Friday Feature ~ Shrimpin’ Gold by Bob Spearman

Welcome, welcome, welcome to fellow Mystery author Bob Spearman. If you are looking for a book for the weekend then I have just the thing! Read on…

Welcome again Bob, can you tell us about your inspiration behind ‘Shrimpin’ Gold’?

BS: The motivation to write this book was, in part, to highlight the life of the local shrimper family and their struggle to survive the current economic tsunami that attacks their business. In the Carolinas, this business spans generations of local families who know no other way to live. The concept to tell the story of this struggle and yet give the main characters a hope for survival popped in my head while sitting on the beach. I was watching a slow moving shrimp trawler offshore as he plowed his way home to Shem Creek. What if they pulled up a net of Spanish gold?

I’ve lived most of my life in the Charleston area. Local family and friends have all enjoyed the privilege of easy access to fresh fish, shrimp, and oysters sold along the creeks of the Lowcountry. One of the most popular landmarks for fresh seafood is Shem Creek. This creek, home to numerous shrimp boats that line its shores, feeds into the Charleston harbor. It has been an icon for the Lowcountry, a favorite haunt for painters and photographers, and a magnet for restaurants and bars. With fuel prices up and the competition from Asian shrimp farms, living has been difficult for the families who have toiled at this labor for generations. Life is changing for the shrimper. Bringing awareness to this situation and the potential to help were paramount to this story. If the shrimp boats leave, the creek will lose the allure, and will become just a muddy creek.

Oh, and finally, in Charleston, we have fun with pirates and the ghost of these characters from days gone by. Adding a little of that flavor to this story is like the hot sauce on shrimp; not necessary but it sure spices it up.

What a great premise for a story Bob. I have added ‘Shrimpin’ Gold’ to my TBR holiday pile!


In good seasons and bad, small family-owned shrimping operations have survived in the Carolinas. Harlin Dodd, a third generation shrimper on Shem Creek, faces the demise of a business started by his grandfather. Long time loyal first mate, Joe Ladson, struggles to pay his wife’s medical bills. Their old shrimp boat is beyond repair. Shrimp are scarce. But just as the financial dilemmas of both families seem insurmountable, their shrimp nets bring up a treasure chest filled with gold. With this prize, their troubles really begin. When pirates return for their lost gold, Joe is tortured, and Harlin’s daughter is kidnapped. Harlin must trade himself to save his daughter. Storms, pirates, gold, and ghostly illusions, all set in historical Charleston, make the shrimpers’ struggle an exciting Lowcountry tale.

Here’s a snippet from ‘Shrimpin’ Gold’:

Joe sat on his front porch in his favorite spindle-backed rocking chair. He studied the movements of two brilliant red Cardinals as they chased bugs along a jasmine-covered fence. A cool breeze carried the sweet scent of the jasmine blossoms across the porch. When the breeze stiffened, a squeaky windmill propeller, in his flower garden, waggled around in uneven circles.

His gaze drifted from the birds to the empty rocker next to him, and he sighed. A Carolina Wren, hidden high in the oak tree canopy, tweeted a familiar tune. He looked up and gained solace with the chorus of sounds that nature offered.

As a boy, he had climbed in these oak trees and tossed a baseball with his dad beside the jasmine fence. He had fished the saltwater creeks near his property with his grandfather, his father, and his son. He had rocked on this porch and watched the stars with Cora Lee when they were both in high school.

This lowcountry haven embellished his soul, it was a part of him and impossible to dissect; it gave him peace. He knew he could not leave this place and survive. He knew if he did leave, the smell of pluff mud and the sounds of sea birds would haunt him until he returned.

For now, the empty chair reminded him of what might be lost, the missing complement to his soul, like the song to a bird or the smell to a jasmine blossom. Through the years, each Sunday after church, they ate noon dinner together, and then Joe and Cora Lee enjoyed this simple pleasure of sitting on the porch. They rocked content with what the afternoon offered, blue sky, clouds, or rain. He could no more live happy without her than he could survive without the marshes or the sea.

Thanks for joining me today Bob and good luck and every success with ‘Shrimpin’ Gold’.


