Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Virtual Book Tour + #Giveaway: The Junkyard Dick by Gillespie Lamb @GoddessFish

The Junkyard Dick

by Gillespie Lamb

GENRE: Contemporary Mystery


Salvage yard operator and part-time sleuth Tak Sweedner is asked by a buddy, Roque Zamarripa, to investigate a murder. Tak says OK and for his trouble is assaulted with a tire iron. Then he's run off the side of a cliff-the investigation really goes downhill at that point!

Tak calls up gal-pal Emma to help him and soon discovers his feelings for the woman go beyond palling around. When she asks him to give up his investigation and concentrate on her, Tak balks. She might better have asked a bulldog to give up its bone. It would be like quitting, Tak said, and he wasn't a quitter.

Can this blue-collar crime-solver hang in there to get the bad guy... AND win his girl?

Find out more about The Junkyard Dick on Black Rose Writing, Amazon, and Goodreads


Momma sides with Tak…

We arrived in Uvalde shortly after noon and Emma’s mother insisted that I join them for lunch. We sat around a heavy-legged oak table in the dining room. Mrs. Townsend set a big plate of tuna sandwiches and cherry tomatoes in the middle, and we helped ourselves. I particularly savored the iced tea and drained most of a glassful before taking a single bite of sandwich.

Emma briefly ran down the outing for her mother, the swimming, the fishing, the deliciousness of the cooked fish and cobbler, the beauty of the river. “It really was quite idyllic. Even better than I remembered it from my earlier trip. Of course, I had better company this time.”

He’s good company, is he?” her mother asked. “Did he attack you in your tent?”

Twice,” Emma said with a straight face. “I was going to talk to you about that later, Mom. Thank goodness my tent is so small one swift kick is all I needed to repel the attack. That plus my Mace.”

Poor darling,” she said.

I know,” Emma said with a rueful expression.

I meant Tak. He deserved better.”

I smiled at that. I liked this woman. Emma smiled, too.

Seriously, you have a pretty nice daughter, Mrs. Townsend. And we had a good time. Your husband taught her to fish like a pro. Did you teach her how to swim?”

And the hour passed, a comfortable coda to a terrific overnighter with a woman I was beginning to feel I needed to keep around me all the time. I still resisted the notion, but my resistance was peeling away.

Interview with Gillespie Lamb

How did you become involved with the subject or theme of your book?

The Junkyard Dick is about a salvage yard owner who is a part-time sleuth. I trace the evolution of the book directly to a friend asking me to come work for him at his…salvage yard! During the year that I helped him in the office, I was immersed in the economics and routines of junkyards. Somewhere along the line, I had an aha! moment and began turning the experience into a mystery novel. My imagination accounted for most of the story, of course, but working in the salvage yard authenticated it.

What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?

I like mysteries and believe them to be more than whodunits. The Junkyard Dick is a good example. It is a love story and a buddy story. It’s a story of small-town Southwest living and the dynamics of a multicultural society. A young person’s questioning of his faith runs through it as does Mother Nature arrayed in her semi-arid desert finery. I characterize the book this way, “A sense of place. A sense of mystery. A sense of humor.” I set out to create an amalgam of all of the above, and I think I succeeded pretty well.

What was the hardest part of writing this book?

I don’t recall great difficulty in crafting the story. Let me rejigger the question: What is the hardest part about marketing the book? The answer is, the setting for the novel is the Texas town of… Uvalde. The school shootings that struck the town in May were terrible, of course. They also discomfited me as I began to promote the book. I knew that talking about the “place” that is Uvalde—live oak trees, clear river water, the old opry house—undoubtedly would be seen as capitalizing on the tragedy. So, I felt I had no choice but to form a nonprofit and funnel into it any royalties, plus contributions from the publisher. It is the start of a fund to provide creative-writing programs for Uvalde elementary-age children. Dealing with the tragedy, setting up the nonprofit, and soliciting funds for it in the months ahead—that is the hardest part about the book. You can learn more about the The Story Inventors Club Inc., by visiting storyinventorsclub.com.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

Some of the characters are just plain fun, at least to me. That sounds like I’m preening or something because I created the people. But did I? I formed them from words and named them, sure, but they came together with a whole lot more personality and wisdom than I was capable of implanting. That’s the way it is with characters. They begin to develop their own personas. I believe it is mostly to their credit that Billy is a fun kid and Tak is of sound character, that Emma knows her mind so completely and Pele is a wise old man. I enjoyed getting to know these people, whom I now consider my friends.

