An interview with Brian L. Tucker about his new book ‘Wheelman’
Q: Wheelman was inspired in a bizarre spot. Can you tell us what happened?
A: In 2011, I was traveling with my writing peers inside central Mexico—on-board a bus bypassing Mexico City. According to the tour guide, beheadings and kidnappings were rather commonplace in that city of more than 11 million people. The on-board movie being shown that day: Traffic—revealing the ills of drug trafficking and crimes associated with it. The irony was too much. The crimes were too real. I remember praying for our safety. Then, I remember being mesmerized by the resilient families all around us. When the guide mentioned that Mexico, much like the U.S., struggled with these types of crimes ongoing, I knew this was the backstory…I had to write an adventure that explored these evils within a specific family—the Vances.
Q: Why haven’t more people heard about human trafficking?
A: It’s a taboo subject. And unsettling, too. People who’ve lost others want justice, and I can’t imagine the pain involved. Simply put, it’s not a popular arena, and it often doesn’t have a happy ending. The movie, Taken, is a Hollywood conception, but at least, the subject is being explored. Right?
Q: Family plays a startling role in Wheelman. Why is it depicted this way?
A: Family encapsulates the reason Cy Vance fights. It is a story meant to convey the need for family. He goes from not having one, to something else entirely. I wanted to explore the question: Is family worth sacrifice?
Q: Why explore this through a teenager’s eyes?
A: This is as much a story about family reconciliation as it is adventure. The topics of family reunion and human trafficking are accessible through the eyes of a teen, and the thrill of discovery is
Q: Cy seeks a reunion with his estranged father. What impact does his broken home have on the lives of others within the novel?
A: His broken home is a testament to the blessings of reconciliation. His father’s pursuit of Cy, and their reunion, help them pursue justice as well.
Q: The plot of Wheelman can be described as a father and son fighting against injustice. Can you explain the title?
A: Sure. Cy Vance pursues a father he hasn’t seen in a decade. The car is their meeting ground, their literal vehicle “for good”. He is taught not only how to drive, but also, how to serve on his dad’s team as the getaway driver, while saving others from victimization.
Q: Your novel raises the question of whether family can save victims from such atrocities. What do you believe?
A: I believe a family can provide the framework for genuine identity…although I know the scars of trafficking can never be completely removed. The family unit is worth fighting for at all costs.
Q: What caused you (personally) to write about a father / son reunion?
A: At its core, this story is about Cy and his dad. It’s about their pursuit of family forgiveness and a fresh start. I think the centerpiece of all families is the need for forgiveness and love. Cy, like all of us, wants to have a “home” with his father. It’s a universal desire, and his plight makes him an ideal character for all of us to relate to.
Q: What’s next after Wheelman?
A: I’m already at work on the next novel. After writing about the Vances and the ills of human trafficking, I found myself eager to return to a fictional town in southern Kentucky (from my previous story collection “Baptisms & Dogs”. Many do not know this, but the state of Kentucky sits on top of the largest cave system in the world, and I’d previously written a few stories about caves before this effort. Caving and exploration will be centrally placed in the next novel. Until then, I must remain silent. I’ll try to keep you updated on Wheelman news on my site: BrianLTucker.com. Thanks!
Brian L. Tucker grew up in Monticello, KY. His stories have appeared in various publications, including: Trajectory Journal and Story Shack Magazine. He is guest writer for Journey Chattanooga, and current co-editor for The Woodshed, a journey towards masculinity. His family currently resides in beautiful Chattanooga, Tennessee—home of the Moon Pie and Ruby Falls. Visit him 24/7 on his website: BrianLTucker.com and follow him on Twitter @theBrianTucker.
Contact Brian L. Tucker
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Brian is available for personal appearances and interviews; contact Becki Brannen (info above) to schedule.
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