The first of three loosely-related vels written by John O'Loughlin in 1980 and dealing with art and artists, 'Thwarted Ambitions' is the tragic and, in a sense, pathetic account of a young artist by name of Robert Harding who is so obsessed with advancing his career ... that he becomes blind to the sexual machinations of Henry Grace, a wealthy and influential art critic, to seduce him whilst ostensibly posing as his admiring patron. For Henry Grace seems to be just the answer to Harding's professional ambitions, and the artist allows himself to be led from commission to commission by the older man without the slightest suspicion of what the latter is really up to. But it is Carol, Robert's modelling girlfriend, whose suspicions are first aroused and, together with both the writer Andrew Doyle, who is Harding's next-door neighbour, and an eccentric professional acquaintance of hers by name of Donald Prescott, she plots to thwart Grace's sexual ambitions - with tragic consequences for the critic, as things turn out in this far from implausible narrative!
John O'Loughlin was born in Salthill, Galway, the Republic of Ireland, of Irish- and British-born parents in 1952. Following a parental split partly due to social incompatibilities, he was brought to England by his mother and grandmother (who had initially returned to Ireland with intent to stay) in the mid-50s and subsequently attended schools in Aldershot and, following the death and repatriation of his grandmother, Carshalton Beeches, Surrey, where, despite an enforced change of denomination from Catholic to Protestant in consequence of having been put into care by his mother, he attended a state school. Graduating in 1970 with an assortment of CSE's (Certificate of Secondary Education) and GCE's (General Certificate of Education), including history and music, he moved to London and went on, via two short-lived jobs, to work at the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music in Bedford Square, where he eventually became responsible for booking examination venues. After a brief flirtation with Redhill Technical College back in Surrey, he returned to his former job in the West End but retired from the ABRSM in 1976 due to a combination of factors, including ill-health, and dedicated himself to writing, which, despite a brief spell as a computer tutor at Hornsey Management Agency in the late '80s and early '90s, he has continued with ever since. His novels include Changing Worlds (1976), Cross-Purposes (1979), Secret Exchanges (1980), Sublimated Relations (1981), and Deceptive Motives (1982). From the mid-80s Mr O'Loughlin dedicated himself exclusively to philosophy, his true literary vocation, and has penned more than sixty titles of a philosophical order, including Devil and God - The Omega Book (1985-6), Towards the Supernoumenon (1987), Elemental Spectra (1988-9), and Philosophical Truth (1991-2). John O'Loughlin lives alone in Crouch End, north London.