Monday, January 28, 2019

Virtual Book Tour Smuggler by Nicholas Fillmore

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.


Excerpt Two:

Later that afternoon I walked, drunk, through the Musee d’Arte Moderne in Brussels, down a winding white hallway to some inner recess. In a corner, behind glass, a little ventriloquist’s dummy in baggy pants and jacket sat before a brass bell. For minutes on end he just sat there with his feet sticking out in front of him, like he’d been knocked down in the street. Then something seemed to stir inside him and the doll’s torso jerked forward an inch and its metal head—bang! struck the bell producing an unexpectedly bright peal like the bell of a steamship. A little placard read, “Attempt to Raise Hell.” Dennis Oppenheim. American.

A small group waited in anticipation for it to happen again. Just as a couple turned to walk away, bang! the bell clanged again. I stayed for another half hour listening to the intermittent clanging; the little brute kept at it, as if he had a mind of his own—as if, in spite of whatever wind-up mechanism controlled him, he was determined to carry out this errand he alone knew the meaning of.


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.

Publisher Website

Interview with Nicholas Fillmore
1. What is your favorite part of this book and why? I’m happy that I was able to hang
onto the jail portion, Part 2, of the book. Two editors from
different publishing houses wanted me to cut that way back or get rid of it altogether, and
focus instead on the smuggling part of the story right up to my arrest. But my agent and a
couple of trusted readers wanted me to keep those chapters as inherently interesting in
themselves. Beyond that, I felt that they are integral to the exposition of the main character.
The story doesn’t just end with my arrest. Other things are still being worked out besides the
moral calculus. Despite my cooperation with the feds, there’s still a logic behind my crimes
I’m not so willing to let go of. The tension between those two urges—the desire to reconcile
oneself with an ethical point of view and the desire to reject platitudes—are personified in the
jailhouse characters of Jimmy Dharma and Snake Carver: Each man had been shaped on a
cellular level by prison. To deprive him of its organizing
principle would be like stripping away the physical laws of repulsion and attraction that held
matter in place. Jimmy found in prison a ground to practice dharma, a nominal existence one
might overcome by contemplation of its inherent “emptiness,” And he found there, too, a
refuge from the vicissitudes of heroin addiction. Carver merely remained obdurate, more
“himself” all the time. “Keep on doing what you’re doing,” he said. “That’s what they want you
to do.” All the subsequent jail action is a dramatization of those two points of view.

2. If you could spend time with a character from your book whom would it be? And what would
you do during that day? I’m not sure I’d know how to find Jimmy. I googled him a few years back and
happened upon
a story in a San Francisco paper about experimental apartments for the homeless, and they
were interviewing him. That came as quite a shock to me. I suppose he’d fallen back into
heroin addiction. But his little apartment looked clean in the picture, dharma posters on the
walls. Despite whatever prowling he does around S.F., our jail existence was probably not far
off his basic mode of living. What would we do? I think we would sit in his apartment and
meditate and then have a cup of tea and say goodbye afterwards. Carver died in prison. I’d been
checking on people on the Bureau of Prisons website to see
when they were getting out. Then one time Carver’s release date came up as Deceased. That
really shook me up too. Despite his several gran mal seizures he was a very vigorous guy,
physically and intellectually. He had decided views in which he was emotionally invested. He
lived each day. You know, there are plenty of guys who get in the pill line in jail every day and
kind of check out. Not Carver. There’s something appealing about that. But he died. And I think
I’d like to FOIA that to find out what happened. As I mention in the book, he had a medical
malpractice suit against the feds, claiming they’d fucked his brain up. He had the records in his
legal box under his bed. He had them. Except he seemed to understand, each time one of his
motions would come back denied, that they were simply going to let him die in jail. Which only
made him angrier and crazier. But he remained unreconciled. And I think that there was
incredible bravery in that. If we were able to get together again in some afterlife it would be a
big argument, maybe fisticuffs.
3. If you could have been the author of any book ever written, which book would you choose?
The Bible.
4. Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?
Yes, as much as possible they are accurate portrayals of those people—as I see them.
5. What made you want to become a writer? A desire to escape from the tyranny of the dull
and the stupid.



Nicholas Fillmore will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Follow the tour and comment; the more they comment, the better their chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here:
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  1. Hello! Thanks so much for sharing your book with us. Always fun reading about another book to enjoy.

  2. Sounds like a good book.

  3. What inspired the story in this book? Congrats on the release. Bernie Wallace BWallace1980(at)hotmail(d0t)com

  4. Thanks, all. I hope you're able to get ahold of a copy!

  5. Any ideas for a sequel to this book? I hope your book is a success. Bernie Wallace BWallace1980(at)hotmail(d0t)com

  6. Who is your favorite character from your book? Congrats on the release. Bernie Wallace BWallace1980(at)hotmail(d0t)com