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Meet Joe Loughran

The thirty-word biography

Sixty-something. American. Married. Four adult children. Living in the Pittsburgh area. Used to be a logistics executive and entrepreneur. Now a full-time writer. Enjoys golf and indie music. That about sums me up.

A short interview about the upcoming The Boy from the North Country series

Tell us about The Prodigy, the book which kicks off this series.
Well, I can’t say too much, or I’ll give the story away. It’s a young adult novel with plenty of twists and turns to intrigue the reader. At the heart of the book, there’s a regular young man from small-town America who finds himself immersed in life-changing decisions: a broken friendship, lost love, an exciting career, plus many surprises along the way. As you begin to read the book, you start to realize Henrik Jacobsen is a mystery all his own. You don’t just want to figure out what he will do, you want to figure him out, too. How can someone so young can be so audacious.

Life-changing decisions?
Absolutely. So many, but I can’t tell you about them. They jump off the pages as you move through the chapters.

Why a small-town setting?
So many stories take place in large urban cities where people are self-sufficient and appear to be self-centered. From a distance life in a small town seems relatively slow-paced and more peaceful than urban life, but the people face similar challenges as they grow up. Small towns are fascinating settings for several reasons. A reader can picture the setting and their imagination goes to work painting a picture in their minds as details are provided. Small towns have less anonymity. The environment does not favor privacy because people gossip. They’re curious about what other townspeople are doing. The lack of privacy offers a writer the opportunity to imagine characters harboring secrets as they manage their lives. There are major potential repercussions if secrets become public knowledge and get passed around. Henrik is a young man who faced regular decisions the same way a person would in a big city. He wasn’t living in the shadow of a skyscraper, but he faced tall problems, just the same.

What is it about Henrik that captivates you?
I LOVE writing Henrik. He came roaring into my head with a force I’d never felt from a character. In retrospect, it was easy for me to see the storyline evolve as I developed the other characters. I’d finish a subplot and the next one would pop into my mind, so I just went wherever my mind took me. There’s a wonderful flow to the stories as Henrik navigates through the trials and tribulations of life. He continually finds himself in the middle of conflict, which leaves him in situations of extraordinary peril, but he manages to work his way out of it despite everything. His life is complex, and I’m the person who’s putting it all down on paper. It’s a wonderful job, and I’m thrilled it’s mine. Henrik is the very best person to occupy my brain. He’s awesome.

Will the series continue beyond book four?
That’s a great question. As of now, book 4 is the last one, but I reserve the right to write other ones in the future. I have six stand-alone novels that are outlined with the plot, sub-plots, and scenes, so I’m excited about those projects. I guess you can say I have some writing to do. Also, I’m four chapters into a historical fiction novel that I’m writing. It’s an exciting project, with its own unique challenges. It spans many centuries, so each chapter is like writing a separate novel – different characters, setting, etc. and it requires a lot of research. But I’m enjoying every minutes of it. Stay tuned, there’s plenty more to come.

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