VBT – SMUGGLER
Posted by authorcamilson
by Nicholas Fillmore
GENRE: Memoir/True Crime
When twenty-something post-grad Nick Fillmore discovers the zine he’s been recruited to edit is a front for drug profits, he begins a dangerous flirtation with an international heroin smuggling operation and in a matter of months finds himself on a fast ride he doesn’t know how to get off of.
After a bag goes missing in an airport transit lounge he is summoned to West Africa to take a voodoo oath with Nigerian mafia. Bound to drug boss Alhaji, he returns to Europe to put the job right, but in Chicago O’Hare customs agents “blitz” the plane and a courier is arrested.
Thus begins a harried yearlong effort to elude the Feds, prison and a looming existential dead end…. Smuggler relates the real events behind OITNB.
At the other end of the terminal was another set of steel doors—simple double doors leading right out to the street, daylight and fresh air strobing through each time someone exited; cabs lined up and waiting, freedom lingering out there.
I hoisted my bag over my shoulder, bypassing the baggage carousels where a cop was walking around with a dog, and headed towards the doors. A single Customs Agent was perched on a stool to the far right, reading a magazine. As I got about a third of the way there, he seemed to stir. I changed direction ever so slightly.
He roused himself. A small group was moving toward him from the right, but he seemed to ignore them.
I looked out the corner of my eyes for someone, anyone I could fall in behind, but everyone seemed blissfully out of reach—and I imagined this is what it must feel like to drown: to take one last desperate look at help swimming strongly away.
Then the agent sauntered ever so slowly out into the middle of the room. My heart raced. Then he looked up. I saw it coming, could feel it coming. Oblivious to the rest of the herd, he’d singled me out; and for a second I felt I might just swoon right there. Then some sort of instinct kicked in. I resigned myself to being questioned and headed right at him.
For some seconds he hung back as I did my best to play the part of the unassuming traveler.
“Where are you coming from, sir?” he asked, at an angle.
“Paris,” I said.
“Can I see your ticket?”
I handed him my ticket.
“How long were you in Paris?”
“What were you doing there?”
“What kind of business.”
And here I faltered. Nun Civa Orcus. What the hell was that? My mind raced for all sorts of explanations. For a second I considered making something up. But that would only mean trouble. You tend to say stupid things when you veer from the script like that. Someone might ask your name, for instance, and under duress you might say Peter Rabbit or Dick Nixon, who the hell knew? Had he detected my hesitation? I had to speak.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Nicholas Fillmore attended the graduate writing program at University of New Hampshire. He was a finalist for the Juniper Prize in poetry and co-founded and published SQUiD magazine in Provincetown, MA. He is currently at work on Sins of Our Fathers, a family romance and works as a reporter and lecturer in English. He lives on windward Oahu with his wife, his daughter and three dogs.
Nicholas Fillmore will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
Interview With …
Tell us about you as a person.
I should have stayed on the farm, so to speak. My parents are nice, small-town people. And I’m really a simple, shy person at heart, given to daydreaming and writing poetry. But life comes at you and you grow up.
If you could hang out with one famous person for one day, who would it be and why?
I have to say it would be Jesus. Running around Palestine denouncing the scribes and Pharisees, and preaching to the multitudes whilst the political powers of the ancient world hang like dark clouds in the offing—this is my idea of a good time.
What’s the story behind your latest book?
As memoir that’s pretty straight forward. I got hooked into this heroin smuggling conspiracy—part out of boredom, part out of greed, part out of a desire for adventure and part out of a desire to take a burden upon myself (to write about.)
What is your writing process?
Usually I write late at night. I might listen to music or not, but not with lyrics, which counts out most pop music. I can’t write while someone else is talking. Otherwise, as far as “process” I’m pretty recursive, which is a leftover poetry habit and a problem; when you’ve gone over a sentence or paragraph or chapter so many times with an eye toward its inner coherence, it can become a little insular. Writing Smuggler I learned that sometimes you need to let up on the verbosity so that when you do want to write from some elevated state it shows up. Of course later on you can obsessively pour over every phrase and comma.
If your book was to be turned into a movie, who would play the lead role and why.
I’m not quite up on the young film stars. A young Tim Roth?
What are you working on next?
It’s called Sins of Our Fathers, an attempt to reimagine family incidents over several generations that inform the family’s fortunes, such as they are.
What is your favorite book on your shelf right now?
Raymond Chandler, The Long Goodbye.
You are given the choice of one super power. What super power would you have and why?
I would say ESP which has its obvious benefits. The implications for being a writer are interesting. It seems there would be little room for the imagination, though you could do staggering historical works.
List 5 things on your bucket list:
- Finish next novel.
- Move to Paris.
- Write another novel.
- Get daughter into college.
- Write another novel.
Where can readers find you on the web?
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