Feast For Thieves (A Rowdy Slater Novel)
written by Marcus Brotherton
published by River North
About the book – from Goodreads: Sergeant Rowdy Slater is the most skilled-and most incorrigible-soldier in Dog Company, 506th PIR, 101st Airborne, an elite group of paratroopers fighting for the world’s freedom in World War II.
Through a bizarre set of circumstances, Rowdy returns to the States after the war, turns his life around, and falls into the only job he can find-preacher at the sparsely populated community church in Cut Eye, Texas, a dusty highway town situated at the midpoint of nowhere and emptiness.
The town’s lawman, suspicious that Rowdy has changed his ways only as a cover up, gives an ultimatum: Rowdy must survive one complete year as Cut Eye’s new minister or end up in jail.
At first Rowdy thinks the job will be easy, particularly because he’s taking over for a young female missionary who’s held the church together while the men were at war. But when a dark-hearted acquaintance from Rowdy’s past shows up with a plan to make some quick cash, Rowdy becomes ensnared due to an irrevocable favor, and life turns decidedly difficult.
Rowdy’s a man used to solving problems one of two ways: with his rifle or with his fists. Will he be able to thwart his old friend’s evil schemes while remaining true to his new higher calling?
This is a wild ride of a book bursting with a bank robbery, kidnapping, desperate prayers, and barroom brawls. Before the smoke clears, all sides just might end up getting exactly what they want.
Marcus, you just released your debut novel, Feast for Thieves. Tell us about it. The book starts off with a bang, and the action continues nonstop. It’s the story of a paradoxical hooligan named Rowdy Slater, told in first person through his eyes.
He’s an elite incorrigible paratrooper from WWII who comes home to Texas, changes his life around, and through a bizarre set of circumstances is forced to become a preacher for one year in a small town called Cut Eye.
So, where did you get the idea for the book? My inspiration came from a real life paratrooper from WWII named Wayne “Skinny” Sisk. Sisk was highly skilled but incorrigible. After the war, Skinny turned his life around, and eventually became a preacher. He died in 1999 in West Virginia.
None of the specifics of Sisk’s life were used in this novel. Yet that big idea sat in my mind a long time. An elite incorrigible paratrooper becomes a minister. Here’s a man used to solving problems with a rifle or his fists …
What sort of wild-hearted minister might such a man make?
With all the barroom brawls, flying fists, and other crazy antics, it’s seems like the kind of story that would appeal primarily to men. But you’re getting a lot of positive feedback from women. Absolutely. Women love the book too. The characters are rich, and there’s a strong romantic plotline running through the book.
Reverend Rowdy Slater would be hard-pressed to admit it, but he’s falling in love with Bobbie Barker, the church’s willowy missionary who held the church together while the men were at war. She’s smart and funny and has a penchant for quoting horrible poetry.
Rowdy needs to stick close to her, because she’ll turn out to be exactly what he needs in the end.
Rowdy makes a lot of crazy decisions but somehow, readers can’t help loving him. Why do you think his character appeals so much to readers and what do you hope they learn from him? Rowdy’s a lovable scoundrel, through and through. He’s tough yet tender, wayward yet upright. Rowdy understands what it means to be broken, to have a past life that’s full of mistakes. He enters his new job with a humility for the frailty of humanity. He’s compassionate for the underdog, for the person who’s made desperate choices.
Overall, this is a book about a soldier coming home from a war and the journey he takes in his soul toward change. Rowdy encounters this gift from Providence, this feast of undeserved favor, and is invited to come and dine.
The story contains layers of meaning. It makes you think and feel and contemplate life. You could read it once, set it aside for a year and then read it again, and see new nuances in the narrative.
You’ve written more than 25 books, including a New York Times bestseller, but this is your first novel. What motivated you to give fiction a try? Fiction offered me a big blank canvas that allowed me to be as creative as I could be. With a novel, I found I needed to bring alive everything. The characters. The story. The world they live in. The conflicts and challenges that arise. How the characters overcome those obstacles. How everything resolves satisfyingly at the end.
What’s next for you? Rowdy’s world is populated with a wild mix of ex-military men, women of ill repute, jail house bandits, guys who like to fight, cranky church secretaries, orphans, sheriffs, nearly-dead store owners, beautiful smart women who can handle rifles, and good cooks.
There’s plenty of potential to keep Rowdy going and turn it into a series.
About the author: Marcus Brotherton is a journalist and professional writer known internationally for his books and literary collaborations with high-profile public figures, humanitarians, inspirational leaders, and military personnel. He has authored or coauthored more than 25 books, including the New York Times bestseller, We Who Are Alive and Remain.