cash song goes, “I killed a man just so I could watch him die.”
Not quite so bad or brutal as that but when given just cause … Of course, no one ever does evil for evil’s sake, at least not in court in front of the judge. Morgund decides if the cause is just, and thus satisfied, his training takes over and a man becomes bloody meat and the steal of his sword as if by its own accord makes a grisly relic of what might once have been a handsome head. To see Morgund smile then, is to see Death himself, smiling.
So, his tortured formative years leave him somewhat without a conscience.
No sentence or paragraph describes this it is just the sum total of the actions he takes, the decisions made.
7. What are his or her best qualities? Using a short excerpt from your book, can you show us an example?
‘The other two, older and stronger should have dominated Morgund but Morgundʼs commitment was the greater, putting in many extra hours attempting mastery, gave him the edge. Having been in constant danger he was determined to be prepared for the future which could hold anything.’
8. Is there a romantic interest for your MC (main character)…or maybe more than one? Would you describe it as antagonistic, angsty, steamy, romantic, and or loaded with sexual tension?
My character experiences first love, and all that that entails, a magical ride into a world of delight, where only those who live there too can say what kind of world it is, words have their limitations. However, as a writer, I show, and hopefully, that tells. The deepest most potent of spells, is a love spell.
There is another woman which causes sexual tension and causes an explosive atmosphere however Morgund fools himself that he cares little for these woman, he cares for avenging his father’s murder, these girls are but his misspent youth that he will find a way to trivialize and laugh at when time has flown, knowing full well in his heart that he did not treat them well, and that they have residence in his heart whilst it still does beat.
9. Visually describe the romantic interest(s) and provide a picture if you were inspired by an actual person.
The characters are young teenagers and are very beautiful. Weren’t we all! In the spring of life life is lustrous and lustful, the body is immortal, and the night is endless, and the tingles that shimmer on the skin risk igniting into a searing flame that scars us right through to our hearts. The gateway to heaven lies beneath our loins. That night I am still living and will live my whole life long.
My wife is very beautiful, and gives me the inspiration to write of love.
10. Who is your favorite secondary character? Why?
Seward, because he is favored by the gods. Made in their image, with the mighty body of a Titan with a face to rival Apollo’s. So handsome that the gods might seek his death. An honourable man with a sense of duty, uncomplicated, and heroic.
11. Were any of your characters inspired by people you know or have known?
Yes, my best friends and worst enemies. Of course none of my enemies walk around with swords.
12. Post a short excerpt (1-2 pages max) that you think that readers will love…
‘Men ran like waves rushing to shore pitching long, strong, swords, held high. The drum beat from the hill behind them was drowned out by screaming war cries. Suddenly waves of men stopped by a wall of pikes. Within moments Morgundʼs shield was reduced to splinters and blood, his or anotherʼs, blinded him. He was badly shaken by the ferocity of the charge and defence, which nothing could have prepared him for.
Morgund was swept along, grasping his sword firmly, lest it become dislodged amidst the crush. He thought he might be wounded, for he felt nauseous and his vision swam with grey stars. Finally his sight cleared. Thick masses of men were coming forward. Pushed back by the enemy. Trying to stay afoot was a near impossibility.
Pressure from behind as men surged forth into battle. Morgund almost collapsed, but somehow retained his footing. Charging again, forcing. Falling meant certain death under foot or at the end of a pike. The sheer stress of the situation unhinged minds. Affected men emitted shrieks, or low moaning sobs. Those surrendering to panic lost their lives immediately. Morgund pushed the panic from his mind as the crowds pushed him. To stay upon oneʼs feet meant to live, at least a while longer. Morgund was among the stalwart.
The relentless crush caused disruption upon the separate enemy detachments. The first enemy square, followed by another, sagged. The kingʼs soldiers were tough and determined, however. They key factor affecting the course of the combat that the rebels had numbers against them. They withdrew sluggishly, remaining in their contingents and maintaining their martial discipline slowing the rebel advance.
The bulk of Morgundʼs rebels had flattened the first line of defenders. The kingʼs men were stout and the next line continued to withdraw in good order. To Morgund, it was akin to hacking into an impenetrable forest. After the initial collision no cohesion could be maintained. There was no end to the slaughter, nor low acts. Captured men had their eyes cut out whilst still alive. The young men attracted by trumpet and bright pendant alike came to realise their mistake.
Morgund with no choice nevertheless, to give him the courage to face his enemies, with grudges to repay, Morgund could easily see MacCainstacairt in the men before him. He saw the face of the man he hated which kept his sword arm rising and falling. He felt a severe pain in his head. Had he been hit? His legs were weak. Crouching down, he gained a few minutes of rest but soon thereafter he was one of many who were fighting for space and life. Morgund saw no point in the fierce resistance of his enemies. He could see, as could all, that for them, this day was lost. Yet fight on they did. Hired outsiders, the kings mercenaries knew what that if they were broken into small numbers and spilled into the countryside they would suffer cruelly. Having cut a destructive path through these formerly green and productive lands, defeat would deliver them into the hands of the people they had molested.
The protracted fighting and close quarters combat sapped away the strength of men on both sides. Morgund could feel his strength draining away, as surely as if he was drained of blood. He was jostled remorselessly, battered from side to side.
At one moment he could see the ground, splashed red with blood, littered with the dead and dying, and parts of the dead and those who would die, all being ground under a stampede. To fall was to die, and Morgund almost lost balance when he trampled over something that moved. Then his eyes were skyward as they were dragged thither by ravenʼs wings.
Those black birds wheeled high above, patiently waiting for dead flesh. His vision was grey again, the pain in his head intense. The smell of blood and sweat was overpowering. The shriek of a man impaled on pikes. By his side, a comrade lost his hand, at the wrist, and held it with his one remaining hand. The manʼs sword fell to the ground at his feet, along with the hand. Defenceless, he was cut down. A wave of nausea flooded over Morgund as he breathed in the mingled smells of the flesh torn asunder, life blood flowing freely, the earthen smell of loosened bowels. He vomited violently, coughing and gagging.
Then, from the thick of battle, Morgund was cast into gentler waters, from darkness into light. Men moved alone or in small groups, and he was assured at least of not being trampled. Fatigue settled heavily on him like a lead cloak. Struggling to remain upright, having fought his way through densely packed men, he thought he had survived the worst of the melee.
One of the kingʼs soldiers raised a shield and Morgund saw a glint of metal in the manʼs hand. Morgundʼs feet couldnʼt move. Morgund finally lunged out. Cold steel met flesh, and another of the enemy fell. A greater lull developed. He stood in a sea of tranquillity, alone, on an island bare, none close by.’
I hope you have enjoyed this little peek inside Celtic Blood, by James Loftus! Want to see more…click on the image below to purchase the book at Amazon!
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