Great Reads

1. Have you published a book yet?
Yes, three novels and a book of stories and poems. The first novel, Striking Out, a coming-of-age novel, was published in 1991 by The Permanent Press and was nominated for the PEN/Hemingway Award. The second, Atlanta Blues, is about the search for a missing college girl by a newspaper reporter and two cops. Published by Harbor House Books, it was a Southern Critics Circle Selection and was named in a year-end round-up as “one of the best novels of 2004 by a Southern writer.” The third novel, A Majority of One, was published in September 2011, by Red Letter Press. The fourth book, due out soon, is also from Red Letter Press. It’s title is Six of One, Half Dozen of Another (Stories & Poems).

A Majority of One by Robert Lamb - Please click on this image and buy his bookSynopsis of A Majority of One: When preachers in a rural Georgia town move to ban some classic American novels from the high school curriculum–and post the Ten Commandments in every classroom–only one person stands up to them: English teacher Anne Brady, an “outsider” from Atlanta who champions great literature (and the separation of Church and State). Refusing to “go along to get along,” she soon finds herself in a fight to save her job and reputation. For help, she turns to another outsider, lawyer Eugene Shapiro, who as the county’s only Jewish attorney knows all too well what his client is up against. By the time Anne’s struggle spills into court from a heated school-board meeting, the mood of the county points toward a legal lynching – or worse, as some of the more zealous defenders of the faith have drifted beyond the reach of law or reason. This novel is a powerful reminder that not all religious fanatics live in the Middle East. America has its own home-grown variety. (Available at Amazon for the Kindle and for all other ereaders).

2. When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
At age 10, I saw a movie, “Gentleman’s Agreement.” Starring Gregory Peck, it was about his work as a magazine writer exposing, in this case, anti-semitism. I was smitten. I grew up to become a newspaperman (The Atlanta Constitution) and then a novelist and short-story writer.

3. What was your first lengthy piece of fiction (say, >1000 words)? What was it about? When did you write it? Do you still have it?
It was my first attempt at a novel. It was about a teacher who gets into trouble because of his/her unorthodox religious views. I began it as a college student, probably in my junior year. I still have the original, written in a notebook, around here somewhere; better still, I finally got that novel written (though changed in material ways). It’s the novel titled A Majority of One.

4. When was your first indication, “I can do this (write)”?
I’ve always been able to write. As far back as grade school, I wrote creatively, and my classmates and teachers encouraged me to do more. But I knew how to write long before I knew how to write a novel. That first attempt at a novel, when I was in college, sputtered out at about 50,000 words – because I didn”t know what I was doing. Novel-writing is a craft. One must learn the craft or trust to blind luck for success. The latter approach, when it works at all, often leads to what’s known in writers’circles as the sophomore jinx: the second book bombs because the author didn’t know how he did it the first time.

5. If you could meet one of your characters in real life, which would it be?
I’ve already met some of them. The two cops in Atlanta Blues were based on cops I actually knew and worked with as a reporter. In Striking Out, Johnny Kelly was based on a childhood friend whom I knew well. But Shapiro, in A Majority of One, is a fictitious character I’d like to meet in person.

6. It’s a dark and stormy night…you’re alone in the house…there’s a knock at the door…you open it, look out, and proceed to scream like a little girl. What’s on the doorstep?
I can’t imagine screaming like a little gir, but I might do it if the people from Publishers Clearinghouse Sweepstakes were there, holding a big, big, check made out to me.


For more of Robert and his writing, be sure to check out his blog, Red Letter Press, and Twitter.

Editor's note: Yes, from time to time, does allow our authors to do blatant self-promotion. In fact, we encourage it and hope you'll click this book link, buy and enjoy Bob's book. He's a really nice guy and great writer and, IMHO, deserves great success. Oh, yeah, this story also appeared at
Robert Lamb

Robert Lamb

I grew up in Augusta, Ga., where I attended Boys' Catholic High. After service in the Navy, I attended the University of Georgia, majoring in English, and then began a (wholly unexpected) journalism career on the old Augusta Herald, an evening paper, and ended years later in Atlanta at The (great) Atlanta Constitution, which I left in late 1982 to write The Great American Novel. That goal has proved remarkably elusive, but my first attempt (Striking Out, in 1991) was nominated for the PEN/Hemingway Award. My second novel, Atlanta Blues, spent a few minutes on the best-seller list in (at least) Columbia, S.C., and was described in one newspaper’s year-end roundup as “one of the three best novels of 2004 by a Southern writer.” My third novel won no honors but at least didn’t get me hanged; titled A Majority of One, it is about a clash between religion and the Constitution over book-banning in the high school of a Georgia town. For my next novel, And Tell Tchaikovsky the News, I returned to an Atlanta setting for a story about the redemptive powers of, in this case anyhow, “that good rock ’n’ roll.” I've also published a collection of short stories and poems: Six of One, Half Dozen of Another. One of its stories, “R.I.P.,” was a winner in the S.C. Fiction Project in 2009. Before retirement, I taught creative writing and American literature at the University of South Carolina and its Honors College, and feature writing in its School of Journalism. I maintain a now-and-then blog at boblamb.wordpress.comand I walk my dog on the beach a lot at Pawleys Island, S.C.