As I said earlier, I have interviewed JT from Deep Down Dead, as part of the blog tour, which I must say was one of the most challenging interviews I have ever had to do. You’ll see what I mean anyway.
Location: The Hinkey Harlow bourbon bar, Jacksonville, Florida
Interviewer: CKT Blog aka Rachel Emms.
Interviewee: James Robert Tate (JT). Bounty Hunter
The Hinkey Harlow is an old speakeasy tucked down a side street a little ways out of downtown Jacksonville. It’s not a place I’d ventured before, but JT insisted that if I wanted to meet face-to-face, this was the place he’d be. Seeing as I’d flown out there for the interview I thought I’d better agree to his terms.
The bar is all dim lighting, dark polished wood, and gleaming bottles of bourbon. I spot JT immediately. I can count the number of patrons on one hand, and he isn’t easy to miss – a big guy nursing a glass at the end of the bar.
I cross the room, my heels knocking a steady beat on the scuffed floorboards. No one looks up. As I get closer I see he was little older than I’d imagined, the lines etched deeper around his eyes, his blond hair a little greyer. Hot though. Definitely hot.
I say hello, and he nods to the stool beside him.
I climb onto it and order us both a bourbon. I’d been warned he doesn’t say much, so I know it’s up to me to ask the first a question. I’m feeling nervous. He doesn’t make small talk and he’s got this stillness, an intensity, about him. When he looks at me with his vivid blue eyes I almost forget my first question.
Bounty Hunting is a pretty niche occupation, how did you get into the business of being a Bounty Hunter?
He stares at me as I’m asking the question, his expression unreadable. He stays silent for so long I’m not sure if he’s going to answer at all. Then, just as I’m about to ask another one, he nods.
JT: Oftentimes I don’t like looking backwards. I prefer moving forwards, looking at what’s ahead rather than behind, if you know what I mean? But, what I will tell you, is that everyone finds their own way into the life. Folks come from just about everywhere. Sure a lot are retired military or cops, but that’s not essential. Might give you a head start on the tracking and the practicalities, but there’s a whole bunch of legal stuff that you need to get learnt.
How long did it take you to train as a Bounty Hunter and have you always lived by your unique set of rules?
He narrows his eyes, squinting at me. I can tell he’s suspicious.
JT: You seem real interested in what I do, you looking to start in the business yourself?
No, I tell him. I’m just interested to know more about him. I nod at the bartender, have them pour us both another bourbon.
JT: Learning is something that’s never done. I learn as I go along. Find new ways to do things. Make mistakes too.
He looks away a moment, like he’s remembering something, someone. Then turns back to me.
JT: The rules came about from my learning from mistakes. I started out with eight, then added a couple more:
- Never trust no one
- Be prepared, always
- Limit your risks
- Don’t make assumptions
- Create your own blueprint
- Always have a plan
- Focus on the facts
- Force only as necessity, never for punishment
- Pick your moment real careful
- Past behaviour can predict future behaviour
A friend of mine added another one, number eleven, no so long ago: Use whatever you’ve got to get the job done. Like I said, I didn’t make that one. I might use it though.
What is your favourite thing about being a Bounty Hunter?
JT: The freedom. I’m my own boss. I take the jobs I want. I’m not bound to an office or any corporate bullshit.
What do you do to relax when you aren’t collecting a runaway felon?
JT: I like fixing up old cars. I’ve got a 1968 Ford Mustang. If I get time I might get another.
You have quite a history with Lori, but how did you feel seeing her after all this time?
He shakes his head.
JT: That’s personal.
How did you feel when you realised Lori had brought her daughter, Dakota, along to pick you up? I can imagine it’s not the type of situation you would’ve imagined yourself in.
JT: That’s another personal question. I told you I don’t answer them. What I will say is that chasing a fugitive is a dangerous job. It’s no place for a child. Me and Lori, we’ve had words about that.
And lastly, you’re a pretty fearless guy, but what is your biggest fear?
He holds my eye contact and I see a whole range of emotions past through his expression. I realise my mistake, it’s another personal question, and he’s already warned me off asking them. But I wait, hoping he might answer.
JT: There’s a bunch of things I try not to think on. Not sure I’m ready to talk about them just now.
He gives me a half smile as he gets down from the barstool.
JT: Pleasure meeting you. And thanks for the drink.
I want to thank him for letting me pick his brains, but I can’t get the words out. Instead I smile (mysteriously I hope) and watch him turn and walk away.
To find out more about JT, Lori and Dakota all you’ll need to do is purchase a copy!
To buy this from Amazon just click here