Saturday, October 14, 2017

HIDDEN SEA BY MILES ARCENEAUX

Genre: Mystery / Thriller / Suspense
Date of Publication: November 2017
Pages: 384


Synopsis: 
Charlie Sweetwater saw Mexico—especially the Mexican Gulf Coast—as a spiritual second home. He’d worked, played and lived there for much of his life, and thought the country suited him better than anywhere this side of his home on the Texas Coast.

But now a worrisome and potentially dangerous development has shown up on Charlie’s radar. Young Augustus Sweetwater, affectionately known as Augie, hasn’t reported in after completing a south-of-the-border sales trip for Sweetwater Marine. Raul, Augie’s father and Charlie’s nephew, is worried sick. Drug cartel violence in Mexico has reached epidemic proportions and Augie’s path took him through the heart of the narcotraficantes’ territory.

Charlie figures Augie just went off the grid to do some well-deserved fishing, surfing and beer-drinking at the end of his trip. He’d done the same in his time. But as Augie’s unexplained absence grows, Charlie and Raul become increasingly alarmed and set off for Mexico to bring their boy home.

What they unearth is far more than the sum of their fears. The familiar and friendly Gulf of Mexico has turned into a hidden sea plagued by smugglers, human traffickers, crooked politicians and even pirates. And Augie is lost somewhere in the middle of it all.

Charlie and Raul must summon an unlikely cast of characters to aid them, including a hilariously dissolute ex-pat musician, a priest whose faith struggles against the rising tide of refugee migration, a Mexican tycoon who may have secrets of his own and a beautiful maritime “repo man”. At the end of their quest, as the deepest secret of all is revealed, Charlie Sweetwater learns that neither Raul and Augie, nor the Gulf of Mexico, nor even himself, will ever be the same again.

Praise for Hidden Sea:
“A riveting story from Texas that wanders down the cartel-invested Gulf Coast of Mexico and drifts across to lawless Cuba. The characters are as salty as the sea and the plot pulls you along as powerfully as the loop current. ~W.F. Strong, Stories from Texas, Texas Standard Radio Network
“Hidden Sea is a total blast: smart, funny, and riveting, with unforgettably colorful characters and a world so alive that you’ll swear you’re really there.” ~Lou Berney, Edgar Award-winning author of The Long and Faraway Gone 
“In Hidden Sea, Miles Arceneaux tosses us in the drink of a timely contemporary adventure tale with the Sweetwater clan, complete with pirates, slave ships, family secrets, and the mother of all plot twists, in his patented Gulf Coast noir style.” ~Michelle Newby Lancaster, Contributing Editor, Lone Star Literary Life, NBCC Literary Critic
Buy Now: 

Author Interview: Miles Arceneaux
(1) How has being a Texan (or Texas) influenced your writing?

Well, each of us is a native Texan. It’s a place we know and a place we love, but moreover, there’s a real sense in which the characters we know and write about couldn’t arise from anyplace else. To be a Texan, however, means a great many things. For example, the landscape or the climate of El Paso or Dallas has very little in common with Beaumont or Galveston or other parts of the Gulf Coast. But I think that Texas writers, in general, have a real sense of vastness, or a wonder of open spaces. That’s particularly true of West Texas, where we all have roots. I think Texans also have a unique sense of humor, often as dry as a Lubbock dust storm, which runs throughout our books.


(2) How long have you been writing together?

As strange as it sounds looking back on it, we have been doing this together for about forty years now. It began as a lark, arising out of a group of friends getting together over Labor Day in Rockport, drinking and telling stories. I think for us, the books arose out of our compulsion to tell each other stories and make each other laugh. The novels have provided a good excuse to get together through the years and the miles. Fortunately, our books met with some early success, otherwise we might have decided to band together in some sort of felonious association and gone on a crime spree instead.

(3) Are there common themes running throughout your books?

All of our books revolve around the intersection of cultures when they collide. Whether it’s the border with Mexico, Vietnamese immigrants, West Texas rubbing up against the Gulf Coast, or racial interactions, most of the books involve the consequences of cultural junctions. Usually, that means that one or more of the characters feels like, or actually is, an outsider. Also, because the books are a series that tells the story of a family over a period of about 60 years, they necessarily deal with the idea of family and home. We’ve explored what it means to have a family and a home, and what it might mean to lose them.

(4) What was the hardest part of writing this book? 

I would say that in this book, like all our books, the most challenging part of our writing is actually the editing process. The whole notion of three people writing a novel is . . .well, it’s a fool’s errand. It’s not . . .well, it’s just not a smart thing to do. We have three people, with three distinct writing styles and three different ideas of the story and the characters. Obviously, the final goal is to leave the reader with a consistent narrative told in a single voice. So, the editing process becomes paramount. We usually take our books through at least 10 complete drafts, which means three people rewriting the book 10 times. Again, it’s probably the worst possible way to write a book, but it’s worked for us so far.

(5) Being from Texas, a notoriously red state, do you want to say anything about Texas politics?

Nope.

(6) Do you have a mantra for writing and/or for life?As strange as it sounds, we kinda do. It’s a funny story that arose from a sad event. Several years ago, John Terry’s father passed away. And James and Brent were driving up from San Antonio to the funeral in Santa Fe. Now, that’s a drive of about 700 miles, and after we got the car loaded, Brent looked at James and said: “Now, I don’t want you to say anything stupid.” James observed that over the course of a twelve-hour drive, that was very unlikely. Since then, whenever we’ve done an interview or a reading or a book festival, someone always says, “Don’t say anything stupid.” It’s a rule that’s observed more often in the breach than in conformity to it. Well, it’s probably more of a guideline than a rule. 

About the Author:
“Miles Arceneaux” is the pen name of three long-time Texas friends. James R.  Dennis is a former attorney turned Dominican friar who lives in San Antonio. Brent Douglass is an international businessman from Austin. John T. Davis, also of Austin, is a journalist and author. Together, as “Miles,” they have been featured authors at the Texas Book Festival, the San Antonio Book Festival, and the Lubbock Book Festival.




Giveaway: 
Grand Prize: Autographed copies of all five Gulf Coast series books by Miles Arceneaux + a copy of Geoff Winningham's Traveling the Shore of the Spanish Sea -- The Gulf Coast of Texas and Mexico

Two Runners-Up: Each win an autographed copy of Hidden Sea
October 11-October 20, 2017


U.S. Only




More Blogs on this Tour:
10/11 Promo Texas Book Lover
10/12 Review Forgotten Winds
10/12 ICYWW #1 Bibliotica
10/13 Review Missus Gonzo
10/14 Excerpt 1 Syd Savvy
10/15 Review Texan Girl Reads
10/16 Guest Post StoreyBook Reviews
10/16 ICYWW #2 Chapter Break Book Blog
10/17 Review Hall Ways Blog
10/18 Excerpt 2 Books and Broomsticks
10/18 Playlist The Page Unbound
10/19 Review Reading by Moonlight
10/20 Review Tangled in Text
10/20 ICYWW #3 The Librarian Talks

Location: Fort Worth, TX, USA

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