Ernie Hunt (Author - 'A Death in Dallas')
'Death Becomes Us'
Ernie Huntís riveting 'A Death in Dallas' (Publish America) is a very compelling novel receiving a great deal of attention; an on-the-edge-of-your-seat thriller that puts focus on the atrocity that exists across the Mexican-Texas border in the trafficking of young women and drugs.
Regardless of whether the key characters are female Hispanics or Muslims, who have been the subject of other novels by this author, the goal is to bring a greater awareness to the need in general for emancipation of those in female bondage.
I recently had the opportunity to speak with Ernie Hunt about his latest book, 'A Death in Dallas,' and first wondered, being that this isn't the first time that such a tale of human trafficking has been told; and it sure won't be the last, what made him wish to write his own work of fiction on the subject? "I wrote the book because I wanted to bring attention to the issue of human slavery. My other two books about Paris, France deal with a Muslim heroine working with us who overcomes being taken hostage by an Algerian terrorist. In my book A Death in Dallas my heroine is taken off the streets of San Miquel de Allende and transported illegally to Dallas where she is forced into prostitution."
"For your information I was the Dean of St Matthew's Episcopal Cathedral on Ross Avenue in Dallas from 1988 to 1992 before I left to become Dean of the American Cathedral in Paris until 2003. At St Matthew's we had at the time the largest Latino congregation of our whole church. It was also an amnesty center in 1988. I wanted to bring attention to the plight of so many impoverished, mistreated Latinos, in both Dallas and in Mexico."
"Many don't understand that the drug and trafficking cartels are active in this country, not just in Texas but in many states. I am at work with a sequel to this book called Terror on the Border where I write about the influence these cartels."
"I am sure others have written about this problem and even films have been made, but this was my personal attempt to expose the issue on both sides of the border."
And what makes your new book, 'A Death In Dallas,' stand out from the other written tales of the trafficking of young women and drugs? "The flawed hero, who gets off on the wrong track because of disfigurement after an IED explosion, comes to himself and rescues Juanita realizing that the people he was trying to defend in Faluja, Iraq were like she is."
"He has a sudden epiphany and tries to undo his own wrong doing in Dallas as a hired sniper. Juanita is the daughter of a farmer and a teacher. Her father was a bracero in the Salinas Valley, part of the leftover legal bracero program the US started during World War II. I firmly believe we should have a legal progam again, even in times of recession."
When creating a lead character, Jack Cassidy, what creative thoughts went into his persona, and importantly, his actual character name? "The character name is simply my invention. He is an average American G.I but since his face needed endless operations, he became depressed. He did not take advantage of counseling. He merely leaped to a chance to use his sniper skills for a wrong purpose, thinking no one would hire him otherwise. Juanita accepts him as he is, changing him. He is an epitome of the human condition, but is restored in Mexico."
With this set in Dallas, TX due to its proximity to Mexico, did you do any active research down there, talking to police, undercover agents, perhaps? "My grandmother was born in Mexico but raised in San Francisco by her Austrian grandparents after everyone else in the family died of a cholera. I knew her well and took her background seriously. I spent several summers in rural Mexico and met wonderful people I can not forget. I also spent seven years in the Salinas Valley of California and knew much about the 'Nationals" as they were known then, legal braceros."
"I also spent two years earning a Master's degree from Stanford University in Hispanic American Studies and writing for the Hispanic American Review, published from Stanford. In Dallas I often rode priest with a policeman who is the one I mention in the book and I became more familiar with local problems involving trafficking."
Finally, it's been said about you that your real life has been a 'myriad of experiences,' exciting and worldly ones that most of us only read about! So that we can get to know you, and that statement better, can you explain this a little bit more for us, perhaps? "Since I joined the Episcopal Church at Stanford University and was ordained I have served in Salinas, St Louis, been the Rector of the Church of the Epiphany with a strong community ministry at E74th St and York Avenue in Manhattan for 16 years, St Matthew's for four and then in Paris for 11 years. I have been close to people of many countries and am trying to use my experience to write about a myriad of social conditions."
Interviewed by: Russell A. Trunk
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