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Author Q&A ft Nicholas Fillmore | SMUGGLER Book Tour | Goddess Fish Promotion Presents Memoir True Crime

Goddess Fish Promotions has organized a Virtual Book Tour for SMUGGLER by Nicholas Fillmore, a memoir (true crime) available now f...

Goddess Fish Promotions has organized a Virtual Book Tour for SMUGGLER by Nicholas Fillmore, a memoir (true crime) available now from iambic Books. 

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

Be sure to follow the tour and comment; the more they comment, the better their chances of winning. The tour dates can be found by clicking the banner.

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?”

“A week.”

“What were you doing there?”


“What kind of business.”

“Magazine. Publishing.”

“What magazine?”

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.



Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?
People like myself who are not likely to go to jail, but wind up there anyway. People with an “imp of the perverse.” Literati. Existentialists. X-punk rockers. X-deadheads. Boomers passing themselves off as Gen-Xers. Those who have for the most part evaded the responsibilities of middle age. The unreconciled. The lucky. The feckless. The romantic. The forlorn. 

How did you come up with the title of your book or series?
I read somewhere that the best title says precisely what the book is about. So I dispensed with—gosh, I don’t remember—The Ineffable Blue Conversation or something and sensibly chose Smuggler. 

Tell us a little bit about your cover art. Who designed it? Why did you go with that particular image?
I confess. I did it. Which makes me an outright amateur, I know. But I think it came out okay. I used to publish a magazine anyway, so naturally I started kicking ideas around once I decided to self publish. Then the suitcase came to me, and right away I found this Adobe stock image of a lovely old leather suitcase (free on trial), and put the title above it.— Came up with the idea of smuggling the mismatched G in the title, and was intrigued with what I had. The idea of an unattended suitcase beckoning, “Pick me up, if you dare,” conforms with what I’d read in a design blog that said the cover should provoke an emotional reaction in the reader. At the same time it downplays the lurid prospect of a book titled Smuggler, (I can imagine a cover with swarthy squashbuckling fellows with strands of dark hair falling across an eye. Not what I was after.) So I thought I was onto something. At that point the cover had a spare white background, kind of like the cover of Cheryl Strayed’s Wild—with the clunky leather hiking boots with the red laces. I had no red, though, just brown suitcase against white background and black type. I started looking at images of route maps and found this old water colory Air France map from 1952, which clinched the deal. 

Who is your favorite character from your book and why?
I’ll say something about characters here. There are a lot of characters in this book (many more than my next book, which touches on four generations.) So some of them only make a brief appearance. But I’m happy with many of those character sketches: Of a young gang enforcer who has the habit of throwing his head back and looking down his nose at you, for instance. Of a conversation with a cynical prison hack. A game of hillbilly Scrabble. It’s thrilling when you get an authentic sense of someone on paper. 

How about your least favorite character? What makes them less appealing to you?
It seems that the obligatory characters are more difficult, probably because so much is riding on them. Also, it’s non-fiction; some of the people didn’t necessarily want a big part, so you kind of draw them in profile. (I should say, in this connection, that there definitely is a submerged romantic angle to the book—for all you readers of romance.) 

If you could change ONE thing about your novel, what would it be? Why?
Nothing. Not at this point. My agent had it for a long time, so I made many changes, all the changes to my heart’s content. It’s as good as I can do.

Give us an interesting fun fact or a few about your book or series:
One of the characters is the author of Orange is the New Black. 

What other books are similar to your own? What makes them alike?
That’s tough. I don’t read a lot of true crime. Wiseguy is obviously a more comprehensive crime story; Henry Hill was an actual gangster. But films like Goodfellas, Falcon and the Snowman, Midnight Express, are similar in that you want to root for the bad guy. Of course I could have gotten this from narrative essay like Orwell’s just as well. At some point I read all the exemplary memoirs. Amis Experience. Nabokov Speak Memory. Mary Karr, Tobias Wolff. In the end I’d say that there is a literary sensibility, and an academic sensibility in the book, which grows out of long familiarity with the canon…. 

What's the strangest thing you have ever had to research online for your book?
Gang signs. I’d forgotten how they throw up the pitchforks.

Do you have any unique talents or hobbies?
I occasionally beat the computer at chess. 

How can we contact you or find out more about your books?
Please sign up for my email list on my website:

What can we expect from you in the future?
I’m working on a book called Sins of Our Fathers, which tries to imagine forbears acting in pivotal moments in family history (famously and infamously) in order that I might answer the question: How did we get here?

What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?
Give me stars! And share the book with someone. 

Do you have any tips for readers or advice for other writers trying to get published?
Go through the steps. Try to get an agent. Try to sell your book to a publisher. Then if that doesn’t work, publish it yourself. The effort that you put into your book will translate into a kind of fierceness when it comes time to market yourself. 

Is there anything else you’d like to say?"
Thanks for letting me talk about my book.


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



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

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Best of luck with the book and book tour! I included the tour in the Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019 edition of The BookTube Your Shelf Daily Reader:

  2. Looks interesting and I like the cover - very intriguing!

  3. I like true crime stories. I'm a Forensic Files and Homicide Hunter junkie, so I think I'd like this one. Orange Is the New Black is one of my favorites.

  4. This book sounds great! Thanks for the giveaway!

  5. Good job on the cover. I like the excerpt,too!

  6. Sounds like an interesting book.

  7. Thanks for the opportunity to win. Love mysteries.

  8. I hope the book does well. Looks like an enjoyable read.

  9. I have no questions for the author.

  10. I think the book sounds great and I would love to read it.


Get carried away with love!