James Clelland McCulloch was born in Irvine, Scotland in 1947 to parents Anne and James. He has one sister, Kate born in 1949. His father worked as a grocer and his mother worked as a maid.
In spite of doing well at school he left to become a postman. World War II had left many people thinking that security was more important than ambition and drive. His parents were pleased he was set for a secure career in the civil service.
However, his time as a postman was short lived. He endured six months on the telegram bike and got a job cleaning cages in a vet lab instead. The year was 1965. His new job was the precursor to a long career in laboratories, mostly pathology, which continues today.
He discovered his love of learning when he completed his O-levels in order to train as a medical scientist. James went on to complete his undergraduate degree in 1976, his MSc in Medicine in 1986, and a PhD in Biochemistry in 2000.
He emigrated to South Africa in 1982 with his first wife, Carol and their four children, Robin, Neil, Ewan and Heather. He started Thistle QA, now a successful international pathology and forensic company that provides a service to labs. Now married to Marlize he lives contentedly in Johannesburg with his wife, stepson, and their two miniature daschunds.
James has been a committed writer for as long as he can remember. For many years he wrote book reviews, did some writing for magazines and radio, and had short stories published in literary magazines. His first published novel, Deeper Than Colour, won the EU Literary Award in 2010. In 2011 it was shortlisted for The Sunday Times Literary Award and UJ Literary Prize.