Thursday, October 5, 2023

Beau Johnson, Author of The Abrum Files

Beau Johnson is an annual visitor here with good reason. There are few more personable and forthright people available in any profession. I just happened to be lucky he’s a writer. Beau’s new book, The Abrum Files, is a continuation of sorts of his Bishop Rider series. What’s a continuation “of sorts?” Beau explains.


One Bite at a Time: Welcome back to the blog, Beau. Your new book, The Abrum Files, picks up where the Bishop Rider saga ends. What’s the skinny on Jeramiah Abrum?

Beau Johnson: First off, thanks for having me back, Dana.  Always awesome to be here. You’re doing good things. As for the skinny on Jeramiah Abrum, well, there’s a story there. One that began some time ago and includes a throwaway line in a story titled “Right Time, Right Place” that sits within the pages of my first collection, A Better Kind of Hate. Jeramiah didn’t even have a name back then either, him only being referred to as someone’s child.  That someone? Marcel Abrum—the very dirtbag who set the deaths of Bishop Rider’s mother and sister into motion. Dun-dun-dun. 


OBAAT: The Hebrew prophet Jeremiah pronounced God's judgment upon the people of his time for their wickedness. May I assume your protagonist’s name is not a coincidence?

BJ: Well, I did not know that. It’s apt, however. And I’d like to say that's how it went down, but no, I just liked the way the name flowed.


OBAAT: Without giving away too much, what are the key differences between Jeremiah Abrum and Bishop Rider? How are they the same? 

BJ: The two are very much the same in a lot of ways. Both sharing the same goals and methods. It’s the scope of things that would sometimes cause them to clash. Before Jeramiah, Rider worked from the shadows, or tried his best to remain there, but Jeramiah has always been more of a big picture guy. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but in Rider’s world, it becomes somewhat deadly. A give and take took place over the years, but in the end, they mostly went with Rider’s way of things. With Rider now gone, well..


OBAAT: Is it easier or harder to write for Abrum than it was to write for Rider? Or are they about the same?

BJ: There’s more angst to Rider, always has been, as he struggled with what he set out to do even though he was bent set on doing it, where Jeramiah, well, he seems more freer when I write him. Means I have to go with Jeramiah for the win. Don’t tell Rider. Please.


OBAAT: Abrum faces an existential decision in the book. What causes it, and how does he come to make the decision he makes?

BJ: It comes back to his father and what his uncle and father did. How years after the fact, when Jeramiah actually finds out what they were and what they did to Rider’s life, he makes a choice not many men would make: to make up for the sins of his father. This is all old hat by the way, happening earlier throughout my other books, but I revisit it again in this book, though granted, through another set of eyes.


OBAAT: Is there more of Abrum on the horizon?

BJ: Undetermined. It could be yes, it could be no. I have left some threads that do dangle in The Abrum Files, and I have been writing, but I cannot say with any kind of certainty. I have stopped saying I’m done with publishing, though. That much I can say for sure. If I have something I think works, that I have a throughline, yes, there will be more.


OBAAT: Please tell me the fact that you’ve moved on from a series character is not coincident with losing your taste for cheese. Assuming that is not the case, has your taste in cheese changed since you started writing the new protag?

BJ: Funny you should say that. And no, my penchant for cheese has not abated. However, my middle son has become quite the connoisseur. Lots and lots of new cheeses have entered my house this last year. Stinky feet I can do without, but Havarti will always have my heart.

Thanks again, Dana! Great questions. Fun was had!

Always a pleasure, Beau. Come back any time.


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