When Marcus Sumter, a short order cook with dreams of being a chef, inherits a house in small town Marathon, Georgia, he leaves his big city life behind. Marcus intends to sell the house to finance his dreams, but a group of lovable busybodies, the Do Nothings, a new job at the local diner, the Tammy Dinette, and a handsome mechanic named Hank cause Marcus to rethink his plans. Will he return to the life he knew, or will he finally put down roots?
Over the course of the next month, Marcus fell easily into the rhythm of his new life in the diner. The black ring around his eye faded, and thoughts of Robert and his mangled car began to fade as well. Francine and he perfected their frenzied dance around each other behind the grill when the diner was filled to capacity. As he worked, the familiar tools of spatula, whisk, and knife once again became extensions of his hand, and the smells of bacon frying and eggs cooking made his appetite for food and life return. The silly names the sisters invented for customers made Marcus belly laugh, the sensation of it bubbling up in his chest an almost-forgotten pleasure. With each passing day, it grew easier to rise early in the morning and catch a ride to the diner with Francine or one of the girls.
The only part of the day he dreaded was life outside the diner and returning to a too-quiet house filled with photographs of people who shared his face and name, but who were complete strangers. The house was in theory his home, but it still seemed as if he was intruding on someone else’s space. He hadn’t bothered to unpack the few clothes left in his duffel bag or put away the clean clothes from the laundry basket on the bedroom floor. In the silence of his grandmother’s house, he would hear the ringing of Robert’s plaintive texts, the nagging thoughts about what to do with his wrecked car, and the haunting words of his mother, “Baby, it’s time to move on.”
More and more, he lingered well past the end of his shift at the diner to avoid going to the house. Usually he would end his day by wandering over to the Do Nothing’s corner booth to check on the latest town gossip or to see how preparations for the hoedown were going. Marcus would shuffle his way into the booth and tuck himself between Helen and Inez so that the women could explain to him who each person they gossiped about was. Most of the names meant nothing to him until he began to connect them with their usual orders, just as he had at the Waffle Barn. The more stories the Do Nothings told about the customers who hurried in and out of the diner daily, the more the citizens of Marathon seemed like friends. He would sit happily silent and let the women’s laughter and rapid-fire words sooth his work-weary muscles as he sank into the padding of the booth.
But not today.
He had finished cleaning the cooking area, flung his apron onto its hook, and headed into the dining room. He’d been tired but, for the first time since Robert had pressured him to quit working at the Waffle Barn in Atlanta, he’d felt useful again. As he’d reached the kitchen door, he’d caught a glimpse of himself in the mirror. Despite the hard work and grueling heat of the kitchen, he’d seen that he wore a pleased smile, a smile he wasn’t sure he had worn since the days after his mother and before Robert. He’d straightened his back and nodded at himself in the mirror. Hello, stranger. Where’ve you been? With the smile lingering on his lips, he had glanced through the porthole window in the swinging door and seen Hank Hudson standing at the counter.
There is nothing better than small town America. I’ve never lived in a small town buy my folks have and this depiction of it is SPOT ON. But that’s what makes those towns so great. I love all the busy bodies that insist on knowing everything because when you need them, they’re there for you. And you’re family no matter what so no one will mess with you because the shotgun wielding old ladies will get you!
Marcus was dealt a pretty crappy hand in life. He had no stability and it seems not too much love. With the help of his grandmother whom he never met, he was able to claw his way out of his latest crappy situation. He is pretty sweet and seems to flourish in the small town where there is lots of love to give. Hank was born into a similarly crappy situation and dug himself out on his own. He’s looking for stability and love just like Marcus. They work pretty well together because they understand each other and they seem to need each other.
This is a really quick read with a bit of fluff mixed in with a couple of serious situations that weren’t too angsty. The entertainment value in this book is really high and it was very fun to read; definitely worth the time!
Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Killian Brewer author of Lunch with the Do-Nothings at the Tammy Dinette.
Hi Killian, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.
