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Eric Beetner talks RUMRUNNERS

On sale now from 280 Steps:

Meet the McGraws. They're not criminals. They're outlaws. They have made a living by driving anything and everything for the Stanleys, the criminal family who has been employing them for decades. It's ended with Tucker. He's gone straight, much to the disappointment of his father, Webb.

When Webb vanishes after a job, and with him a truck load of drugs, the Stanleys want their drugs back or their money. With the help from his grandfather, Calvin-the original lead foot-Tucker is about to learn a whole lot about the family business in a crash course that might just get him killed.

Gerald So: What led you to write Rumrunners?

Eric Beetner: I got the idea to do a multi-generational story about a family of criminals with the youngest generation wanting nothing to do with the family business. I like the idea of them being worker bees too, not the heads of the crime family. These are blue collar types. Drivers. From there it spooled out as a part missing person mystery, part revenge story, part coming-of-age tale. It’s about fathers and sons, criminals and average citizens. And cars. There are lots of cool cars.

Hopefully people can relate to Tucker and his desire to pull away from his roots as a criminal, but that deep down blood bringing him back to where he belongs.

I think there is a lot more to explore with these characters so I hope to be able to continue this as a trilogy.

Gerald: Rumrunners' jacket copy says the McGraws aren't criminals; they're outlaws. What do they (you) see as the difference?

Eric: These are the laborers of this particular criminal enterprise. They don’t sell drugs, run girls, murder people. They drive. Sure, they move illicit material. Sure, what they do is illegal, but they come from an outlaw spirit. From the prohibition days of dodging the law trying to enforce an unenforcible law. I think there is petty crime and then there are bigger crimes. No matter what, the McGraws take pride in their work. They want to be the best and to earn that reputation. It elevates them over everyday crooks who just want a fast buck and will do anything to get it. The McGraws have an ethical code, a list of things they won't do. Now, that code can be changed based on their situation. Like when Tucker’s dad goes missing – all bets are off.

Gerald: What's the best book you've read lately?

Eric: I recently caught up with a 1974 underground classic called The Jones Men by Vern Smith. It was Smith's only novel. He was a reporter and he used his intimate knowledge of the drug trade in and around Detroit to write a book that is exciting and rings with truth. It's very much of its time in the descriptions of clothing and the slang the men use, but it also seemed timeless to me. It was still relevant and incredibly entertaining.

Gerald: What's next for you?

Eric: 2015 is a busy year for me. I've already seen the release of the full omnibus edition of my serialized novel The Year I Died 7 Times. I have two novels that I co-wrote with other authors coming out this year: Over Their Heads with JB Kohl and The Backlist with Frank Zafiro. I also have a novella coming out late in the year called Nine Toes In The Grave as well as the ebook release of one of my early novels that has until now only been available in a limited collector's edition print run of 100 copies. I'm also editing an anthology and have stories appearing in a few others. And somewhere in there I’ll find time to write new novels.

Gerald: Thank you, Eric, and continued success.

Eric Beetner is the author of Rumrunners, The Devil Doesn't Want Me, Dig Two Graves, The Year I Died Seven Times, White Hot Pistol, Stripper Pole At the End Of The World, the story collection A Bouquet Of Bullets, co-author (with JB Kohl) of the novels One Too Many Blows To The Head and Borrowed Trouble, and he has written the novellas FIGHTCARD: Split Decision and FIGHTCARD: A Mouth Full Of Blood under the name Jack Tunney.

His award-winning short fiction has appeared in Pulp Ink, Pulp Ink 2, D*CKED, Reloaded, Beat To A Pulp Hardboiled Vol 2, Atomic Noir, Thuglit, All Due Respect and Needle, among others.

He lives in Los Angeles where he co-hosts the Noir at the Bar reading series.


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