Posted in Giveaway, Interview, nonfiction, Spotlight, Texas on July 6, 2016

WTM banner


The Story of LaVern Roach

(Sport in the American West Series)


Frank Sikes

Genre: Biography

Publisher: Texas Tech University Press

Date of Publication: June 30, 2016

Number of Pages: 288

Scroll down for Giveaway!


west texas middleweight coverLaVern Roach, a skinny kid from the small town of Plainview, Texas, rose from obscurity to become one of boxing’s most popular figures during the 1940s. Roach’s rise to prominence occurred during an era when boxing shared the spotlight with baseball as the nation’s top two professional sports. As a result of Roach’s death—which marked the first nationally televised fight during which a boxer died from injuries received in the ring—the sport of boxing came under closer scrutiny by the general public than ever before.

West Texas Middleweight is the story of Roach’s all too brief journey from a West Texas amateur, to enlistment in the US Marines, where he captained the nation’s most successful military boxing team, to becoming a Madison Square Garden main eventer. He received the distinction of being named The Ring Magazine’s “Rookie of the Year” for 1947 and was considered a top ten contender for the middleweight championship of the world. This book chronicles Roach’s road to his final fight—and it explains why, as noted by legendary boxing trainer Angelo Dundee, “boxing changed because of LaVern Roach.”



phone: 800.742.2982


Who are some of your favorite authors you feel were influential in your work?  What impact have they had on your writing?

Harper Lee was probably my first favorite author.  Reading To Kill a Mockingbird as a teenager made me want to be a writer — or Atticus Finch.  My first constitutional law course quickly put an end to the latter.  While serving ship duty overseas while in the Navy, the best novel that I could hardly put down was Joseph Heller’s Catch 22.  So much of its satire was being played out in real life on board my ship.  Other favorites include Leon Uris, Hemingway, and more recently Laura Hillenbrand.

What literary character is most like you?

If American Graffiti were a book, the character most like me would be Curt (played by Ricard Dreyfuss).

What book do you wish you could have written

I just wrote it: West Texas Middleweight!  Two others are To Kill a Mockingbird and Catch 22.

Just as your books inspire authors, what authors have inspired you to write?

Harper Lee, Joseph Heller, Leon Uris, Laura Hillenbrand.

What did you find most useful in learning to write?  What was most destructive? 

Most useful – write it down as it comes to you, even if it is in the middle of the night.  Most destructive – the flip side of the most useful – if you don’t write it down when it comes to you, if is easy to forget the idea or thought.

What cultural value do you see in writing or storytelling? 

Preserving the past.

What are some day jobs that you have held?  If any of them impacted your writing, share an example. 

My daytime job is a real estate appraiser.  Each appraisal report requires a considerable amount of research, editing, and writing to produce a credible finished product, just like writing.

Do you have any strange writing habits you’d like to share with your readers? 

Most of my writing comes after midnight.

What’s something fun or funny that most people don’t know about you? 

When I chew ice, the sound resonates and fills the entire room according to my wife who suggests that is because I have a hollow head.

about the author

frank sikesFrank Sikes, a third-generation West Texan, grew up in Plainview, where LaVern Roach, along with Jimmy Dean, were hometown heroes.  Sikes graduated from Texas Tech in 1967, then was a US Navy Officer proudly serving aboard the USS Little Rock stationed in Gaeta, Italy from 1968-1970.  He attended the University of Houston School of Business, from 1973 to 1975, and got his master’s degree in religion from Wayland Baptist University in 2011.

Frank and his wife Nancy have been married for 50 years and have two grown children out of the house, and two Boston Terriers, Molly and Maggie (or as some suggest Boston terrorists) who rule the house. Lubbock has been home for the past 30 years with stops in Newport, RI; San Francisco, CA; Gaeta, Italy; Houston, TX; and Albuquerque, NM.  West Texas Middleweight is his first book.

Connect with the author on Facebook




 Each Wins a Signed Copy of the Book 



Each Wins a Signed Copy of the Book PLUS a $25 Barnes & Noble Gift Card


   June 1 – June 10, 2016

WTM Giveaway Image

a Rafflecopter giveaway


7/1       Country Girl Bookaholic  – Review
7/2       My Book Fix Blog – Author Interview #1
7/3       Forgotten Winds – Guest Post #1
7/4       Margie’s Must Reads – Review
7/5       Blogging for the Love of Authors and Their Books – Promo
7/6       StoreyBook Reviews  – Author Interview #2
7/7       Book Chase – Review
7/8       The Page Unbound – Author Interview #3
7/9       Missus Gonzo  – Guest Post #2
7/10    It’s a Jenn World – Review

 lone star lit life

   blog tour services provided by

lone star book blog tours