Yesterday, The Real Hollywood’s Book Chat spoke with Lloyd Lofthouse author of the historical fiction novel, My Splendid Concubine. In his interview Lloyd shared with us his favorite actors for film and television. As a California native we asked him to share his experiences growing up in Southern California.
About the Book:
Driven by a passion for his adopted country, Robert Hart became the “godfather of China’s modernism,” inspector general of China’s Customs Service, and the builder of China’s railroads, postal and telegraph systems, and schools, but his first real love is Ayaou, a young concubine.
Good morning Lloyd,
Thank you for having me here at The Real Hollywood. There is so much about California that I love. I was born in Pasadena on VJ day, so I’m a California native. Dad was drunk and celebrating but not about me being born. The week before, he’d been drafted to report to the army to train for the Japan invasion. A nurse talked him into adding “Victory” as one of my middle names.
During my childhood, dad loved driving into the local mountains to camp. His favorite was Hart Bar campground near Big Bear Lake. We slept in an army surplus tent. Mornings were filled with the scent of frying bacon, eggs and potatoes cooked in a heavy, black, cast iron skillet over a campfire. These trips took place before California was webbed with freeways. We took roller coaster rides on two lane roads to reach the mountains. As a matter of fact, the first freeway in the nation (possibly the world) was built in Pasadena. California has always been a trend setter that way.
California had one of the first national parks, the Angeles National Forest where I’ve hiked in the San Gabriel Mountains. I’ve also backpacked into the Sierras near Mammoth Mountain where I’ve skied. I’ve skied most of the Southland too—once in a blizzard. On one backpacking trip, we hiked through hip deep snow to Duck Lake. A storm blanketed the area the week before and our tracks were the first in that white blanket.
Most of my youth was spent in a town nestled against the foothills in the San Gabriel Valley. I graduated from Glendora High School. I have fond memories of crossing the street from my parent’s house to reach the grove and pick sweet, juicy tree-ripe oranges—something rare today. My first car was an 1854 Buick Century. I wished I still had it. Here’s a poem I wrote about that first car. The poem shows what it was like to be young. Dinosaur Driving
At fifteen in 1960 I hated the three-ton T-Rex From the start, That day my dad said It was the only one I could own.
Ready to please Like a pooch, She was a smiling, Toothy fifty-four Blue and white, Four door, Automatic Buick With bench seats, A soon-to-be classic.
When the brakes gave out Screeching like fingernails Across blackboards, We leaped out Pushing backwards Stopping the Rhino from Rolling through red lights.
When the timing went, The dragon belched blue flames Scorching the underside Of the hood.
With the hood off, That topless Playboy centerfold Rolled like a tumbleweed Through back streets.
Mike, precariously perched, On the fender Adjusted the carburetor With a long necked screwdriver Leaning back to Avoid flaming eruptions.
Passing a school-bus stop, The serpent belched fire Scattering children like Frightened autumn leaves Running from a cyclone.
She never failed us Cruising Hollywood & Vine Weekend Nights Nervous, Horny, Trolling for female kind.
It didn’t matter that we Never met anyone. The old gal kept moving Gulping gas by the quarter, A willing accomplice.
On New Year’s Eve We sailed down Pasadena’s Colorado Blvd Desperate to share Bench seats With strangers in skirts Gliding by party people Waiting through the night For the Rose Parade.
A Benedict Arnold, I eventually Betrayed my coach, Into an unwanted, Over the hill Halloween pumpkin At midnight Recycled into trashcans.
MY SPLENDID CONCUBINE VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR '09 will officially begin on December 1 and end on January 30. You can visit Lloyd's blog stops at www.virtualbooktours.wordpress.com in December and January to find out where he is appearing!
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Rebecca is a freelance writer and editor in Southern California with a background in Journalism and a degree in English Literature. She specializes in non-fiction articles for the wedding and pet industry. She blogs about animals, Hollywood and books.