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"The King of Miami"

Behind the Book


Author Interview with Author Eric Sande

Eric Sande’s new book, “The King of Miami” could be called the “Scarface” of the 21st Century.

Eric, who has spent his life in the drywall trade, became first fascinated and then obsessed with the story after meeting and then befriending the then local legend, Lil Ray Thompson. Eric, who regularly visited Lil Ray while he was serving time on death row, took copious notes and asked the questions that most people would be too afraid to ask, notes that are the bases for his fast-paced, true-to-life book.

“The King of Miami” is a literary mix between “Blow” and “The Wolf of Wall Street, covering everything from the lawlessness to the lifestyle of that world. In his book, Eric traces Lil Ray Thompson’s life from his first joint to his becoming one of the top players in the 1970’s and 80’s Miami drug scene. The result is a captivating and compelling true-life crime drama

Continue reading for an exclusive interview.

Behind the Mask of the Great Author


Can you tell us a bit about you and your background?

I’m a drywall guy by trade. My brother and I were raised by my single father who was also a drywall guy. Drywall runs through my blood. We were poor. I remember money was tight and there was not a lot of food for us growing boys. My father made some bad choices. He was arrested and went to prison. Any sense of stability was gone when he was arrested. Not too long after he was incarcerated, I ended up dropping out of school. The allure of the money that could be made doing drywall was strong. I did not have that adult in my life to talk sense into me. Today I am the owner of a successful drywall company in Central Florida.

How would you describe your book "King of Miami?"

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The King of Miami can be described as a book of raw stories describing the rise and fall of one of South Florida’s largest drug dealer, Ray Thompson. The stories delve into the experiences and exchanges Ray encountered in his life as a crime boss. You’ll read about Ray’s power, wealth and the control he had during the height of South Florida’s drug explosion of the 70’s and 80’s. Living this life of crime, Ray inevitably faces betrayal, indescribable loss and the worst kind of Karma imaginable.

What attracted you to this story so much?

The fascination with Ray Thompson started when I was 11 years old. I was acutely aware we were poor. I wore Kmart clothes while my friends wore name brand named clothing. My dad would bring me to school driving his beat-up work truck and I would insist that he drop me off a block away. Robert Stevens was my Uncle Scott’s best friend from childhood. He’d come over to visit my uncle driving a brand-new BMW. My 11-year-old impressionable self-wanted to know, “what did Robert do to afford such a beautiful car”. Whatever it was I needed to know because I wanted it. In roundabout conversations I learned that Robert worked as a boat captain for a drug dealer. My attraction and curiosity grew. The more the adults tried to shield the truth of Robert’s work from me, the more I wanted to know more about it.

What was the most surprising thing you learned while writing your book?

First of all, writing a book as a high school dropout is not easy. I dedicated myself to hours and hours and hours of research. I knew the best source to get content for the book was to get a chance to talk to Ray in prison. I worked towards making that my mission. After conversations back and forth with Ray’s brother, Ray conceded and allowed me in. I was scared to meet him for the first time. Afterall he was a convicted cold-blooded murderer. I was surprised to find that Ray was a guy who had the same struggles in his youth as I did growing up. I got caught up in the moment and didn’t prepare myself for what I should be asking him. At the end of it all, Ray’s dark path led him to prison. He was now frail and vulnerable. He wanted to talk more about me and my struggles. This surprised me but at the same time I understood. Ray became more of a friend to me than anyone else during this part of my life.

Can you tell us more about the book and what it entails?

The King of Miami is a compilation of the stories I heard and learned firsthand from close sources to Ray. The reality of the dark world of drug smuggling is made clear in the stories. Money, cars, drugs along with the retribution Ray faces is told in these stories.

Do you think there is a message to be taken away from your book?

People attract certain things to their lives whether it be positive things or negative. Some people call this Karma. Ray had money and shiny cars, boats and anything money could buy. He also traveled a dark road to get what he had. Ultimately Ray’s dark path is what he attracted in his life, immeasurable pain and loss.

Thanks so much for taking time out of your busy schedule. Be on the lookout for Eric’s upcoming book on shelves soon!

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