Manchester, England native and researcher for BBC Radio Manchester, Brendan Yates was looking for contact information for Tucumcari book stores on Monday to see if they would carry copies of his novel, “The Devil’s Dust,” an adventure tale published in late 2010 with a climax set in Tucumcari.
Yates sent a plot synopsis to the Quay County Sun in an e-mail on Monday.
“Four English friends in their mid twenties pick up a Native American hitchhiker in Arkansas and he tells them that he’s originally from Tucumcari and is on the run from a rival family there,” the e-mail reads. “They drop him off in Little Rock (Ark.) and when they arrive in Tucumcari they accidentally meet up with his family and learn that a long-running feud between them and another Tucumcari family is still bubbling under. The hitchhiker’s family run a pottery store and the evil family a blacksmithing shed; they are both trying to raise money to secure the down payment to buy an adobe house in town. One of the English characters is kidnapped by the evil family in the Tucumcari Mountain and his colleagues, having since arrived in Las Vegas, Nevada, must play poker in an attempt to win the money to secure his release since he’s been threatened with murder during a primeval Native American ceremony.”
In a phone conversation, Yates emphasized that his book and its characters are strictly fictional. A trip through Route 66 two years ago brought him to Tucumcari, which inspired him to use the city for his novel’s setting.
“I noticed a lot of very welcoming motels that seem to go out of their way to be very friendly and tell people about the history of the town,” Yates said.
Yates said he was able to get “The Devil’s Dust” published by Empire Publications with revenue earned from his first book.
“My first book was a biography of a British rock band called Primal Scream. The company owed me some money from sales of that book and I said, ‘Keep all the money and invest in a novel,’ so they did that,” Yates said. “If the reviews are good, maybe I can convince my publishing company to invest in an extra-long print run. I hope that works out.”
Yates said the biggest challenge of writing “The Devil’s Dust” was “to illustrate how big the United States of America is compared to Great Britain.”
“It’s a tiny island, but it’s got so many more people than the United States per square mile and trying to explain that through the eyes of four young Englishmen was quite difficult, and of course to be loyal and accurate to the people whom it’s about,” Yates said.
“The Devil’s Dust” is available for pre-order online.