Hey, y’all! I’m Killian Brewer, though most people just call me Brew. I’m a Southern boy, raised in the land of peaches and peanuts. I grew up in a tiny little town in a house where we would entertain each other by telling stories. My father can spin a yarn with the best of them and taught me early to enjoy the fellowship of storytelling. I went to college and earned my degree in English Literature, mostly because of my love of a good story. Of course, like most English majors, I don’t use that degree at all in my day job, but it does come in handy for my writing.
My current novel, Lunch with the Do-Nothings at the Tammy Dinette, was inspired by the people I grew up around in South Georgia. I wanted to explore what life could be like for a young gay man who is suddenly transplanted in a small town with little understanding of the way of life there. In particular, I wanted to follow his search for love and a sense of family in a world where he feels like a fish out of water. I also wanted to write about older southern women, because I think they are awesome.
Q: What’s the best line you ever wrote?
A: I wrote a short story about a young man in Georgia during the depression. One of my favorite lines I wrote came from that. “His days were filled with colors so vibrant he could almost taste them—the crisp spearmint green of magnolia leaves, the tart lemon yellows of daylilies, the huckleberry blues of hydrangeas and dragonfly wings.”
Q: Do you listen to music while writing? If so, what kind?
A: No, I really cannot listen to music while I am working on my writing. During other tasks, I very much enjoy music, but I find it distracts me when I am writing. I love words and especially enjoy the interplay of words in lyrics. When I pause to make a word choice or consider a character’s movements, I will get pulled into the song lyrics and lose my train of thought. However, I really don’t like writing in complete silence either. I like to have a television on in a different room where I can hear the noise but not really focus on what is being said.
Q: If your book were made into a movie, what actors would you like to see star?
A: I know this answer is going to sound like a cop out, but I really don’t like when author tells me the person they see as a character. It may disappoint me or color my own reading of the book. As a reader, I love deciding for myself from the author’s descriptions what the character looks like or who I would envision in the role. Especially in a romance, I think the reader should be able to put their own ideals in the romantic leads. I also prefer not to put sketches of the characters on the cover for this reason.
Q: What genres do you write in?
A: My first novel, The Rules of Ever After, was a YA fantasy/romance, but this was my first foray into YA and a novel length work. My previous writing has generally been more short fiction and poetry. Having been a lifelong Southerner, most of my writing has dealt with life as a gay man in the conservative South. I was very happy returning that that theme with this novel. Both novels share a tongue-in-cheek sense of humor but my current novel is more based in the real world where I grew up. However, one thing all my writing tends to have in common is an optimistic belief in a happy ending.
Q: Where and when do you prefer to write?
A: I like to write in my office. By office, I mean an old desk shoved in a corner of a guest room, but it makes me feel a little more grow-up to call it an office. I do like writing at home the most because if I find myself suffering from writer’s block I will step away from the computer and do some mindless housework. While I zip around with a dust rag, my mind can wander and create. Coffee shops generally frown upon you pulling out a vacuum and whizzing around the shop until you figure out a word that is evading you. One unexpected side effect is that my partner likes writer’s block because it keeps the house nice and tidy.
About the Author
Killian B. Brewer lives in his life-long home of Georgia with his partner and their dog. He has written poetry and short fiction since he was knee-high to a grasshopper. Brewer earned a BA in English and does not use this degree in his job in the banking industry. He has a love of greasy diner food that borders on obsessive. Lunch with the Do Nothings at the Tammy Dinette is his second novel. His first novel, The Rules of Ever After, is available from Duet Books, an imprint of Interlude Press.
Connect with Killian at killianbbrewer.com on Twitter @KillianBBrewer, on Facebook at Facebook.com/KillianBBewer, on Pinterest at Pinterest.com/KillianBBrewer, and on Goodreads at Goodreads.com/KillianBBrewer.
Grand Prize $25 IP Gift Card + Multi-format eBook of Hold
Five winners receive Lunch With the Do-Nothings at the Tammy Dinette eBook