Were there alternate endings you considered?

Not for this novel. As the story developed, the end became clear to me and there was no getting around it. I might have wished for a different ending. That was not the case with my first novel, a middle-grades reader titled, The Beamy Courage of Gerta Scholler. That novel started out as a short story. It features an eight-year-old girl who travels on one of the “orphan trains” of the 1860s from New York City to Kansas. She is a brave, quietly dignified kid and I came to have a lot of respect for her. Some readers have said they share that view. In the short story, the tale ended with a fantasy flight into the sky for Gerta, a softer rendering of her death. When the publisher of the novel suggested I try for a more definitive conclusion, I did so. I am so happy he suggested it. The story really came together at that point as it should have all along.

What genre of books do you enjoy reading?

I am not genre-strapped. I read more fiction than nonfiction, but the reading ranges across a wide spectrum—from Wallace Stegner to Neville Shute, Tony Hillerman to John Kennedy Toole, Louis L’Amour to, I don’t know, Charles Dickens. So many writers of quality fiction, so little time to read them all, you know. I read more mysteries than thrillers, more commercial fiction than literary. I like to read and I suppose I write books that I would like to read even if I hadn’t written them. I have now authored a work of historic fiction and a mystery, and co-authored a nonfiction book about an historic place in aviation, The Aviation Pioneers of McCook Field. I probably should settle into a genre.

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Gillespie Lamb developed writing skills as a newspaper reporter, editor and columnist before leaving journalism to become a freelancer and pursue less formulaic writing. He published his first novel in 2017, a middle-grades reader about a girl who rode an “orphan train” from New York City to Kansas. It is titled The Beamy Courage of Gerta Scholler. This second novel is his initial foray into the mystery genre. The setting of The Junkyard Dick is the rural Texas region where Lamb lives.

Connect with Gillespie Lamb



My latest novel, The Junkyard Dick, is a mystery set in Uvalde, Tex. It contains numerous allusions to Uvalde streets, restaurants, swimming in the Nueces, and so on, and positively characterizes this multicultural, county-seat town where I happen to live.

One week before I began marketing the book through my website (gillespielamb.com), Uvalde became a national byword for school shootings. A minor consequence of that tragedy is that suddenly my book became awkwardly positioned in the marketplace. Many people naturally will see promotion of a book about Uvalde at this time as shamelessly cashing in on the tragic event. I want neither the perception nor the reality of that.

So, I have created a nonprofit that will benefit elementary fiction-writing programs in Uvalde—or create such programs out of whole cloth. Any royalties I receive from the book will go into the fund along with contributions from the publisher, Black Rose Writing. That will just be seed money. I will be soliciting donations to the fund from the literary industry and associated artistic ventures, from local and regional community organizations and businesses, and from readers anywhere who find comfort, escape or inspiration in fiction.

I am calling the nonprofit “The Story Inventors Club,” which is appropriately juvenile so that it might appeal to young people. It will be dedicated to the proposition that young imaginations are capable of producing fictional stories of merit and enduring value. The hoped-for legacy of the Club would be creation of a new generation of prose (and poetry) to delight readers, and the instilling of enhanced cognitive, language and communication skills in some young people.

So, as a consequence of all of the above, I now will be promoting two things: (1) a novel that I believe in on its literary merits, and (2) a Club that I believe can build a new and creative legacy upon the ashes of misfortune.

For more information on this Club, please go to The Story Inventors Club 



$25 Amazon/BN GC 

Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning.


Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

Anonymous said...

I really appreciate your hosting of me on this tour. I look forward to reader comments and will reply to any wanting a response. Thanks. Gillespie Lamb

Rita Wray said...

I liked the excerpt.

Stormy Vixen said...

Great interview, I enjoyed the excerpt,m Junkyard Dick sounds like an excellent mystery to read!

Thanks for sharing it with me and have a smashing day!

Edgar Gerik said...

Great interview

marisela zuniga said...

Thanks for sharing this interview, I enjoyed getting to know more about the author

Sherry said...

I really like the cover.

Anonymous said...

People seem generally to like the cover. I would like to confess that that handsome and well-muscled fella is me. Alas, it is not. To my mind, the striking figure has become Tak Sweedner, a pretty good guy. Gillespie Lamb

Dana Banana said...

At first, before I read about the book I was wondering, “why is he a dick” 😂😂 then I realized he’s a PI. Way more interesting than just a jerk person

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