Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Book Tour/Giveaway - La Paloma by Willard Thompson

La Paloma
by Willard Thompson


GENRE: suspense/adventure/romance



When Teresa Diaz's father is arrested in an ICE raid in a Los Angeles area city and deported back to Mexico, her family begins to come apart. She is a student at UCLA on a scholarship for undocumented aliens (Dreamers) looking to have a life in the U.S. in communications. Her brother in High school and her elementary school sister begin having serious troubles without a father in the household.

At work in a fast-food drive-through, Teri, as she wants to be known is approached by a Mexican gangbanger who offers to take you to her father. Doubting the guy wants more than picking her up, she resists, but day by day, as her sister is sent home from school and her brother is brought home dunk by the police, she gives in and goes across the border with him. Against her wishes, he takes her to a beach house in Tijuana and leaves her. She learns that illegal activities are going on in the house but without transportation, and without a birth certificate --either Mexican or American-- she can't cross the border alone.

After several days, virtually a prisoner, the owner of the house, a fat woman known as Mama Gorda arranges to get her across the border with a young Mexican man who rides a fast motorcycle. On the way, he takes her to lunch and there offers to talk her deeper into Mexico to find her father. She agrees, travels in his private plane and begins a romance while searching for her father in Michoacan state. The more she becomes involved, the more she is involved in activities she doesn't understand but suspects they're illegal.

Returning to Monte Vista, her LA area home, still without her father, she finds she can no longer return to UCLA, seeks a job, connects with a Latina who bullied her he school. When her brother is arrested for jobbery, Teri returns to Mexico seeking help from the people she suspects to belong to a cartel.

Ultimately, she is sponsored by the people in Mexico to participate in the Miss Mexico contest, not realizing it is the Cartel that is promoting her. In the end, she will face a life-changing decision whether to continue her romance with the son of the cartel's head or try to stand on her own. And whether to remain in Mexico or return to LA.



The smell of old grease in the deep fryer greets me when I open the door to the fast food place where I work. I nod to the assistant manager. He is a strange, older guy who gives me the creeps the way his eyes always seem to be looking me over. I hurry to the tiny room off the kitchen to punch in. The odor of Clorox follows me into the room, rising like a mist from the tile floor. Adjusting the headset, I go to the cash window to take over from a teenage boy.

Early-season rain is slowing Thursday evening traffic, rising from the warm asphalt in puffs of steam, glistened in the headlights, and on the windshields of the cars waiting in line.

When I slide the window open to greet the first customer, I inhale a lungful of exhaust fumes that make me cough. As each car rolls up, I take the money and make change, paying no attention to the drivers, thinking about papa and the text messages I’d had with my so-called boyfriend, Ryan, before leaving the house.

He’d texted to ask if I would join him the next night? “An event I want you to go to with me. You will find it interesting. Then we can go to my place,” he’d texted.

I texted back, “Okay.”

I didn't think I was in love with Ryan, but he’s a nice, gentle guy. Handsome. Fun to be with. An economics major. He had been my introduction to college life. The constant hum of activity on-campus—concerts, plays, poetry readings, parties—enthralled me whenever I could get time from my job and family to attend. I met a lot of girls who had cute clothes at UCLA. Sometimes they talked about me when they didn’t think I could hear. I never made any close friends with those college girls. It was a small price for getting away from Monte Vista.

No question guys like Ryan could offer me a different life, but I’d held back from him, and hoped he didn’t notice. Of course, he did, but I’m a virgin and want to make sure he’s the right man, not just my ticket out, before giving myself to him.

I hand the wrong change to a customer.

“Can’t you count, SeƱorita?” The man snaps and moves his car on to the pickup window.

“$6.79,” I tell the next car. I take the ten and reach out to give the driver his change, making sure I've counted right. The face peering from the car’s window startles me so much I pull back. Its owner grabs my wrist. I’m used to the gangbangers who pull up at my window, but this one is different. He seems much older than the teenagers who hang around on street corners. His eyes bore into me. His shaved head, large and lopsided, with ridges and knobs, reflects the building lights, glistening in the drizzle. A tattooed snake crawls down his arm from under his T-shirt. I jerk my hand back, but the knobheaded man doesn’t let go.

“I know about your father,” he snarls. “They carted him down to the Otay crossing with the other men —”

“Let go my hand, Creep.”

“I could help you, Chica, if you let me.”

“Forget it.”

“Maybe find your father.”

“How do you know about my father?” This time I jerk my hand away hard.

“I know about him. I hear things. I have friends.”

I hold back, just looking at him, not sure what to say. The car behind Knobhead revs its engine. Farther down the line, another one honks.

We should talk,” he says. “When you're done—?”

“I don’t think so.”

“Suit yourself. You got a better way, take it. I don’t give a fuck.” He keeps staring at me. “You’re one of us,” he snarls.

I return his snarl, “Never!”

