Lloyd Lofthouse is the author of My Splendid Concubine, the real life love story of Ayaou, a young concubine, and Englishman Robert Hart who became the godfather of China’s modernism in the 19th century as the builder of the country’s railroads, postal and telegraph systems, and schools.
Why I write
Such a short question for the complex answer it deserves. The short answer is, “I have no choice.”
Do you write every day?
If I could, I would. Most authors have to market their work if they want anyone to know they exist. Marketing is a time thief. Also, writers should never stop learning the craft. That takes time too.
Worst source of distraction?
Best source of inspiration?
How often do you get writers’ block / doubt your own ability?
Doubt is a constant whispering companion. It took a few years, but I’ve learned to ignore it. Writer’s block is an alien I’ve never experienced.
Contemporary writer in any medium who you never miss?
James Lee Burke.
Favorite Chinese writer?
I’ve read some Chinese (not Chinese American) authors, and most do not know how to write a book that appeals to a Western mindset. They don’t get it. There are some good Chinese American writers, but they’ve lived in America—most since birth.
Best book about China?
I do not think one exists. To get the full picture (if that’s possible), you have to read many – both fiction and nonfiction. I’ve listed several on my Web site.
Lord of the Rings – the only one I’ve read three times. I’ve watched the movie four times.
Right now, that writer would be Burke, but that might change. In the 1980s, Hemingway was at the top of that list. There have been others like Patrick O’Brian or Bernard Cornwell. It depends on the book, and over time, some writers seem to lose the magic touch – the spark leaves their writing.
The book you should have read but haven’t?
The list would be endless. Time is the biggest obstacle. How do you read, when you want to write? If I find an hour to read each day, that’s good, and I buy books five times faster than I read them.
You look back at the first thing you had published and think…
What’s next? Now, if I could just give up sleep.
Does writing change anything?
Not really. I’ve been writing a long time so writing is part of my life. If I stopped, my mind would rot.