We’re thrilled to have here today Casey Eubanks from Joseph B. Atkins new crime novel Casey’s Last Chance. Casey Eubanks is a 40-year-old small-time hustler from Jonesboro, North Carolina.
It is a pleasure to have him with us today at Beyond the Books!
Thank you so for this interview, Casey. Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?
Look, I’m not much of a book reader, and I don’t know much about writers other than this reporter I once met. I guess this writer did all right. He pretty much nailed the facts. What happened, happened, and I am what I am. He makes me look like some kind of a loser, and maybe I am a loser. Don’t know I want the world to know it. I screw things up, get myself in a lot of trouble. Done that all my life, and I usually make things worse when I try to fix it, worse for other people, worse for me. I finally did something right, though. Read the book. You’ll find out.
Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality? If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?
I’ll tell you one thing. I don’t take nothing off nobody, whether you’re the Big Mahah or some small-fry who thinks he’s bigger than he is. I don’t go looking for trouble. Don’t need to. It’s going to find me. Somebody crosses me, I settle it. If I had written this book, I’d make that point stronger. Casey Eubanks has his pride. Casey Eubanks is not out to prove anything, but a lot of people seem to want to prove something to him. That’s where they mess up.
What do you believe is your strongest trait?
I don’t run from a fight. I don’t go looking for one, but I don’t run from one either.
I had a woman tell me once I don’t trust people enough, particularly women. That’s probably true. All that got started with my mother, but damn if I want to talk about her. Next question.
If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?
Play me, Casey Eubanks? You know, I like that actor John Garfield. He’s a pretty tough guy, even looks like me a little. Good-lookin’. Yeah, John Garfield. Tell him Casey Eubanks wants him for the role.
Do you have a love interest in the book?
A love interest? That’s a good one. Sure. Orella Weicker. You can say a lot about Orella Weicker, and I have myself, good, bad and worse, but she always opened the door when Casey Eubanks knocked. She never turned me away, and she worried about me. Nobody else ever did. I never showed much appreciation for that, but she’s crazy, like me, and she did some things that I took pretty hard, things I couldn’t forget. It’s why I acted the way I did.
At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?
When the writer’s got me driving like a bat out of hell through the Mississippi Delta in the middle of the night. Everybody chasing me. Shit. Pardon my language. He’s got me crazy, all messed up in the head, and not sure what to do next. I’d like to know who wouldn’t be messed up in the head after what had just happened to me. When I read that part of the book I thought to myself, “Get yourself behind that wheel, writer, and see how you would handle it.” It’s different when you’re living it and when you’re just writing about it.
If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?
I would not want to be Max Duren, the big shot, smoking his little yellow cigarettes, walking around in his fancy suite in Memphis, Tennessee, like he’s some kind of god. I ain’t no angel, but I don’t do to people what that guy does. I don’t know much about heaven and hell, but if there’s a hell he deserves to be there as much as anybody I ever met. Even the devil wouldn’t want to be around that son-of-a-bitch.
How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?
I don’t like what happened, but what can I say? It ended the only way it could end. I’ve had friends who read the end tell me, “Hey, can’t you do something about this?” I tell them, “What can I do? Did you really expect something different?”
What words of wisdom would you give your author if s/he decided to write another book with you in it?
I’d tell him, “Hey, next time, maybe you and me could sit down and discuss how we can tell this story the way Casey Eubanks wants the story told.” But you know, that probably wouldn’t work. You know why? I’d just make him leave two-thirds of it out, make me look like some kind of Sunday school teacher, and that wouldn’t be right. I’d just screw it up, like I always do.
Thank you for this interview, Casey. Will we be seeing more of you in the future?
Who knows? I got a lot of stories in me. Don’t we all?
Title: Casey’s Last Chance
Author: Joseph B. Atkins
Publisher: Sartoris Literary Group
Purchase on Amazon
About the Book:
Tough, gritty, and atmospheric, Casey’s Last Chance unfolds against the backdrop of a treacherous, race-torn 1960s South that’s ready to explode with civil rights workers challenging an organized resistance itching for combat. The central character, Casey Eubanks, is a small-time North Carolina hustler on the run after an argument with his girlfriend Orella leaves his cousin dead. A crony steers him to a big operator in Memphis, Max Duren, a shadowy former Nazi with a wide financial network. Duren hires Casey to do a hit on labor organizer Ala Gadomska, who is stirring up trouble at one of Duren’s mills. Things go wrong, and Casey’s on the run again, this time from Duren’s goons as well as the cops. Enter Martin Wolfe, a freelance reporter investigating Duren’s operation. He tries to solicit Casey to help him and FBI agent Hardy Beecher bring Duren down. Casey dumps Wolfe, steals his car, and returns home to Orella. A bloody shootout with a Duren goon, however, convinces Casey to join Wolfe and Beecher. It’s Casey’s last chance. The three take off back across the South to execute a plan to destroy Duren. Everything works until the explosive end…but will anyone emerge unscathed?