He grins, and I can see his teeth are horribly stained, a couple in front are chipped. “You think you’re so fair-skinned you pass for a gringa. You don’t pass with us, Chica. We know. You’re very hot. Best for you to be my Mujer. I take care of you.”

He grins, and his car moves on. Another takes its place at the window. “You spend too much time talking to your boyfriend,” the woman, whose kids in the backseat are jumping around out of control, almost spit at me. “We’re hungry, and it’s raining you inconsiderate bitch.”
***From The Author***

What I want your followers to know about La Paloma, my new novel

La Paloma is not a crime-heavy cartel story with lots of murders and bloody events. It is a story about Teresa Diaz’s facing the question of who she is, a daughter of Mexico’s proud history or a Latina trying to fit into the American Culture? When the story opens, she is an AB540 scholarship student at UCLA, working for a degree in communications and dating a Caucasian boy. When her father is deported in an ICE raid, Teri must go into Mexico to bring him home. She doesn’t have documentation, so it is a risk, but her family is falling apart, and she feels compelled to go. Her journey into Mexico is like falling down a rabbit hole of mysterious events, but it also becomes a journey of self-realization that included a romance with the son of a cartel boss. In the end, many of her questions about herself are answered, and some are left ambiguous and unanswered.
My interest, as it is in all my novels, is how a situation effects the people involved in it. In this case a 20-year-old Latina named Teresa Diaz. She is a young woman who has been brought up in many of the traditions of Mexico, living in a southern California community that is heavily Latino, trying to be an American girl. How can that possibly be good for her self-image?
I love Mexico. I’ve been there more than a dozen times, several as a journalist. I know first-hand the beauty of the states of Michoacan and Guanajuato, and the country’s history. I spent 4 days working with the US Border Patrol intercepting Mexican smugglers wading across the Rio Grande River from Juarez to El Paso. These were not dangerous men. They were middle age men trying to make a living to support their families. I interviewed several of the smugglers we apprehended (that is a story for a different time because it was a cops and robbers comedy it you ever saw one) and one of them told me in Spanish, pointing at his running shoes, that his daughters didn’t want to wear cheap shoes like he had on to school. They wanted Nikes and Adidas. That tells you a lot about the Mexican economy.
I didn’t do that trip with the Border Patrol to gather fiction input, but it gave me all the input I needed for my novel. This is not a gritty cartel crime story. In reality this is a coming of age story in which Teri must wrestle with and decide who she wants to be as an adult. In the next to last chapter she tells a new friend, “I just want to be proud of who I am.” The ending is ambiguous. Hopefully asking readers to think about what Teri will do; and maybe asking themselves what they would do.
Some years back I became familiar with the fact that UCLA was giving free scholarships to undocumented aliens under a state law AB540. It led me to start thinking about the situation of a young Latina with no documentation trying to get an education in order to blend into the American culture.
More recently, our government has struggled with what to do about the DREAMers. The situation has been compounded by Congressional battle over immigration and building walls (we used to call then fences), and ICE raids that deport undocumented Mexicans, breaking up families. Finally, the situation with drug and crime cartels has come strongly into public awareness. So, all of this is great grist for a novelist.


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

La Paloma is Willard Thompson new suspense/adventure/romance novel inspired by current headlines. It’s set in present day Los Angeles, California, and various cities in Mexico.
The Girl from the Lighthouse published last year is Thompson's Award-winning historical romance set in California and Paris, France in the 1870s.

He is the gold medal-winning author of Dream Helper, the first in The Chronicles of California series of three historical novels set in the early days of the Golden State. He and his wife live in Santa Barbara, California.

Buy links:


Barnes and Nobles:



Willard Thompson will be awarding a $15 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Please use this rafflecopter code on your post:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Replies
    1. Hi Mary, hope you read this great story.
      Cheers, Willard

  2. Thanks for hosting La Paloma today,
    Cheers, Willard

  3. The cover is very unique and pretty. The story sounds like an intense read. Thanks for sharing the excerpt and information. Best wishes to the author on the new release.

    1. Hi Debra, I hope you read and enjoy La Paloma and post a review on Kindle or Goodreads.
      Cheers, Willard

  4. Hi Victoria, I hope you read and enjoy La Paloma and post a review on Kindle or Goodreads.
    Cheers, Willard

  5. Book looks like interesting read. Would love to read and review paperback/print version of book.
    What made you write this type of book?
    How do you come up with your characters and settings?
    Do you ever use animals in your books?
    Do you always heroes or do have heroines too?

  6. Hi Crystal, Please read and review La Paloma on Amazon and/or Goodreads. La Paloma is based on newspaper coverage of dreamers and their difficulties and ICE raids that break up families and send a father or mother back to Mexico. La Paloma will let you follow a young woman on a mysterious journey. You will love it.
    Cheers, Willard

  7. I like the plot and the excerpt.

  8. Love the dove, la Paloma, on the cover.