I’ve always referred to Speakeasy: A Novella as being “the little book that could.” It was my first self-published story, and became the guinea pig that has led me down the road to being an indie author. Speakeasy had a very final conclusion to it, one that made it almost near to impossible to resurrect a sequel from. In fact, when I wrote it, I had no sequel in mind, and thought the novella would be standing alone by itself. But three years after I had written it, an idea of a rum running story began to simmer in the back of my mind, and finally I couldn’t help but create a story that allowed me to revisit the characters that had surprised us all.
Rum Runner: A Novella begins two years after Speakeasy, centered right back in New York City where the new protagonist, Charlie Rant, is thrust into the dark side of the mafia world. As a young law student, he’s set on changing his life from being a backwater kid to being a hot shot New York attorney. However, when he finds that his brother has been hospitalized after being severally beaten while rum-running for a mafia family – the Caprices – he realizes too late that his clean slate is about to turn blood red. There’s a rivalry between the Caprices and another family that was supposed to have ended two years ago in a speakeasy, and with one more shipment of booze hanging in the balance, Charlie has to step in for his brother as a rum runner for one night in order to save both of them from a fate worse than death.
In Rum Runner, the Caprice family aren’t the only ones who make an appearance from Speakeasy; so does a mysterious woman who comes to help Charlie get the next shipment, a woman who has to use a cane to help her walk while wearing a hat to hide the scars on her face. Another old face is Anthony, who by far hasn’t lost his spirit, charm, or humor when he comes back to lend a helping hand. Anthony was my favorite character to write about in Speakeasy, and that favoritism didn’t fade when he came back in Rum Runner.
Although writing about speakeasies are a pretty common occurrence when basing a story in the twenties and thirties, rum-running is a little less popular. A few people have asked why I would even bother trying to write a sequel, especially with a theme centered on bootlegging by boat. The reason is because its a different side to how Prohibition carried itself in the 1920s, and it gave me more room to raise the stakes on action and suspense, especially as a sequel to a story that already has a reputation for being quick and full of surprises. The twenties have always been a fascinating era to me, and touching on a different side of the glittering flappers and hot jazz gave me the perfect excuse to revisit some old friends. Speakeasy shows us that some secrets can’t be taken to the grave, but Rum Runner shows us that other secrets come back to haunt with a vengeance.