About the Author:

Writing on the beaches of South Carolina has proven a productive environment for this author, and on a breezy, warm afternoon, you may find him sitting on the sand under an umbrella. His favorite Carolina haunts are Edisto Beach, the Isle of Palms shoreline, or on an isolated stretch of Pawleys Island. The relative solitude, the breath of salt air, and the rhythm of the sea provide inspiration for plot lines based in the Carolina Lowcountry.Bob

Bob Spearman grew up in rural South Carolina and now lives with his wife, Barbara, in Mount Pleasant. Although a son of this area, he has lived in Georgia, Texas, Florida, and Utah while working as an engineer. After moving back to Charleston, he started writing fiction as a hobby. He works with several local writer groups, has written three novels, and several short stories. He is currently working on his fourth novel. He is a graduate of The Citadel and holds a master’s degree from the University of Texas.


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13 thoughts on “Friday Feature ~ Shrimpin’ Gold by Bob Spearman

  1. Nicole, thanks for hosting me on your blog and highlighting information about Shrimpin’ Gold. I’d be glad to answer any questions your blog visitors might have.

    You’ve got a beautiful web page with lots of interesting ideas for readers. I hope to meet some of them virtually via this blog.

    Bob Spearman

    1. A pleasure Bob, and thank you for the lovely compliments.You are welcome anytime! I love the excerpt you shared and your cover is beautiful – who designed it?

      1. The cover was painted by a local Charleston artist and art professor, Aaron Baldwin. His aunt went to school with me and suggested he might be helpful. Aaron’s father is William Baldwin, a well known poet and author from our Carolina Lowcountry.

        Aaron read a beta copy of Shrimpin’ Gold, we discussed the concept and then he took it from there. A picture of the painting went to a graphic artist at CreateSpace and they added the text and blended the back cover. So the design took a village to complete. I’m happy with the results.

  2. Reading this makes me want to visit Shem Creek and the Carolinas. I’ve never been there but it sounds like somewhere I’d enjoy. Good luck with your book.

    1. Nathan,
      The Charleston, SC area has been named the number one tourist location in the world for the last two years, so many agree it’s a great place to visit.

      I grew up in this area and wish we were a little less visible. There is a balance.

      In my first novel, Turf and Surf, I lamented the ‘over-popularity’ of Myrtle Beach. In the early 1900’s, Myrtle Beach was hardly known as more than a place to cut timber. A railroad was built to haul the lumber and it gave an easy route for people to visit the area. A few beach cottages has now turned into one of the most popular tourists resorts on the east coast. Still beautiful, but they’ve paved most of this paradise and put up a parking lot. I hope the unique appeal of Charleston doesn’t suffer the same demise. So you better hurry while things are still prime.

  3. Shem Creek sounds idyllic, Bob – all that lovely seafood.
    Living on the coast is such a privilege, I’ll be adding Shrimpin’ Gold to my list too.
    Great site, Nicole and chock full of fab articles.

  4. I like the sound of your novel Bob, I imagine shrimping is akin to the life of fisherman. These days life is hard for these guys. I enjoyed your excerpt too, it reminds me of bygone days. Wishing you all the best with Shrimpin Gold.

    1. Thanks, Tracie. If you follow the link above to Amazon Books and select Shrimpin’ Gold, you will be able to read the first 4 or 5 chapters as well. The sample will get you started with the story line and characters. Hope you enjoy.


  5. Really enjoyed your excerpt Bob. You mentioned Myrtle Beach in another of your books, do you find you write about places you know?

    1. Yes, June, I believe authors should write about issues and places that they know. Credibility is important to readers. Descriptions of locations and behaviors of local characters need to accurate, especially for people who live in the region.

      I also spend time with research on topics that I include. In Shrimpin’ Gold, research on the shrimping industry, how shrimp boats are built, the history of Spanish shipping, gold acquisition from the new world, storms, wrecks, pirates, etc. The story line needs to work with reality. In my novel, Hard Road, a lot of time was spent researching mental illness.

      Personal experience helps too. Readers will know if you are making it up; write something you know.


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