Book: Lunch with the Do-Nothings at the Tammy Dinette
Publisher: Interlude Press
Publication date: January 12, 2017
Cover artist: CB Messer
Length: 232 pages
Reviewed by Erin
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?
This book was all kinds of delightful fun. There really is just something so very appealing about books set in a small town, and Killian Brewer's Lunch With the Do-Nothing's at the Tammy Dinette captured all the charm of small town life, complete with quirky characters and a vibe that is guaranteed to put a smile on your face and keep it there from beginning to end. Seriously, I read this straight through because I couldn't put it down.
Marcus Sumter arrives in Marathon, Georgia having absolutely no idea what to expect. He's used to small southern towns thanks to the nomadic life his mama continually dragged him through ... well, until the day she abandoned him at a diner on the side of the road with nothing more than his suitcase. Nice, huh? But when he receives a letter from a lawyer letting him know he's inherited a house from a grandmother he's never met, he heads to Marathon thinking he'll stay just long enough to settle the estate and sell the house and get on to something bigger and better. Too bad a gaggle of old women have other plans for him immediately upon meeting him. Well, once he wakes up after an encounter with one of Marathon's worst drivers lands him in the hospital, battered and bruised. Not the best introduction, right?
From here we meet Helen and Skeet, Inez, Francine, Priss, and of course Hank. Hank of the greasy hands, nice ass, and a southern drawl that makes Marcus swoon. Hank who just happens to be the only mechanic in town and the one who Marcus hopes can fix the mangled mess of his car so he can get out of Marathon pronto. Only problem is that the repairs will take time and money so what's a boy to do but start working at the Tammy Dinette? Especially since Marcus has spent years being a short-order cook and has dreams and aspirations of being a big-time chef someday. Of course the more time he spends in Marathon, the more he comes to love the town and the people (especially Hank) and the more the idea of setting down roots begins to well ... take root.
Really guys, this book was all kinds of fun. From Sarge and his two "friends" who love to dress up in drag and sing karaoke, to Skeet and his dreams of going to New York City to be a big Broadway star to the meddlesome but with a heart of gold Do-Nothing's there is much to love. The writing was tight and the characters so well-developed and engaging. The slow burn romance between Marcus and Hank was sweet to watch, and the little bit of drama with Marcus's ex-boyfriend, while a tad on the melodramatic side, helped Marcus develop a backbone and decide what he wants out of life. I enjoyed every page of this and highly recommend Lunch With the Do-Nothing's at the Tammy Dinette to all of you. You'll thank me after, preferably with a glass of sweet tea!
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.
Character interview with Marcus Sumter
1) What do you find attractive in a man?
On the physical level, I like a man who is taller than me and who seems comfortable in his body. Also, I’m a leg and butt man. I’m also a sucker for the old cliché of tall, dark and handsome. I mean, who doesn’t get their head turned by a tall drink of water with a cute butt? But on the less shallow side, I like a man who is secure in who he is and who approaches life as an adventure. He also needs to laugh easily and enjoy the pleasures of a good meal.
2) The first thing that went through your head when you saw Hank Hudson?
The first time I saw Hank, he was leaned over the hood of an old car and all I could see was his backside. So the first thought that went through my head was that he had a truly spectacular butt. He was wearing old jeans that fit his curves perfectly in all the right places. That man can wear a pair of pants! When he stood up and turned around, I was pleased to see that he had a pair of kind and happy eyes as well. The little crinkles at the corners of his eyes are just adorable.
3) Do you think you’ll insist the author visits you again?
I’d like it if Killian wanted to tell more of our stories here in Marathon, Georgia. There are so many interesting people that come in and out of the Tammy Dinette on a daily basis, he would be sure to find something to write about. Like my best friend Skeet Warner. That kid is always getting into some kind of shenanigans as he is trying to prepare to be a big star on Broadway. I think his stories could be real funny to tell. Also, that kid has a sassy little mouth on him.
4) Before you met Hank, what was your ideal man?
As a little kid, I used to read books about pirates and sailors all the time. I really liked the idea of adventure and travel all over the world. So, I guess, I always wanted a man who had a sense of adventure and the means to see the world. But it was also important that he know the importance of having a home to share with someone. That hasn’t changed since I met Hank, but I see that adventure can be found without leaving yur own backyard.
5) You’re going out for dinner. What’s your favorite food?
Oh, that’s an easy one. I grew up with a mother who was a waitress in greasy spoon diners. Most of my childhood was spent sitting on the stools at a diner counter and smelling bacon frying and waffles cooking. So when I want comfort food, I like to break out the breakfast foods. A big old plate of eggs, bacon and grits make me feel instantly at home. The smell of coffee and maple syrup are as close to heaven as we can get on Earth. Also, I always felt like it was kind of breaking the rules to eat breakfast food at night. Even though it isn’t fancy cuisine, it feels like a bit of naughty fun.
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.
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.
Grand Prize $25 IP Gift Card + Multi-format eBook of Hold // Five winners receive Lunch With the Do-Nothings at the Tammy Dinette eBook
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